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Get Your Money’s Worth -Tips for Making the Most of Your Freshman Year in College

Get Your Money’s Worth -Tips for Making the Most of Your Freshman Year in College

Invest in your mind text written on chalkboard

Today’s guest blogger is one of my former students, Susan Hickey, Cornell Class of 2026 (Go Big Red!). Here’s her advice to incoming college freshman.

Whether you go to a private or public college, the fact remains – it’s not cheap. I felt pressure to make the most of the opportunities that my university had to offer, especially because of the price tag attached. 

I was really nervous to start my first semester. Would I make friends? Do well in my classes? Time in college feels relatively short; sometimes, it feels like you have to be five steps ahead to keep up. But here are the top tips I’ve learned from my first year in college to stay on top of it all and get the most out of your tuition. 

Get to know your college counselors 

This doesn’t mean Eleanora anymore – I mean the counselors available to all students within your department or your college. We were thrown into scheduling our classes, and I had no idea where to begin, so, I made an appointment with my college advisor. She was extremely helpful in directing me to classes that fit my interests and fulfilling my requirements. Because of her I am set up to triple minor! 

Make use of your career center

Seriously. They will help you with cover letters, internship searches, and resume creation. You are paying for these services so you may as well make use of what is available to you. Even if you think you have a handle on it, it is good to get a second opinion, and they may be aware of opportunities that interest you. 

Go to class (and office hours)

Seems redundant and for many of you who are planners, second nature. But, you are paying for these classes, and while every lecture may not be the most engaging – teachers often say things in class that tie concepts together or emphasize certain points that will be on exams. Office hours helped me to create connections with professors in larger lectures, and it doesn’t hurt to send an email with questions or thank them for their teaching. 

Do your research

My college doesn’t often advertise all that it offers, so if you are interested in something or curious about its opportunities abroad – look it up! Spend some time checking out their websites and programs in some of your interests. I have found that I have had to make the first move for a lot of things – such as research programs – but it is better to be ahead of it and aware of what is out there than find out too late. Have fun looking into study abroad, labs, or summer programs.

Join clubs and make the first move

Go to the club fair, browse, and make yourself aware of what’s out there. You will never again be with such a large group of like-minded people – take advantage! They’re a good way to get to know people, and I have even found out about internship opportunities through clubs I have joined.  As far as social life goes, don’t be afraid to start a conversation. Eat dinner with that person, ask to go out with them- you might just meet your new best friends.


College is scary but it’s also really exciting. I couldn’t be happier where I am but that has come with putting the effort in, making the first move, and doing my research. Now go and get your money’s worth.