Tips for Success

Quotes from Folks Who Have Been There!

This site is in progress. Topics for future development:

  • Relationships
  • Activities/Sports
  • Choosing Courses/Scheduling
  • Study Tips/Time Management
  • Self Discipline
  • Friends/Social Life
  • Classroom Clues
  • Notetaking
  • Test-Taking
  • G.P.A Savers
  • Networking
  • College Major
  • Partying
  • Crime Prevention
  • Financial Stuff
  • Tips for Transfer Students
  • Anything Else

Orientation Suggestions

compassIf you are starting in the fall and live nearby, check into enrolling for a summer class (suggestion: a one credit Math Mod). Once you do this, your enrollment status for Fall is changed to continuing student rather than incoming or transfer student, and you can actually directly enroll in the classes you want without having to endure the university’s random enrollment from orientation.

Don’t register for classes at 8 am on your first semester. You will regret it later! Unless of course, you’re a morning person! Register as soon as you can because spaces are very limited.

I know it is long and boring, but you are really going to need the info—I promise.

Pay attention to what is told to you. Don’t just stare off into space like what they are saying doesn’t apply to you. They are there to help you get into the swing of college, and you may even learn some inside tricks and shortcuts.

You should try to meet as many people as possible. You can figure out if you like them later.

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions to whomever is running orientation. And, while you have some free time, take a look around campus. Ask someone else who is also attending orientation to come with you, or arrange for a group of people to trek around looking at dorms, shops, etc. If your family is attending orientation with you, do your best to spend some time away from them and on your own seeing new things and meeting new people. It’s easy to stick to your parents because you are nervous, but remember that they will not be with you when you are actually going to college.

Dorm Living

underbedmonsterLiving in close quarters, learn to maximize space. If you have a problem, voice your opinion. You are paying to live there, not to be trapped in a prison.

Get shower shoes and use them. Also, don’t bring too many things. Cluttered rooms do not look cute, and you end up not using most of your stuff anyway.

Make sure you know all the details about move-in day. If you have an assigned roommate, try to contact them prior to moving in so you can go over who is to bring what for the dorm room. See what items are allowed and what aren’t (i.e. toaster ovens, microwaves, TV’s, etc.) The day you move in, check in at the assigned area to get your keys and move all of your stuff in. While you have time, look around and see where the bathroom, laundry, and eating facilities are located.

Find your resident assistant (RA) or housefellow. They are older students who live in the dorms whose jobs are to make sure everything on the floor runs smoothly and that all the rules are being kept. They are also good listeners and are there to help first-year students make the transition from home. Some dorms have their own dorm organization that you can join for a small fee; some let you check out movies, access a kitchen, etc.

There are lots of things that you need to bring that you never thought of while living at home: i.e. laundry basket and detergent, flashlight, medicine, lots of towels, toiletries, etc. Sit down and make a checklist first so you don’t forget anything. Run it by an older sibling or parents to make sure you’ve included everything. However, don’t bring your entire house with you. A lot of the extra things that you think you’ll need, you most likely won’t.

Tupperware and Ziplock bags ! You can stock up on the necessities from the dining hall for all those late nights.

One of the best experiences of college life! No rent or utilities bills to worry about. Food is decent, but youâll find yourself ordering pizza 3 to 5 nights a week, so make sure you have some cash! If you gotta smoke, smoke outside! We all hate people who smoke cigarettes or POT inside the dorms!!

Very fun, you will meet your friends there! Take advantage of the fact everyone is new and looking to meet people. Be social!

Get along with your roommate and learn to compromise.


frankensteinangelgirlConsider a Roommate contract about things you will do/not do in order to live together peacefully. Conflict resolution.

Just get to know them very well and set some ground rules.

Find activities that you can do together as well as activities that involve others besides your roommate.

Can be a very sticky situation...just make sure you always sit down and plan out how everything in the apartment will be handled, i.e., cleaning schedule, bills arranged or split, etc.

