Starting college can be stressful, exciting, and often overwhelming—especially for those new college freshmen that will be living on their own for the first time. For those who fit this description, the start of the school year is a time of transition. To help keep you on top of things while trying to adjust to a new phase of life, here are some helpful tips:

1. Choose the Right Apartment

Your freshman apartment will affect your first year in a big way. Picking the right dorm determines how comfortable you will be at home because it also determines who your roommates are and consequently the standard of cleanliness you’ll have. 

When choosing where you’ll live, you should also consider how close to campus you want to be, what kind of social life outside of school you’re looking for, and what your budget is. There are many options to choose from which offer their own variety of experiences; an apartment gives a social feel with neighbors so close by, and houses offer a touch of home with a little more space between you and your neighbors.

A lot of your stuff may not fit, and you often need less than you think. If you’re close with your future roommates or at least have their contact information, connect with them on or before move-in day to discuss what each of you should bring so that you can unpack a few household appliances and put the rest in storage.

2. Get Oriented

Moving to a new town always requires adjustment and it’s no different when you’re a college freshman. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the amenities near your apartment, campus, and city in general. Find important places like grocery stores, bus stops, and gas stations. 

Try visiting the campus before classes are in session so that you can find your classes and other important resources before you schedule starts. Once school is in session and activities are starting up around campus, find things to participate in and get to know people from all different areas of your school.

Getting oriented academically is just as important as getting oriented physically. As you start to make career decisions, do some research instead of settling on a major right away. You might feel an intense pressure to find out what you want to study before you start college. If you’re one of those people that has it all figured out, there’s nothing wrong with that. 

But it’s also fine to have no idea what to do; a lot of college freshmen are in the same boat. Do your research, and make it a point to go to your classes and get to know your professors. All of those things will help you to get a better idea of what you’d like to do as a career.

3. Work on Campus

A lot of college freshmen work to help support themselves or to give them some extra spending money. Getting a job will also give you the added benefit of gaining work experience for your resume, which can set you apart from other college graduates. 

Though it’s possible to find outside employment, most college campuses have plenty of low-intensity job opportunities that will actually work around your school schedule, allowing you to fit in homework and a social life on the side. 

Sometimes, working on campus can also connect you with other people that are students at your school or even help you become more involved in campus life. Living near campus also facilitates working on campus much easier than having to commute to an off-campus job.

4. Develop Time Management and Study Skills

It’s important to develop time management skills so that you can stay on top of everything. Plan out your week so you can allocate the right time to your individual priorities and avoid turning work in late. How you manage your time will set you up for either a weak or a strong foundation.

Hand in hand with good time management is good study skills. If you become more organized, your study time will be more productive. You’ll be able to stay on top of your deadlines and exam dates and keep your GPA up. 

It’s best to develop impeccable study skills when just starting out because bad habits are hard to break once they’ve been formed. Some find it easier to study at home, so you might look into creating a study space in your apartment.

5. Stay Healthy

Without good health, it’s nearly impossible to stay on top of your work. You should incorporate fresh food into your diet, drink lots of water, exercise, and balance your social life and schoolwork with needed sleep. Take advantage of campus resources for physical and mental health. 

Many colleges have fitness centers, counseling centers, and other offices where you can learn more about staying healthy. Realize that your health should come before anything else. If you are not healthy you will not perform at your fullest potential. Be the roommate that uses the fridge more than the cupboard, and your roommates will appreciate having more cupboard space!


Following these five steps will help you adjust to college freshman life and set you up for success down the road. 

If you’re a new freshman moving away from home to live on your own, take that first step and contact Wharton Rentals who offers some of the best Ohio University housing rentals. Check out our website or give us a call, and we’ll help you find housing that’s perfect for you.

Wharton Rentals is committed to making the off-campus living experience a positive one for college students in Athens, Ohio.

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