As summer comes to an end, many parents are packing up their cars and driving their kids to their freshman year of college.
According to the College Student Journal, "30 to 40 percent college students drop-out before obtaining a degree." The reason for the drop-out rate may be due to academic or social changes.
One of the keys to surviving freshman year is being prepared. Your first few weeks will be a transition and adjustment period. As you experience your new found freedom, it is vital to be prepared and roll with the punches.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if there is a situation where you do not know what to do. Your university has free and valuable resources. And, remember, your situation isn’t new. There are other students who may have been in your situation.
Here are some tips to prepare yourself or your loved one for their freshman year.
• According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ʺif you are a female age 26 or younger, get an HPV vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer.ʺ
• Condoms. Condoms. Condoms. Protect yourself against SDTs and ask your partner to wear a condom.
The Freshman 15. Dr. Mallika Marshall, a practicing physician at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Chelsea Urgent Care facility, recommends the following to avoid the ʺfreshman 15ʺ:
• Avoid eating after 6 p.m.
• When you order a pizza, also order a salad. Eat the salad first and save the extra pizza for a later day.
• Don’t use a tray in the cafeteria. Only carry what you can eat. Cafeteria trays invite extras like dessert.
• Eat fruit and vegetables for snacks.
• Avoid junk food.
• Exercise regularly. Try intramural sports at your college. It is also a great way to meet new people.
Other freshman survival tips:
• Before you leave for college, make sure you get all your shots.
• Avoid caffeinated drinks up to eight hours before you go to bed.
• Limit your time on Facebook. Facebook is a great way to waste time to avoid studying.
• At night, do not walk alone. Use the buddy system.
• Invest in mace, pepper spray and a whistle. If possible, attach one of these items to your key ring.
• Important phone numbers. Keep a list of your emergency contact on a written piece of paper in your dorm room. The list should include:
o your parents’ phone numbers (home, work, mobile)
o emergency contact number in case your parents can not be reach (another relative)
o doctor’s phone numbers
o cab service (in case you need an emergency ride home from the library or bars)
o roommate’s phone number
o student health center phone number
o campus security phone number
Your college years will be an experience of a lifetime. You will grow as a person and learn who you are as an individual. You will also develop friendships which will last a lifetime. Enjoy your college days and remember to do things in moderation.
Here are some additional sources which may be valuable for every incoming freshman.
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
(800) 656-HOPE or (800) 656-4673
CDC Health Topics (Immunizations, STDs, and more)
(800) CDC-INFO or (800) 232-4636
National Domestic Violence Hotline
(800) 799-SAFE or (800) 799-7233
Mental Health Information Center
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
(800)273-TALK or (800) 273-8255
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
(800) 662-HELP or (800) 662-4357
CDC - Family Health - College Health and Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 17, 2011, from
Healthy Relationships. Center for Young Women's Health. Retrieved August 17, 2011, from
Enochs, W. K., & Roland, C. B. Social adjustment of college freshmen: the importance of gender and living environment | College Student Journal | Find Articles at BNET. Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. Retrieved August 17, 2011, from
Whitbourne, J. The dropout dilemma: One in four college freshmen drop out. What is going on here? What does it take to stay in? | Careers and Colleges | Find Articles at BNET. Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. Retrieved August 17, 2011, from
College Tips - Dr. Mallika Marshall. Dr. Mallika Marshall . Retrieved August 17, 2011, from
Edited by Jody Smith