Incoming Freshmen: 5 Tips for Success

September is fast approaching, and that means two exciting things are incoming: football and freshmen. But since there’s already enough hype surrounding this year’s BYU football team, we’ll use this post to give a few helpful tips to the freshman entering or considering the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. This advice comes from many resources available to incoming freshmen: BYU’s Freshman Checklist, students and alumni who commented on our Facebook page and Twitter feed, and Sam Prestwich, an Academic and Career Advisor with the FHSS Advisement Center.

Tip #1: Don’t Stress

cat-649164_1920Selecting a major is one of the most stressful decisions a college student can make, but a sizable portion of that stress can be relieved by the paths an FHSS degree opens up. Rather than constraining a student’s options, an FHSS degree expands them. “Instead of saying, ‘this major is going to make me who I am,’ you can say, ‘I’m going to utilize this major and this degree as a vehicle to get wherever I want to go,'” Prestwich said. “Each one of our majors allow a full array of career and grad school options.”

Students exploring the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences have a big advantage: the majors within the college provide an almost limitless number of post-graduation opportunities. “The path for students here doesn’t always need to be linear,” Prestwich said. “If you’re an engineering major, most of your opportunities are going to be in engineering. But if you’re a psychology major, for instance, that’s a degree which is applicable over a variety of disciplines and career options.”

Tip #2: Take Introductory Courses

Every department in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences offers introductory courses to students not in the major as a way of exploring the field. You want to learn more about sociology? Take Sociology 101. Anthropology sounds cool? Anthropology 101. Always been curious about psychology? You’re in luck—Psych 101 is one of BYU’s most popular classes. Intro level courses are a great way for students to explore their options, learn about a variety of disciplines, and gain valuable insight into future major and career paths.

“Incoming freshman usually haven’t declared a major, so they have a lot of schedule space to fill with these introductory courses,” Prestwich said. “It’s one of the best ways to find out if you’re passionate about a subject.”

Tip #3: Get Involved

“Students need to recognize that there’s more to an education than just taking classes,” Prestwich said. “There are valuable opportunities to supplement your education with real-world experience.”

Internships, volunteer work, professor-aided research, teacher’s assistant positions, part-time jobs, and study abroad programs are just a few of the many ways that an FHSS student can get involved, build their resume, and gain valuable experience. “These kinds of opportunities are going to shape the direction a student can go, whether to grad school or directly into a career,” Prestwich said. “Sometimes students only focus on schoolwork and forego all the other great resume builders and experiences that are readily accessible through each department in the college.”

Tip #4: Develop Good Study Habits

Some people can coast through high school on brains alone, but without good study habits, college can overwhelm even the smartest procrastinator.

“Most students I talk to who are struggling have trouble with time management,” Prestwich said. “They also don’t take advantage of resources available to them—teachers, TAs, study groups. Lots of students tell me they wish they’d done that.” Consider buying a day planner to help organize the workload, and regularly set realistic goals that push you to improve.

Tip #5: Seek Advice

Some of the most helpful resources in getting through college are people who have already done it. The College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences has an amazing network of students and alumni who are passionate about their fields and eager to provide advice. Here are some tips we recently got from FHSS students and alumni on Facebook…:


…and Twitter


So, perhaps the best advice we could offer is to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get connected with other students in the college! Good luck!


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