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20 Tips to Rock Your Freshman Year in College

You’ve done your homework, picked the perfect college, made your way through the admissions process and received your acceptance package. Congratulations!

Now – as you eagerly await the first day of class – is the perfect time to start thinking about how to successfully navigate your freshman year. We asked Wildcats and former Wildcats to offer their best advice for incoming freshmen.

Here are 20 awesome tips from our professors, current students, alumni and parents:

  1. “Go to class. Do your homework. Listen to your professors. Join one organization just for fun and one in your major. Find a local church and hang around after worship and talk to people there. Look out for the student who is always alone and invite her to sit with you. Register on time. Graduate on time. Enjoy.” – Dr. Cheryl Bacon (’76), professor and chair emerita of journalism and mass communication 
  2. “Success in college is linked to wise time management. Make sure you allot time for each thing that is important in life and all your classes and studying. Prioritize. Write out a schedule and stick to it.” – Pebbles Lee, lab operations manager for the biology department 
  3. “Eat at Betty Rose’s Little Brisket (when not at The Bean … still called The Bean, right?).” – Derek Sciba (’00) 
  4. “Take advantage of all the opportunities ACU has: socially, spiritually and academically.” – Randall Uthe (’07) 
  5. “Don’t take an 8 a.m. class.” – Amanda Reiter (’00) 
  6. “Don’t get behind!!! Complete projects and papers early. Grow your friends – they will bless your life in years to come! Hold Christ close every day.” – Peggy Taylor (’81) 
  7. “Go to your professor’s office hours and if you are struggling in the course take advantage of free tutoring. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t have to work that hard in high school. You are now in college. It’s different because the course work is faster and much harder. Get involved with your department – so many departments have Chapel weekly and have get-togethers, study groups, and some departments will have free food. Make good choices, and for goodness sake find a church home and get involved. All the churches in town host events for the college students. Be respectful of others and remember it’s great to be a Wildcat! – Sandy King, longtime administration coordinator for the chemistry and biochemistry department 
  8. “Seek the free tutoring! After every college algebra class I went to free tutoring to help me with the assignment. I would not have passed without it and would have much rather gone somewhere else but forced myself to do it. Do the hard things and you will succeed!” – Kim Hamm (’90) 
  9. “Go to Chapel, especially Praise Day Friday, doubly especially when Dr. Steven Moore is the worship leader.” – Ruben Thompson (’23) 
  10. “Follow someone who has a good moral compass. Make sure they are leading you in the right direction. Know too that there will always be someone following you. Make sure you are leading in a direction that has their best interests in mind.” – Pat Carter, grandparent of an ACU freshman 
  11. “Make your professors your heroes. Listen to them, go visit their office and ask for help when you struggle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help AND sing loud in Chapel.” – Rebecca Young (’95) 
  12. “Get involved, make new friends, be an example for them. Enjoy every moment and learn about Christ.” – Barry Pruitt (’74) 
  13. “Spend some quiet time with God every day.” – Brenda Allen 
  14. “Don’t graduate early. You have plenty of time to be an adult. Enjoy college while it lasts.” – Kara Smith Roberson (’00) 
  15. “You won’t make friends overnight. Take time, know what values you want in your friends, pray and trust God’s timing.” – Samantha Johnson (’25) 
  16. “Get off of social media and get your nose into the books!” – Larry Allen 
  17. “You get out what you put in it.” – Laura Ann Young (’17) 
  18. “Study abroad.” – Graciela C. Custer (’17) 
  19. “Breathe” – Dr. Diana Tisnado, wife of alumnus Dr. Ron Halbert (’80) 

    And finally, one of our favorite pieces of advice comes from the parent of a current student:

  20. “Every phase of life comes with its own set of challenges. Don’t borrow challenges from a phase that you’re not in. You’re in the college phase – not the ‘adult’ phase – embrace it! Wake up with the intent on making every day this semester your best college experience, and don’t accept anything less than that from situations nor individuals – including yourself. Go to your classes [intent on participating]. Engage with your professors [intent on them knowing who you are]. Interact with your classmates [intent on creating bonds and friendships]. Attend a play, concert or any other of the many daily student-led activities available on campus [intent on being well-rounded]. And, join a club or two on campus, as well as find a local Church of Christ to worship and fellowship with on Sundays [intent on deepening your ACU roots with both community and purpose]. You only have ‘one job’ in this phase: to be the best student you can be.” – Tanishia Boyd, ACU mom

Within ACU’s welcoming community, you’ll find every opportunity imaginable to apply your talents while learning to make a difference in the world. Just remember that you don’t have to have everything figured out from the start. Embrace the changes, keep an open mind and make the most of your college journey!

Find out more

Learn more about how you can find your place at ACU as you immerse yourself in the college experience.

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