So you’ve made the big decision to go to college. Now what? If you’re like most American students, this experience will cost you no small amount of money or effort, so it’s important you get the most out of it. How do you do that if you’ve never been to college? Lucky for you there are some universal guidelines available to help set you on the right path before you set foot on campus.

Meet Some New People

College is a great way to explore different walks of life without the pressure of your old social circle. Odds are you didn’t go the same university as many of your friends from high school, so you’ll have to make new ones. Take advantage of this time to open yourself up to folks from places you’ve never been with experiences you’ve never had. College is about social and spiritual growth as much as it is about academic growth, and branching out from the types of people you typically hang with will provide lasting benefits.


There are so many ways to enjoy yourself at college that you might end up getting carried away. Keep in mind that while it’s healthy to have a social circle and a system of support, you’ll lose both of those things if you flunk out. Because you’re navigating so many different new experiences, it’s important to remember what your priorities are and to serve them accordingly. Set academic goals for yourself, make a study schedule, create an accountability group–do whatever you need to do to keep yourself on track in school. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and money.

Take Advantage of Career Placement

Unless you started a t-shirt empire while you were at UCLA or won the lottery as soon as you turned 18, you’re going to need to get some kind of job once you graduate. If you really want to get the most out of college, check out what career placement opportunities your school has to offer. Do they have relationships with local businesses in the field you’re studying? Those could lead to internships. If you’re dead set on moving away from your college town when you’re done, get a list of their alumni chapters. Alumni events feature wonderful networking opportunities and even some mentorship. Odds are someone who went to your school also once thought about the same master’s in organizational development that you’re considering. You’ve already paid for these benefits, so continue to take advantage of them as long as you can.

Try New Things

College is a great time to figure out what you like in almost every aspect, and the best way to do that is to try a bunch of stuff you’ve never done before. Throw new experiences at the wall and see which ones stick. This can apply to new friend groups, a major you never considered or a club you’ve never heard of. Your college years are the ones society gives you to make mistakes. Take advantage of this time to get to know yourself better. Even if you don’t wind up hitting on your passion, you’ll have figured out a lot of what you don’t like, and that’s just as important.