Advice for Incoming College Students

Posted by Kaylie Ricks on

College Signing Day is May 1, when many soon-to-be high school graduates will be making their decision about which college to attend in the fall. This month, we will feature a blog post on making the transition from high school to college and career. This week, WFYI intern Kaylie Ricks interviewed several Butler University students and asked them what advice they would give to incoming college students.


What advice would you give incoming students? 

“Take advantage of every opportunity and try lots of different things. This is one of the few times in your life you can actually dabble and figure out what you do or don't like with a network of support behind you!”–Rachel, 21

"Try to find a good balancer between friends, work, class, and studying as early as you can and form a habit!" –Melissa, 20

"Get involved with an organization or club that you are passionate about because it can lead you to amazing opportunities and can create lifelong memories." –Kaitlin, 21

“So many people come into college either stuck in their high school years or trying to become a whole new person. Just let college take its course. You will become the person you were meant to be and it's all because of the relationships and memories you make along the way.” –Abbigail, 19

"Don't wait until your junior year to do internships. Get ahead of the game and do as many part-time internships as you can during college, this is your only time to get the experience and the only time people will hire you without any experience." -Sarah S., 21

"Go to office hours. Professors have office hours to get to know their students and be an asset to them. One of the best things you can do as a student is go to office hours and get to know your professor better and get help when you need it. It's not as awkward as you think it'll be and it is extremely beneficial for you!" -Vaidehi, 20

"Don't underestimate yourself and your abilities to do great things when you apply yourself. Accept the challenges you know you are ready for, challenges that will help you develop your skill-set, and your character." -Megan, 20


What is something you wish you knew before you came to college?

"Get involved from the very beginning. Don't be afraid to join as many clubs and organizations as you can. You figure out what you like and don't like. But this is another way to meet people and potentially find something you are really passionate about." –Catrina, 22

"You’re not supposed to have your life figured out yet and that is OK!” –Sarah, 20

"I wish I knew that after all the new experiences wore off that I would start to miss home. I knew from the start that I would enjoy college, but that doesn't take away from the fact that I no longer get to see my sister every day, be greeted by my dog as I walk in the front door, or have my parents annoyingly ask at dinner how school was. In order to maintain any relationship, you really have to work to keep in touch, and that includes with your family." –Abbigail, 19

 “I wish someone told me that it's okay if I end up wanting something different. I came in thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do but then things changed.” –Rachel, 21

“How to work and study SMARTER, not HARDER.” –Sara M., 20

"Time management skills are HUGE! I was super busy in high school, and then suddenly came to college and had a lot more free time during the day. Make sure you have some type of schedule so you don't fall victim to Netflix binges every day when you should be doing homework. Although, I encourage the occasional Netflix binge." -Kyle, 22

"It is OK to be different. You don't have to conform to the people around you." -Nick, 21

"I wish I knew how different it would be from high school. I flew by with ease in high school and never really had to study for tests or finish homework the period before my next class. But in college, I struggled my first semester. I had to learn correct study habits and actually study for a test not just the night before. Your professors are here to help you, but unlike high school, they're not here to hold your hand all the way through it." -Vanessa, 21


What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?

"Even after a bad quiz, test, or project, it is important to get help! If you just accept those grades and don't put extra effort in to raise them, then you will sink!" –Melissa, 20

"People do not really care about your past. College is a fresh start and it's important to convey from the beginning the person who you truly want to be. Don't try to force change that isn't there, but people will mature naturally and it's important to recognize those changes within one another." –Abbigail, 20

"Stay true to yourself. Don't force learning something that doesn't speak to you. These are your years to find what you want to do and what you don't want to do!" –Kristen, 20

“It’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them and continue to grow.” –Julia, 18

"College is about the education, yes, but it is so much more than that! It is about finding out who you really are, pushing yourself, and surprising yourself. I've learned to say yes to late night Taco Bell runs when I haven't gone to the gym, going out to dinner instead of doing homework, and taking advantage of opportunities to make memories and try new things." –Sara M., 20

“Make a detailed organizer and stay on top of your emails.” –Rachel, 21

"Friendships and relationships are a two-way street. But at the end of the day all the effort you put in is absolutely worth it for a great friendship. Also, coffee is probably the greatest friendship I have made. Also, STUDY ABROAD." –Catrina, 22

"The biggest lesson I have learned so far in college is that it's OK to be selfish. These are the only four years that I get to do whatever I want without any worries from someone else. Once I graduate, I'll have a job, bills, and further down the road, a family to worry about. These four years of college are precious because they are strictly just about you. So I've learned to do what I want for myself without worrying about what anyone else thinks." -Vanessa, 21

"You're making the best choice for yourself. The decision to go to college is about you and what you want to put into your life. Take advantage of opportunities, make connections, and always be grateful that you are receiving an education." -Maggie Jo, 21


If you could meet your 18-year-old self right now, what would you tell them?

"Do not stress out about things beyond your control and learn to live more in the moment. Memories are here and now. It is important to have goals, but don't forget to appreciate what is right in front of you." –Abbigail, 20

"Be confident in yourself. You might not get the same grades as everyone else, enjoy the same things as them, be the same size as them, and college might not be as easy for you as it is for others. Don't worry about them, just make yourself happy!" -Kyle, 22

"Dream big!" –Kristen, 20

"I would tell my 18-year-old self to not worry about grades too much (although they are important). It's okay to fail sometimes, and getting a C is not the end of the world. Sometimes you can work as hard as you can and still not pull the grade you want, but if you do your best and you know you tried your absolute hardest, that's all that matters." -Vaidehi, 20

"I would tell myself to not be so hung up on people at home. I would live in the moment and appreciate all I've been given at college." -Danielle, 22

"Let loose more often, take myself less seriously and to laugh more." -Nick, 21

“Just go with the flow. Everything happens for a reason so just trust that it will work out.” –Catrina, 22

“Enjoy every second because college goes by in the blink of an eye.” –Sarah, 20

Do you have advice that wasn’t listed above? Share your advice for incoming students in the comments below, and on social media using #AmGradIndy.

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