15 Tips for Conquering Your College Freshmen Fears

Being Nervous about College Actually Means You're Already Doing Everything Right

Multi-ethnic group of students talking outside
Aldo Murillo/Vetta/Getty Images

Being nervous about starting college is probably the most normal thing any new college student can do. Your apprehension is a sign that you are already interested in doing well. Additionally, rest assured that most of your fears will probably go away after your first few weeks and that, even if they don't, there's always something you can do to change things.

Common College Freshman Fears

1. The admissions office let me in by accident.

No, they didn't. And even if they did, they'd have told you by now.

2. My roommate will be awful.

This is, of course, a possibility, but very unlikely; the vast majority of college students get along really well with their roommates. There are things you can do to start off strongly with a new roommate, and ways to handle problems if they arise. (Additionally, there are some important steps to take when first contacting your new roommate.)

3. I don't know anyone there, and I'll have problems meeting new people and making friends.

One important thing to remember is that almost everyone there is new, and virtually no one knows anybody else. Even the friendliest first-year college students know a small handful of folks, at most, before arriving on campus. Since everyone is looking to meet other people (especially during Orientation and your first week), take a deep breath and introduce yourself.

And just in case that doesn't work, there are lots of other ways to meet new people on campus. Keep in mind, too, that it's never too late to join a club or other student organization. Many groups are always looking for new members, whether it's the first week of classes or the last.

4. I won't be able to cut it academically.

Your college experience will likely be much harder, academically, than your high school. Your homework load will increase. Your assignments will be more heavily weighted and you'll have less "filler" homework assignments that are easy points.

None of these facts means, however, that you will not do well. It is pretty common for a student's GPA to drop quite a bit from high school to college, but that doesn't mean you aren't doing well. It means you are taking more challenging classes in a college environment. Additionally, if you need help, there are resources on campus you can tap into.

5. I'm really going to be homesick for my friends/family/boyfriend/girlfriend back home.

This is probably true. You will miss all kinds of people back at home; even if you're not going away to school, you'll probably end up missing the time you used to have to spend with friends, family, and loved ones. Managing a long-distance relationship can be hard, but it doesn't have to mean you can't stay. You can miss someone and still make it in college. There are also easy ways to keep in touch with your family, and even though things will change when you get home, your friends and family will still be the crazy, lovable people who are proud of you and your work at school.

6. I'm concerned about my finances.

This is a very legitimate concern. College is expensive; your funds will be tight; you may be borrowing money to make ends meet. Knowing how to manage your money is one of the best things you can do. Additionally, being aware of the specifics of your financial aid package and getting a good on-campus job are smart ways to be proactive about your finances.

7. I don't know how I'll balance so many things.

Time management is one of the biggest challenges for college students. By learning some important time management skills, however, you can stay on top of your game and learn how to handle a very demanding schedule while still having fun.

8. I'm nervous about being on my own for the first time.

Good! You should be nervous; being on your own, especially for the first time, is hard.

But something inside of you knows you are ready or you wouldn't have wanted to go to college in the first place. Sure, you'll make mistakes along the way, but you're ready to head off on your own. And if not, there are plenty of people and support mechanisms on a college campus to help you out.

9. I don't know how to do basic things, like doing my own laundry or cooking for myself.

While managing things like this is a common fear, there is also an easy fix. Before leaving for school, have someone teach you how to do laundry. If you're already at school, learn by watching someone. If you don't know how to cook, try watching some cooking shows or cooking with some friends. In no time at all, you'll be a laundry-washing, dinner-cooking college pro.

10. My health is really important to me, and I'm worried about gaining weight and the "freshman fifteen."

Being healthy -- and staying healthy -- in college is really important. And most incoming students have heard of the dreaded fifteen pounds that every incoming first-year student (supposedly) gains when they start school. With a few small but simple choices, staying healthy and avoiding the freshman fifteen is actually a lot easier than one would think on a college campus.

11. I'm intimidated by professors but know I may need to go to them for help.

In addition to being incredibly smart and, yes, even intimidating at times, most college professors are actually really nice and approachable. There are many easy, low-key ways to get to know your professors without coming off too aggressively. (Make sure to keep in mind the things to avoid talking to your professors about, too.)

12. I'm worried about being disconnected from my religious life, practice, and community.

Being away at school doesn't have to mean being disconnected from your religious life. In fact, there are multiple ways to keep your religious life and college life integrated while in school.

13. I'm worried about my safety now that I'm on my own.

While your safety should always be on your mind, there are some ways you can be proactive about your safety in college.

14. I don't think I can handle all of the stress.

College is a very stressful place, but being in a stressful situation and being stressed are very different things. Managing college stress takes some practice, but is definitely manageable.

15. I have no idea what I want to do after college.

This is a really common fear for incoming students. While you should still know how to pick your classes and eventually how to choose a major, you'll have more time to explore your interests and be open to new ideas and career choices.