Try to keep your roommates happy. You don’t want them to mess with your things when they are mad at you, because your roommates might be “psycho.”

Don’t room with your friends! If you don’t like your roommate, move out immediately. The longer you wait, the more drama happens.

Contact your roommate before you move in to discuss things like what to bring and get to know him/her a little bit so you won’t be completely clueless when you move in. Ask what day they’re moving in, what type of schedule he/she has (i.e. are you a morning/night person? Do you have all of your classes scheduled after 12 p.m.? Do you need absolute silence when you are trying to sleep? etc.).

Many roommates hang out together for the first couple of weeks, but as the first semester rolls along, they start to branch off independently and seek their own different friends and hobbies. If you unfortunately don’t get along very well with your roommate, try to sit down and compromise with him/her. If you feel uncomfortable, ask your RA/Housefellow to mediate. If you absolutely can not stand him/her, contact university housing and see if you can switch to another dorm assignment or request for a new roommate. Remember that even though you and your roommate may be best of friends, there will be times when you are annoyed with them. So, be willing to compromise.

Compromise, share, & be equals, not enemies

Roommates can be great friends or thorns in your side. Always try to respect space and property.

Be patient and understanding. It is hard to get to used to a stranger; they aren’t going to be perfect and neither are you.

No matter how well you get along, try to keep the sharing to a minimum. This will keep future disputes from forming.

I guess I had a lucky streak because I had three different roommates and they were all pretty good friends. If you find yourself arguing with your roomies every day, you can always put in a request to move to another room because there is always someone somewhere who wants to move out because of the same situation. Stand on your own ground at all times, do not give in to someone else’s expectations or orders. Be fair at all times!


Letting go does not mean goodby. Create a living environment that is reminiscent of home but reflects your new life. There is no shame in calling home. Find an organization that meets your interest and make friends in that group. Remember, everyone back home loves you—even when you’re away.

Make friends or find a support group! Be social, so you feel at home.

Phoning is good if you live close, but then so is a weekend roadtrip. Bring lots of pictures to put around the room and other stuff to make your room just like home. Oh, and keep in mind all those times when you couldn’t wait to get out of the house and live your own life.

Don’t get too carried away with going home to visit. Not only will it make it harder to make friends and make college your new home, oftentimes you won’t get the schoolwork done that you thought you would at home.

Get involved!!! There are plenty of things to do that will take your mind off of any stress you may have. You also earn brownie points with your peers, teachers and some scholarship organizations.

Try not to get caught up in the drama from your hometown/folks. Remember, you are here to get ahead. By letting other peoples’ problems get in your way, you may not be in a better position to help yourself or them in the future.

Get involved in activities to keep busy.

Make lots of friends and keep really busy. Extracurricular activities would help out in this area. Then, you’re too busy to be homesick.

Everybody gets home sick. Do not get discouraged. Make new friends that you consider family.

Homesickness is totally normal. Especially if you’re at a large college and it’s the first time being away from home for an extended period of time. Try branching out with people in your classes and dorm. Chances are they all feel the same way at one time or another. Talk to your housefellow or Resident Advisor. If your homesickness seems to be getting worse, seek outside help. Most universities have a health services/counseling center with trained professionals who can help you talk about your feelings. Plus you can always write, e-mail and/or call home as much as your time and budget permits. Parents also often send care packages. Let your parents know you’d like one.

Get involved in an organization that provides you with responsibility for others.

E-mail or write or talk with your parents. Take it one day at a time. For instance, the first few weeks, call three times a week then the next few weeks call less and less till you feel comfortable.

Make a phone date with your family, or even if you talk to them often, send postcards back and forth.

Only happens if you love your parents too much!! If you are from out of state and hate your hometown, then you won’t feel anything except liberation in this great town of Boulder! I grew up 45 minutes away from Boulder, and not once have I felt sick being away from home. If you do get home sick, call your parents at least once a week and get involved in extra curricular activities and make new friends. Once you meet new friends, you’ll forget why you were homesick in the first place! There’s always something for everyone. It’s about variety!