Buy an umbrella, a big one. While it’s not cool in high school to carry one, it’s not cool in college to get drenched in the rainstorm and drip on the cute guy/girl next to you in class. Golf umbrellas are the best, or you can get the ones that reduce down to the size of a pencil. Some even have college logos on them and are pretty cool.
Send a letter home. If you want to make big points with your family, especially mom, send a letter home. I can assure you it will be kept forever. You don’t have to say anything important, just let them know what you’ve been doing, how your classes are, and of course, how much you miss them.
Ask questions (especially you guys). You are probably used to knowing the answers to most questions about your immediate environment. When you go to college that will not be the case, no matter how familiar you are with the college. Don't be too proud to ask questions or ask for help when you need it. Everyone needs help sometime, and you can be the expert later. For now just ask and get your questions answered. In my experience, women are more likely to ask questions than men, and guys also seem to dig deeper holes for themselves. Sexist, maybe, but also pretty accurate.
Although school is important, make sure you get out and have some fun! Take study breaks, watch the latest movie with a friend, or get a group together! Don't keep your nose in the books for the entire four (or more) years.
Go to the doctor when you’re sick. Don’t infect everyone around you. And they have this cool new thing they just invented, called medicine…it makes you better! Guys, I’m talking to you again!
Make sure the people whose advice you choose to follow are actually the ones who have a clue what they’re talking about. One of my favorite professors used to talk about the guy down at the end of the bar being full of advice, but NOT being someone to listen to.
If you start having trouble in a class or get behind, whatever you do, don’t do nothing! If you do nothing, things will almost assuredly get worse, not better. Go talk to your professor or a GA/TA for the class, or your advisor, and ask for help, seek out a tutor, etc. You might be surprised how many options you have to “fix” things.
If you have a learning disability, don’t be too proud to register with the Disabled Student Services office at your college (I’d also seriously consider letting your academic advisor know). You don’t have to share that information with anybody you don’t want to, or even have anything communicated to your professors if you don’t want. But you definitely don’t want to have to start from scratch with the paperwork in the middle of a semester if you start to have difficulty because of your disability. You may never need any additional assistance, but it’s best to be prepared, just in case.
Know that most campus housing uses extra-long twin beds (referred to as twin xl bedding), instead of regular twin beds. So when you purchase bedding, make sure to take that into consideration!
Just in case you’re wondering, NOT EVERYONE in college drinks, smokes, has sex, does drugs, quits going to church, and goes completely wild. Some continue to do the right thing, even when nobody back home will find out. It’s my belief that people generalize the rest of the world based on their own experience. So people who drink might be likely to report (and maybe even believe) that everybody at college drinks. Research suggests otherwise. While I’m sure you could find (and will surely hear about) people who start doing those things when they go to college, if you look, you’ll also be able to find plenty who don’t. It IS easier, of course, to give in to peer pressure though. Just in case you’re wondering…
Cars are often not as important in college as they were in high school. In high school, having one was much simpler (you only had to fill the tank and drive it…), and more a part of your identity and daily activities. In college, most people won’t see your car (or you in it), and it’s much more complicated. There are more responsibilities – gas, repairs, parking, parking tickets, security, etc. And even if you’re not paying the bill for those things, the responsibility involved can be a big hassle. If you can get away without one, don’t take a car to college. If you do take one, don’t take an expensive one (expensive payments, expensive insurance, expensive parking to keep it secure, etc.). Don’t spend a bunch of money on accessories or a stereo because you won’t spend that much time in it to enjoy them. Either get a really fuel efficient car to save money on gas, or get an old tank (literally or figuratively), to keep you safe and keep crooks disinterested.
Check out the college newspaper, even if you’re not looking for the news. You’ll find coupons and learn about discounts and specials at local merchants. Plus, you can often discover scholarships and other special opportunities as well as organization meeting times and locations in the classifieds.
Watch your weight when you go to college. When I went to college 100 years ago, it was called the ‘freshman ten’ (Now, it’s the ‘freshman 15’). Either way, it refers to the amount of weight college students gain during their freshman year. What you eat, when you eat it, how much you eat, and where you eat are likely all different than they were in high school. And if you consider all the stress college students experience, why you eat could be different too! Make wise choices as to what, when, and how much you eat. Make sure also to plan for regular exercise. Then, around Fall Break or Thanksgiving, see if your pants fit like they did in August. If they’re a little tighter, think about making some changes (unless you needed to gain some weight).