Skip to Main Content
Idaho State University home

Tips for the New College Student

September 11, 2020

Coming to college as a first-time student or first-generation college student isn’t easy. To help you on this journey we interviewed a student in the Idaho State University TRIO program, who has excelled in their four years at ISU. Here are some tips to help you not only survive but thrive as you start out on this journey.

We interviewed Hannah Small, a senior at Idaho State who is graduating in the spring of 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree with a Major in Microbiology.


How do you create a school routine that doesn’t leave you exhausted?

Plan ahead! I make a plan each week, I use Google Calendar and put in all my classes for the semester and make it notify me 30 minutes before each class so I don’t miss one.

I also keep an agenda where I put all of my assignments so I know the due dates of every assignment throughout the semester and what I need to do each day.


How do you succeed when working on a group project?

Divide and conquer. Start off by asking people’s strengths and have them do the role that they are best at. Make sure roles are assigned to every group member and that they are clear on their role. Make sure work is evenly dispersed between members. Also, make sure each person feels confident in their role and can do their task.


What do you wish you would have known as a freshman in college?

Nothing is worth procrastinating. Nothing is worse than missing an assignment and getting behind. Once you fall behind it’s hard to catch back up. Also, learn how to transition into preparing for college tests vs. high school tests. College is much harder and it will require many hours of work and studying outside of class, unlike high school.

Do not be scared to ask your professors for help. You worked hard to get to college so use the resources that are available to you. People are paid to help you and you should utilize resources like tutoring, the financial aid office, scholarship opportunities and places like Idaho State’s Writing Center.

If you live on campus your RA should be able to tell you where to go for any sort of help you need. Whether you need counseling, tutoring or you are just looking for a fun club to join and make friends. Your RA has gone through a lot of training to be able to point you in the right direction and they are happy to help you.

I was short $1,500 my first semester and I thought I wouldn’t be able to go to college at all. I went to the TRIO office and told them I had no idea what to do. They were able to use their resources and find me a scholarship and financial help. Now I am on track to not only graduate but get into a prestigious Ph.D. program.

We hope these helpful tips and advice will help you achieve your goals as a new or first-generation college student. If you would like more help please reach out and join the College of Business Peer Mentorship Program. You can find more information about this program on our website.