First Semester Of College Hacks

It’s that time of life when things will be changing drastically- starting college! This is a new and difficult period for both parents and new college students. This is the first time you will actually be independent! Whether you are dorming, living off-campus, or commuting from home, you are living a new life from when you were in high school. This can get scary! Here’s how you can have your best first semester of college: 

Pre-College Readiness:

Not a single student is “ready” for college. Life is at an unpredictable stage, but you can prepare for what’s to come. It starts with taking AP classes so you know what college-level class material looks like. This can be geared towards your major, or another AP class you are interested in. Next, you can make sure of the college you will go to. Understand the background and culture of the school to really know where your life will be for the next few years. It’s also important to know the necessary deadlines for payments, registration, admission, etc. It can be hard to take care of these things when it is too close to when college starts. While doing so, enjoy your summer as well! There are hard classes headed your way, so having an enjoyable summer will allow you to relax before starting on this journey.


Having to remember, track, and calculate your own finances after being under your parents finances is bigger than just a challenge. Finances are one of the vital parts of life, and it is really easy to mess up! Being responsible and organized will always be best for your long term wealth. Here’s some steps to start early: 

  1. Open a credit card. Having and building a strong line of credit will guide your entire buying future. Research into student credit cards that offer great benefits and low interest rates. This is a great way to start being responsible for spending money that isn’t yours. 
  2. Turn on all banking notifications. It’s not just enough to have the app and check it occasionally. Turning on your bank notifications will let you see, in real time, the status of your bank account at all times. You can decide if you want to turn on/off notifications for spending, overdraft, Zelle, and lots more. 
  3. Income. Having a steady source of income throughout college will not only allow you to spend as you need, but also save as you need too! Start with putting away a small amount of your paycheck for every paycheck, and slowly, you’ll see your bank account grow. You can even look into investing some of this money and watch your money grow.


Your classes are one of, if not, the most important part of your college career. This is the whole reason you are in college. Make sure to register for your classes early on so you can get the best schedule with the best professors and the best timing of all your classes. Your classes will depend on the major you are applying for- you can find the list of your classes on your school website. Be aware that many classes have pre-requisites, classes you must take before taking the follow-up class, so if you do not register for correct classes, it may be hard to register for those following classes the following semester. 

Look into extra classes, electives, that you might want to take and map out the rest of your 4 years. Make an appointment with an advisor, if needed, to help understand this new process better. Even if you don’t need the help, it doesn’t hurt to reach out and make sure you are on the correct track. 

Balancing Social and Academic Life 

This is the hardest part. You go to college to get an education, of course, but college is much more than just that. You are new to a whole school of students, administrators, and college communities. Take advantage of this new beginning and make friends that are good for you. The best way to do so would be to simply start talking to everyone- people in classes, clubs, projects, cafes- you are bound to find a person also looking for a friend. Your friends will be your support system through college since they know exactly what you are going through and can relate and help you get by. 

That being said, sometimes the social life at college can get distracting. As many know, there is a strong presence of addictive substances that, understandably, college students get attached to easily. For most people, it starts off as peer pressure, which turns into addiction. The balance between keeping up with your academics and having a thriving social life is easily swayed. Having the correct friends for your goals will set you up for success as well as a great night out. Balancing the different parts of college is tough, but not impossible.


Don’t let this list of college hacks scare you too much! College is a wonderful experience and a time for huge growth and development. You’ll have many sleepless nights, stressful classes, and annoying professors, but having great friends alongside you makes the degree worth it. If you ever find yourself in too tough of a spot, feel free to contact an advisor or counselor to discuss with. Contact Gooroo for help with the harder college courses- there are tutors for every subject and can guide you with the best personal path.

About the Author



Sadia is an experienced STEM and college advising tutor at Gooroo. Gooroo is a tutoring membership that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers math, English, ESL, Spanish tutoring, and more.