College Series: College Advice for Future Freshman Part 1

Hello everyone. I’ve been on spring break and I’m now managing a big project for HerCampus. I took a break from blogging last week, but I’m back on track now. Over the month of March, I’m going to do some college talks and William and Mary talks/posts since most kids are getting their acceptance letters this month. If you have any questions, either as a student, a
parent, or a parent who will one day have kids in college, shoot me your questions via email ( or comment. I'll cover the application process, college selection, general essay questions, admissions questions, how to handle visits, or anything else you all throw at me. I'll also cover questions geared specifically towards William and Mary, since it's my own beloved home :)

Anyway, here’s some advice for the incoming freshmen.

Don’t drink for the first two weeks. Technically, as 18 year olds in the US, we shouldn’t be drinking anyway, but it’s college and drinking happens. But wait two weeks after school starts to decide whether you want in on it and how much. Those first two weeks will be full of people around you, freshmen, at their worst. You will see an onslaught of people making mistakes with drinking. I’m not going to lie—there will be nights when you will find vomit in the hall. Nights when dormmates will tell you they had to nurse their drunk roommate through the night just to make sure they didn’t vomit everywhere or choke on their own stomach contents. For people who haven’t had alcohol—or ever had that much temptation to drink with zero parental punishment—you’ll quickly learn the importance of things like pacing yourself, taking care of your friends, and just get a good look at what can happen if you or a friend goes too far. It’s also incredibly important that you stay educated. Learn how to calculate standard drinks (higher alcohol content makes you drunk faster), learn about how to pace yourself, read up on your school’s medical amnesty policy, and always look out for yourself and your buddies if you decide to party.

Don’t friend people on facebook from your school that you haven’t met personally yet. Most schools will have a Your College Class of 2016 or whatever page on facebook and some people will want to friend anyone who posts a question on the page. Don’t friend them. Side-step by saying that you have a policy of not friending people you haven’t met yet and that you can’t wait to meet them on campus. Most people will understand privacy concerns. If you friend them but you have never talked to them but see them on campus, it gets really awkward. Just don’t do it. It’ll save you a lot of trouble.

Delete unflattering pictures of yourself on facebook now. Seriously, you will be meeting a zillion new people, who will also be meeting a zillion people. Facebook will be how they learn about you and stick a face to a name and vice versa. If you have a ton of unflattering pictures of yourself or pictures you are otherwise not very proud of, you finally have a fresh start, so untag, untag, untag. Same with statuses and whatever else you have up there.

Take advantage of the resources on campus. From the medical services to the counseling service to the career center and even the little brochures on time management. There are tons of things on campus designed to help you. Take advantage of them because this is probably the first and last time in your life you’re going to have this much help for serious issues. If you have a problem, even if it’s just getting out of your shell, there are people who can help you. Take advantage of it.

That's it for now-- please send me your questions and I'll tackle them!


  1. Is there a Writing Center at W&M? Also, how do the credits work out for general education? To what extent does taking APs help take care of credits?

  2. Julia O'ConnellMarch 17, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    Definitely agree with #1. No matter what your attitude toward drink is, drinking and the first two weeks of freshman year generally don't mix well. Don't be that kid who gets arrested and/or goes to the hospital before orientation is even over. Trust me, there's a few every year. z
    As for #2, I friended a few people on fb before I met them, and it worked out well. But it's best to do this if you have something in common, like you're planning on joining the same club, or know that you're going to be in the same dorm, or even if you're looking for a non-random roommate. Certainly don't friend every single person in you incoming class....

  3. Julia O'ConnellMarch 17, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Yes, there is a wonderful Writing Center at W&M! They are located in the library and are super helpful. I've used them for a ton of my papers. Just make sure you book appointments far enough in advance!
    I'll let Harper get to the rest of your questions, just wanted to vouch for this awesome service.