You made it! Finally, the day has arrived when you are making the transition from high school to college. You are now a college freshman, and your excitement has no bounds. After all, college is a whole new world and marks the first step to adulthood.

Original: SourceLiving alone, stepping out of your comfort zone, meeting new people, and discovering new passions – all of it sounds brilliant but in all this excitement, let’s not forget the main reason why you are here – academics.

Did you know that 30% of college freshmen drop out after their first year of college? Yes, the first year is a critical one because you are mostly trying to adjust to the new atmosphere. On the one hand, there is hope and enthusiasm and on the other, there is stress and anxiety – college opens you up to a myriad of emotions.

How to Ace Your Academics in the First Year of College


You must know that college is a class apart from high school. Your study habits and patterns need to evolve as you move to college. You need to devote more time to your academics because there is so much more that you will be expected to take on.

Yes, the workload will be immense, but that does not mean you cannot enjoy it. With the right intent and planning, you can have fun and achieve academic success as well. Here are 17 helpful study tips for freshman year in college.

Classroom Success

Everything from the attendance policies and sources of learning to class size and schedule is different in colleges as compared to high school. The best part is that you get to pick what you want to know so you must make it worthwhile.

1. Attend all classes

You might think you can skip classes in college and borrow someone else’s notes, but that is where most students falter.

Attending classes should not be taken lightly because you will be surprised to know how much you learn by just attentively listening to your professor. Whether it’s dropping a hint for the next test or sharing helpful advice that can come into use – attending class is always worth the effort.

So, don’t get lazy and misuse this option. It leads to poor academic performance, spoils your reputation, and causes undue stress.

2. Participate in class

According to a study done by Faculty Focus, more than 70% of students perceived a positive relationship between their class participation and learning.

This highlights the importance of not only attending class but also being mentally present and actively engaging in classroom discussions. It is essential for academic success because the dialogue is happening in class lets you learn better while internalizing the knowledge.

Raising your hand and speaking up might seem daunting at first, but there is always a first time, and why not begin this healthy practice from the first year of college itself?

3. Take Notes

It’s easy to borrow notes from a classmate at the very last minute and try to learn it all in one day, but how effective is this kind of last-minute learning?

The best way to study is to take good quality notes during class because when you are writing as you are listening, you are likely to understand the concept better and retain that information.

In order to keep up with the professor, take notes such that you take down the main points in clear handwriting and bullet points and keep a note of keywords or important questions mentioned. Once the class is over, be sure to organize your notes so you can find them easily when you are studying for a test.

4. Make use of college resources

Colleges offer plenty of resources for students to study better and lead healthier lives on campus. The question is – are you making good use of them?

From libraries and learning labs to health, career, and fitness centers – ensure you take full advantage of these useful resources. With the tuition fees you pay, you must use turn to these resources and take assistance whenever in need.

So, the next time you are tempted to snuggle up in bed to study, remember there is a library you can concentrate much better in.

5. Develop a relationship with your academic advisor

Talking about resources, the greatest one is access to an academic advisor. Being a freshman, colleges understand how intimidating it can get, which is why you have the option of speaking to an academic advisor on campus.

They guide you in choosing your list of classes and majors and help you develop your academic plan. It’s always advisable to regularly meet your academic advisor and build a long-lasting relationship with them. They are here to take you closer to your educational goals, and that can only be done if you are honest, cooperative, and consistent.

Effective Time Management

With 24 hours in a day and an endless list of tasks, how do you ensure you are your productive best as a college freshman without being too hard on yourself?

1. Have a to-do list

More than 28% of college freshmen said they frequently felt overwhelmed by all they had to do. That’s not surprising because this year can be challenging because it is the first time you will have to juggle multiple things at once, ranging from writing assignments and project work to exams and extra-curricular activities.

The most innovative way to go about a busy schedule without losing your mind is to have a to-do list. Start every day by jotting down your tasks for the day, prioritize as per importance and keep ticking them off once you are done. This is the most methodical way to be productive and not compromise on the quality of work.

2. Break down your tasks

When your mind is clouded with large tasks such as ‘writing a reflective essay’ or ‘studying for a psychology exam,’ you can’t help but get overwhelmed. Save yourself the stress and constantly break down tasks into smaller, doable ones.

For example, if you have to write a reflective essay, break it down into smaller steps, such as choosing a topic, doing research, speaking to your guide, etc. Make sure you allot a deadline for each and approach it in an organized manner. By doing this, you will not only be more relaxed but also be able to manage your time more effectively.

3. Use productivity apps

Why only use phones for social media when you can download apps that help you be more productive and concentrate better?

Yes, instead of losing track of your workflow, giving in to distraction, and being left feeling unproductive by the end of the day, use productivity apps that are specially designed to help you optimize your time.

