Starting college is an exciting time when you get to redefine yourself and discover your interests. You’ll succeed in areas you never knew you had talents in, and you’ll make mistakes that will surprise and disappoint your expectations. It’s all OK. Whether you flourish or fail, and I’m rooting for you to flourish, you made it this far. Keep at it and keep going. Because when it’s all through and you’ve gained a degree, you’ll have the confidence to know that you always had it within yourself to accomplish your dreams. Looking back upon my college years, here are four quick tips I wish I knew as a freshman starting college.


4 Quick Tips for College Freshmen

  1. Timing is everything — get organized

Tests, papers, study groups, hanging with friends; when you start college, you’ll quickly learn that you have many things coming at you all at once. You no longer have a person of authority hovering over your activities. It’s now up to you to manage your time wisely. Start by making a list of your responsibilities and prioritize them — schedule time for study, rest, and participating in campus activities. Remember, managers look for employees who can effectively handle a full workload.


  1. You made it! — finding your career

Think of your time at college as a productive experiment. Now is your chance to hone in on the interests that drive you most. Do homework and research majors that engage you. Reach out to businesses that employ professionals in your major and ask if they have job shadow or internship opportunities. Getting hands-on experience in your desired field can help give you a sense if your major is the right fit for you. It also helps you establish a network and possible references for your resume.


  1. It’s good to ask for help — here’s how

Colleges want you to succeed. Be sure to know where the academic tutoring center on your campus is. (Some of the best students have tutors.) Also, take advantage of your professors’ office hours and get to know them better. Professors are masters of their field. They have a lot to share and welcome a student’s questions.


  1. Need financial assistance? — keep saving!

Saving for your college education doesn’t stop when you graduate high school. You can take advantage of your 529 account and continue to save for your sophomore, junior, and senior years. Investing in your education isn’t just for parents.  When you have skin in the game, your academic achievements can be much more fulfilling.  Continuing saving will help you with financial planning for the rest of your college years.


As you prepare to start your freshman year of college, remember, you have a promising future that is unfolding before you. Dive in, take giant steps towards your ambition, save for tomorrow, and explore the unknown. College is your time to shine.


About the author

Ron Muffick is the Director of Operations & Administration for Achieve Montana.