Back to School Tips for Freshmen


Going back to school is a great time of year and probably one of the hardest transitions. We have to adapt from sleeping in to waking up and fighting traffic and go from doing nothing productive pretty much every day to having to do homework for six to seven classes. The cycle of new freshmen and rising to a new grade repeats and so does the lovely ten-month school year. As a freshman, it is totally normal to have no idea what you’re doing with less free time and more coursework. So here are my top back-to-school tips for anyone who needs guidance.

  • Learn what kind of notes and study methods you need for each class

    • See what information you have to take notes on and study for. It will definitely save you time knowing if you have to memorize, practice problems, or apply concepts for certain classes. Also, learn how your teacher teaches. Is it off a PowerPoint? Do they talk fast or slow enough so you can write notes down in a notebook? What documents/resources do they offer to help you? Try to pick up habits for each class quickly.
  • Have an organized planner

    • It doesn’t matter if the planner is on paper or on the internet, just try to find a way to organize everything, especially homework assignments, test dates, and which days you might need to do more homework in case you have a busy schedule the next day.
  • Relax and take time for yourself

    • Seriously, you need to relax sometimes during the school year. Whether your breaks might be going to the cafeteria instead of the library or taking homework/study breaks to do something good for your mental health, you can’t always have your mind on school.
  • If you need help, ask or email

    • I’m dead serious when I say most teachers are so nice about giving extensions or understanding personal situations. It’s totally normal to get overwhelmed by school. Just communicate with your teachers and try to be on time with most of your assignments, so if you ever need an extension, they know they can trust you to get it done.
  • Use weekends to get organized

    • Weekends are a time to relax. Unfortunately, you might still have some homework to do or some tests to study for. It’s also important to know what the week ahead will look like. Keep in mind special schedules, upcoming tests, or big assignments. I like to write down a small to-do list and calendar for my week.
  • Self-discipline

    • Self-discipline is such an important life skill. Learning time management and disciplining yourself to get things done is something you will probably use for the rest of your life. I know it’s hard sometimes to get some assignments done especially if you don’t like the subject or think the project is too much work. However, at some point, you have to get the assignment done. There is basically no way of getting out of it so it’s probably better to at least have something down on paper or work slowly rather than a rushed last-minute job.
  • Give yourself motivation

    • Motivation works hand in hand with self-discipline. Giving yourself little rewards for doing tough assignments will train you to be productive and happy. Some rewards I give myself are getting Starbucks or Dunkin’ and hanging out with friends.
  • Keep every paper until midterms/final

    • The subtitle basically says it all, but keep everything a teacher gives you because you probably will use it to study for your midterm or final. Try to keep all the papers in one place and try to keep it organized as you move through the school year by doing things like keeping certain units or tests together.

Remember that high school is supposed to be fun and a step up from middle school, so expect life to get a little bit rough sometimes. Just remember that learning how to live your life more independently will benefit you when it comes to college. Try not to take it for granted though because after the quick four years of high school, you’ll probably move away from home and your family. Best of luck with your school year!