Develop Writing Skills


You might have written plenty of essays in middle and high school, but the writing assignments in college are a lot more demanding and time-consuming. It sure is stressful, but with practice and the proper techniques, you can certainly ace academic writing in freshman year.

1. Understand essay prompts

Take time to understand what the essay question is – are you being asked to reflect on a life event? Do a literary analysis of a Shakespearean play? Analyze the works of two different authors.

Once you know what is expected of you, you will be able to approach the essay with a clearer mind. If you have doubts, it’s better to ask your instructor at this stage and get them clarified.

2. Conduct proper research

The amount of research you do reflects in your writing. Start with collating the resources you want to turn to for research – journals, websites, research papers, and more, depending on the writing format.

Once you have organized your reading list, make sure you read purposefully, highlighting the relevant points and maintaining an index that you can refer to while drafting the essay and citing references.

3. Plan your essay

This is an important step that often goes unnoticed. Planning your essay saves you time and lets you organize your thoughts. An essay outline generally includes the introduction, body, and conclusion. The structure of the essay should be such that the points flow logically.

The introductory paragraph is where you provide background information and present your thesis statement. The body paragraphs introduce the central ideas or arguments along with supporting evidence. The essay ends with a conclusion paragraph that reinstates the thesis.

4. Use proper grammar

Nothing is a bigger deal breaker in essay writing than an essay full of grammatical and spelling errors. So, make sure you write attentively and proofread it at least 2-3 times to be sure you have used the right vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation and constructed your statements well.

5. Get help from writing experts

There might be times when you will find yourself stuck while writing the essay or might not find time to do full justice to it. During such instances, don’t hesitate to ask for writing help from professionals because you rather take help than compromise on your grades.

Writers Per Hour is one such essay writing service you can turn to for assistance. From persuasive and argumentative essays to research and case study papers – our team of writers is subject matter experts who cover a wide range of academic writing formats. When you buy a custom essay from us, you can be sure to receive high-quality, 100% plagiarism-free essays delivered to suit your tight deadlines.

Exam Preparation

Your first exam season as a college freshman is bound to give you sleepless nights because you don’t know what to expect. The only way to get through is to prepare well and not let the stress take over.

1. Follow a study plan

As soon as you get your exam timetable, work on a study plan wherein you should break down the subjects and divide your time for each. The idea is to prioritize well and make realistic study goals to avoid getting overwhelmed.

It is also advisable to discover what kind of learner you are and when you are your productive best. For instance, if you study well in the mornings, make sure you block time accordingly on your study schedule and let the more challenging topics/subjects take precedence.

2. Find a study group

Studying in a group, if taken seriously, can be hugely beneficial because everyone is working towards a common goal and can motivate each other to learn. So, find a study group, explore different study methods like quizzing each other, share knowledge and make it an exciting activity.

3. Avoid procrastinating

Unlike high school, where you could learn concepts one day before the exam and still do well, college exams work differently. You cannot afford to procrastinate and give in to distractions here because subjects require a lot more time and understanding.

When you procrastinate, it causes unnecessary anxiety at the very last minute. So, start early, set deadlines for yourself, and stick to them – that is the most effective way to approach exam season in freshman year.

4. Get enough sleep

“Should I stay up all night to study” you may wonder right before an exam. The answer is no; it is a bad idea. Pulling an all-nighter before exams leave you tired for the exam and hinder performance. After all, your brain needs time to rest, and when you don’t get enough sleep, it impacts efficiency and memory.

Factor in sleep time while preparing for exams, make optimal use of study time, and stay away from caffeinated drinks. You might be too stressed to sleep but remember; it is essential to get at least 5-8 hours of quality sleep.


Yes, the life of a college freshman is stressful, and there will be days when you will feel burdened and anxious but remember that you are not alone.

The key to surviving this crucial first year is to be organized, adapt well to new surroundings, and remain focused on academics. This is when you will learn a lot about yourself and grow, so make the best of this year and, most importantly, take care of your mental health.

Last edit at Dec 24 2022

Adela Belin

Written by

Adela Belin

Adela Belin is a content writing & marketing expert at Writers Per Hour. She writes about motivation, education, personal development, and everything in between. She hopes to make a difference in people’s lives by sharing relevant stories inspired by her journey. As a seasoned expert, Belin is a frequent contributor to Lifehack, AllBusiness, and LiveChatINC and runs her blog.
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Adela Belin

Written by

Adela Belin

Adela Belin is a content writing & marketing expert at Writers Per Hour. She writes about motivation, education, personal development, and everything in between. She hopes to make a difference in people’s lives by sharing relevant stories inspired by her journey. As a seasoned expert, Belin is a frequent contributor to Lifehack, AllBusiness, and LiveChatINC and runs her blog.
View all my posts
Enjoy reading?Write for our blog