11 things I didn't know about college

Here are the 11 things incoming college freshmen probably won't learn from their advisers and counselors, writes Sarah Bourassa for NBC's Today.

Bourassa, a graduate of the University of Colorado, now works as a social media editor for the Huffington Post. These are the 11 things she wishes she had known in college:

1: Your peers are not all that different from you.

Students might feel intimidated by all the new faces they encounter, but knowing that other students are just as nervous and eager to make friends might put them more at ease.

2: Getting used to roommates may not be easy.

Whether they're living with someone they know or with a stranger, it takes freshmen lots of coordination, communication, and compromise to live in the same room as someone else.  

3: The freshman 15 is real.

In the midst of a tough class and social schedule, it can be all too easy for students to ignore the calories they're taking in—but they should think twice before multi-day late-night pizza orders or that fourth beer, Bourassa writes.

4: They'll be tempted to procrastinate, all the time.

Students may not be accustomed to having so much on their plate at once, and that's why University of Central Florida psychologist Larry Marks suggests keeping a schedule and a to-do list, as well as breaking large projects down into smaller ones to be completed over time.

5: They should get to know their professors.

Faculty can help students develop into working professionals through recommendations and connections, but that will only happen if students establish rapport with them.

6: Learning personal finance starts in college.

Money might be tight, but getting a part-time job, applying for scholarships, and taking advantage of cheap textbook options can all help contain costs for students.

7: Acquaintances come and go.

Students meet a constant stream of people while they're on campus, and subsequently being excluded from some social activities can make it hard to determine who's a true friend, says Julie Zeilinger, author of College 101: A Girl's Guide to Freshman Year.

8: It's not all about getting a job.

While obtaining a job is important, students shouldn't choose a major solely on the basis of promising job prospects. If they don't like the field in college, odds are they never will, says Evan Mistur, a recent graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

9: Greater involvement equals greater satisfaction.

It can be overwhelming hearing about so many clubs and activities, but trying new things will not only help student make new friends, it will also help them engage more with their academics, Marks says.

10: College is an emotional roller coaster.

College can certainly be the best four years of students' lives, but it can also challenge them more than they've ever been challenged before.

11:  The experience goes by fast.

Four years can fly by faster than students think, so they should try to enjoy every second of it (Bourassa, NBC's Today, 8/25). 


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How do your students pick their majors? They "phone a friend"

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