Common College Freshman Mistakes

This blog post is provided by the Unigo Expert Network, a group of top education experts from across the U.S. answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school. To have your questions answered visit

“I’m so excited for college to just start already! I’m totally the kind of person to overlook a few things when I’m excited, so what are some common mistakes freshman make that I can avoid?” – Jill P., Lafayette, IN

Food Court Follies Patricia Tamborello, College Counselor, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School

Food services on most college campuses are more like a large food court in the center of a mall. Everyone jokes about the freshman 15 but it is actually something that happens to a number of students. So, right from the start be aware of your choices. Desserts and that fabulous ice cream machine shouldn't be a part of every meal. Portion control and remembering the salad bar can keep you from weighing in at too much in your sophomore year.

College Should Be Fun – and Should Be for Learning Rene Bickley, Director of College Counseling, The Hammond School

First and foremost, go to class. Even if your professor says attendance doesn't count, don't be fooled. Attendance always matters. Homework is another issue. In college, homework is no longer what you do after class. It's designed to get you ready for class the next day, and it helps to know ahead of time that the optional reading your professor casually tosses your way really isn't optional. Get a planner. Block off class time as well as study hours in advance. Stay on track and you can have time for fun and enjoy yourself without the stress of unfinished work hanging over your head.

Congratulations – Now Make the Most of It Laurie Favaro, Independent College Counselor, Marin County, SF Bay Area

The next four years will provide an incredible opportunity to pursue your interests and also to explore new ideas and experiences. Choose some courses that may not be familiar to you but sound intriguing. Build relationships with your professors by attending their office hours or volunteering for research. Keep in mind that the independence that comes from being a college student means that you have the sole responsibility to make college life exciting, rewarding and successful. Keep an open mind to make the most of your experience – attend seminars, join student organizations, get involved!

Get the full story from 35 more experts -- including the Dean of Admissions at the University of Illinois, VP of the College Board, and more -- at To send your question to our experts, visit

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