As a freshman just starting their experience on a college campus, there can be a lot of unanswered questions and potential fears. That is completely okay!


We asked Concordia University Ann Arbor students for their best college tips for new students. They shared reassurance for all new students that with proper planning, involvement on campus, and sleep (emphasis on sleep), students can be successful and satisfied with their college experience.

While these college tips may not completely wipe away all fears, hopefully they will encourage new students and give a few helpful ideas to get their time at Concordia off to a great start.

We received a lot of input from a poll shared on CUAA’s Instagram. We couldn’t share all of the responses, but I’ve picked the ones that I believe are the most important for students to remember.

Here are the top 10 tips from students:
1.“Talk to your professors. They want to help you succeed.”@ehzzz

Students hear this a lot: “Talk to your professors, go to office hours!” In all honesty, as a new student, talking to professors when you’re not yet totally comfortable can be extremely scary. I’m not saying to give into this fear, but talk to your professors when you feel comfortable or better yet, find a buddy from your class and go to office hours together!

2. “Seek out godly mentors and relationships.” @payton_hila

This tip doesn’t need much explanation. Every person is a direct result of the people they surround themselves with and in college you have a great opportunity to pick and choose who surrounds you.

3. “Play smart with your money. Eat in the cafeteria or the nest and save [your money] for when you need it.” @alexanderhauuge

I understand that take-out or delivery is often more exciting than eating at the cafe, but I completely agree with this tip – save your money for when you might really need it. Gaining more independence as a new college student comes with a lot of responsibility, so begin saving from the start.

4. “Go to class! Figure out how much it’s costing you if you skip; that’ll help you get up and go.” @emmiforbes

Let me do some quick math for everyone. This doesn’t count scholarships or financial aid but just as an example for understanding… Say your college class costs $500 per credit, most classes are 3 credits so then the class would cost $1,500 total. Most classes meet 3 hours per week for 14 weeks (then a week of finals), equaling 42 hours total. The cost per hour ends up being $35.71. If its a three-hour night class, that’s over $100. Why not just go to class?

5. “It’s okay to eat in the cafe alone – people AREN’T staring at you funny!” @mrs_sarah_myers

This tip is unique and not something you hear a lot, but it’s important for freshmen to understand that eating in the cafe alone is totally okay. Not every meal has to be a social event. Sometimes you just need to eat quickly in between classes.

6. “Sign up for the stuff that’s interesting! But also step back if it’s overwhelming.” @celia_grace_

As a freshmen, you are told again and again to sign up for everything. However, if you’re anything like me, signing up for everything would be detrimental to my mental health. This is a good tip because it states the common encouragement that we all hear but also includes the real statement that says it’s okay to take a step back if you need a break.

7. “Plan everything. Not only you due dates, but write study study time, breaks, eating, and sleeping.” @forevamsmelly

Writing things down is so very important. Whether it’s in a physical planner or a digital calendar, having all your activities written out in front of you is more helpful than some people may realize.

8. “My grades and mental health were better when I got SLEEP as opposed to pulling all-nighters!” @nataliadoublev

I completely agree. Sleep is so important and vital to being a successful student, athlete, artist, musician, friend, and so much more.

These final two tips are from current seniors and their wise words need no explanation.

9. “Memories aren’t always made in the massive moments. Cherish the simple time.” @jrusssilver
10. “Find your bridesmaids not your groom. God has a plan and building community is key!” @kimbo_thomp

Enough said.

I hope that these tips given above provide some sense of assurance for new students and even for current students reading this, I hope that they are able to take something away from the words of their peers. The college experience isn’t always easy but hopefully with the right people beside you and the support that Concordia offers, all students will be able to thrive.

Soon, we are going to share tips for students specifically in healthcare programs, fine arts programs, student athletes, and education. Do you have a tip for one of these categories? Share your wisdom with us!

Craving more? Read Concordia students’ top tips for living with roommates.

— Allie Milot ('21) is a student writer majoring in digital media design. Questions or concerns related to this article may be directed to news@cuaa.edu.

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