Tips For Incoming College Freshman You Need To Know

Ready to head off on your next big adventure?

Back to school season is in full swing, and for college freshman, this is a hugely important time in their life. You’re probably feeling a mix of emotions: excitement, stress, nervousness, and anxiety, to name a few.

But we’re here to get you ready for your first big semester on campus as a brand-new freshman. We’ve got the best tips for incoming college freshman that you absolutely need to know. From what to bring to your dorm to how to survive freshman orientation, we’ve got you covered. So pack your backs and get ready to step into the next major chapter of your life!

Best advice for freshmen

Everyone is probably inundating you with tips when it comes to being a college freshman. We’ve decided to boil it down to the 10 essential things to keep in mind when you head of to campus for the first time:

  1. Know what you need to bring to your dorm (and start shopping early)
  2. Get comfortable with the idea of being on your own
  3. Have a vague idea of what you want to major in
  4. Know when and how to get a job (if you need to work while in school)
  5. Start researching future careers ASAP
  6. Put yourself out there, socially
  7. Prepare for your classes
  8. Start building good habits while you’re home
  9. Learn how to properly budget
  10. Know that you can ask for help

Freshman college supplies list

There are a million different things people will tell you are “must-haves” when you’re packing up for your freshman year. A lot of these items are useful, but they can quickly add up and blow your budget.

That’s why we’ve reduced the list to 10 must-have items for college freshmen. You probably already have the big things covered, but this stuff is essential (and you might have forgotten about it).

See the full list of what to take to college here!

Freshman orientation in college

Freshman orientation in college is a big deal. It’s likely an entire weekend of your summer dedicated to getting you ready for your freshman year of college. It can be totally overwhelming, but we’ve broken down the basics for you, right here.

What is freshman orientation?

Freshman orientation is your chance to explore your new home on campus and talk to academic advisors before creating your class schedule for the upcoming year. The final steps of finances are also usually sorted out.

You’ll also have the opportunity to get more involved on campus by signing up for clubs and intramural sports. The whole event is to get you feeling comfortable about being a first-time college student.

Is freshman orientation mandatory?

Whether you attend freshman orientation depends on your college. Some colleges may allow the event to be optional, while for others it is 100% mandatory.

Even if your orientation isn’t mandatory, we highly recommend attending. Getting the first dibs on classes for your schedule is crucial. Plus, it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

What to expect at freshman orientation

Of course, your freshman orientation will vary by college, but there will probably be some commonalities between them. Each orientation will most likely include:

  • Campus tour
  • Information sessions
  • Dorm and/or roommate assignments
  • Choosing your class schedule
  • Meet and greet events

Care packages for college freshmen

Whether you’re a college freshman hoping for a care package or are looking to send a care package to a college freshman you know, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of items any college freshman would be happy to receive.




  • Protein/snack bars
  • Popcorn
  • Instant oatmeal cups
  • Fruit snacks
  • Portable soup
  • Nut butter
  • Granola
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts
  • Pocky
  • Candy

Homemade treats

  • Cookies
  • Rice Krispies Treats
  • Brownies
  • Bread


  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Hot cocoa
  • Coffee mug
  • Travel cup

Room decor

  • Air fresheners
  • String lights
  • Fake plants
  • Salt lamp
  • Blackout curtains

Fun stuff

Internships for college freshmen

You might be wondering if getting an internship during your freshman year of college is the right decision. You obviously want to ensure you can handle your course workload and don’t want to take on too many commitments, so we recommend not trying to find an internship until the second semester of your freshman year.

If you eventually do decide to opt for an internship, it’s a fantastic opportunity for various reasons:

  • Great at helping you decide if your major is right for you
  • Assess the career paths you’re interested in
  • Get more hands-on experience in your field
  • Add to your resume and benefit post-grad job search
  • Start building a network within your potential career field

People also ask…

When is freshman orientation for college?

This can vary from college to college, but most freshman orientations for college take place in the summer before the fall semester begins. They usually take place in May, June, or July.

Depending on the size of your college, your college might offer multiple freshman orientation options, so be sure to check your calendar and any emails you get from the college to be 100% sure.

How many credits is a freshman in college?

The number of credits to be considered a freshman in college is 30 or less. A college sophomore is between 30 and 60, a college junior is between 60 and 90, and a college senior is anything above 90 credit hours.

For your first year of college, you’ll most likely take anywhere between 24 and 30 credits, which amounts to about 12-15 credits per semester. Most courses are 3 credit hours apiece, but some science labs (like biology and chemistry) and foreign languages can be 4 or 5.

What happens if you fail a class in college freshman year?

Again, the protocol for what happens when you fail a class during your freshman year of college varies by institution.

Some colleges only allow course retakes for first-year students. Others allow anyone to retake a course but put a cap on the number of times you can re-do the class. And remember: you will have to pay tuition every time you retake a course. (But hopefully, you won’t have to worry about that!)

And if you fail a course twice? If it’s something required for your major, you might want to consider making a switch.

Save on everything you need for college with Student Beans

Need more advice before you head off to college? Check out all our tips and tricks, right here.