Hey, College Freshmen: 6 Things You Need To Know As A First-Year College Student

Just because they're Black doesn't mean you're going to hit it off. Writer and Black&Gifted Blog creator provides incoming freshmen of color with a few pieces of advice.

I never thought that my undergrad experience would be anything close to what it was. As a Black female student at a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), I made everlasting friendships, gained the respect of my peers and professors, had the opportunity to work for my university in two different departments (both in my field of study), served as a mentor to international students, spent time volunteering in the community, and most importantly, I learned about myself. I found out what my strengths and weaknesses were, I utilized available resources, took on leadership roles, and was even named  “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges” my senior year.

Going into college I knew what I wanted to study, but that doesn’t mean you will. Choose a major that sparks your interests, not what will get you the most money! You’ll find yourself miserable and wasting money! Attending college is a privilege. It is also an opportunity for growth. Now, let’s get down to it:

It’s okay to befriend someone who doesn’t look like you.

Just because they’re Black doesn’t mean you’re going to hit it off. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to have the same interests. Don’t be afraid to talk to those who don’t look like you. This is the beautiful thing about college… DIVERSITY. Learn something new! Make a friend from a  completely different background, someone from across the globe. You’ll be surprised how much you have in common with someone you’d never think to speak to.

There’s more to life than class.

Don’t get me wrong, attending class is the main reason you’re in college and you should definitely be in attendance, but step outside of your box! Attend free events put on by your university. Get out there! College is an experience, so make the best of those four years of undergrad. Here’s a start…

This isn’t high school.

Class clowns? Nope. Don’t even think about it! Of course you want to have fun, but unlike most high schools, college isn’t FREE.99! Be respectful of your peers. WE ARE ALL PAYING TO BE HERE! Also, don’t expect for your professors to remind you of homework assignments that are due. They will only tell you, “IT’S IN THE SYLLABUS!!!”

Utilize available resources… that you’re already paying for.

My freshman year I made sure I attended the tutoring sessions. I visited the nurse. I even made sure I used up all my prints in the library. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. These resources vary from educational, health, scholarships, mentoring, interviewing/career workshops, student worker opportunities etc. Take advantage of these opportunities. In many cases, you won’t find out unless you ask. TRUST ME.

Get involved!

Surely you didn’t come to college to just sit in your dorm. Join organizations that you have an interest in. This is a great way to meet new people and learn more about your university. GET UP. GET INVOLVED!


When freshmen think of college they think of parties. Don’t forget the reason you’re here! With all that you have going on make it a priority to hit the books. Parties and turning up won’t get that GPA up! Stay focused. Know when to have fun at the right times. Once those grades start slipping and attendance gets low, you’ll find yourself dropped from the class.

Helpful resources for incoming freshmen

Check out what other college students have to say about professors whose classes you will be taking via Rate My Professors.

Save on books:

  • Used books are just as good, especially if you want to save money.
  • Depending on where you spend your money, you may have an option to rent your books at a cheaper price than you would buying the book full price! There may also be payment plans available. Ask questions!
  • You can sell your books back for cash if your books are in good condition! In most cases, you won’t get back that much, but hey… may as well see what it’s worth if you’re not going to use them anymore.

Check out sites like Chegg and visit your university bookstore (and others if there are any nearby).

Paying for college:


4 Black Youth


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