You've never been to college before, you are bound to make a few mistakes

College is a totally new experience! It's okay to make mistakes along the way, it's going to take time to figure out how it all works. However, hopefully we can save you from costly errors. Check out some of the most common mistakes freshman make below.

1. Choosing a major because of a friend/ boyfriend/ girlfriend

I get it. Taking classes with your friends or romantic partners seems like a great way to spend more time with people you care about AND you'll have a built in study partner. However, choosing a major based off of relationships and not your personal interests is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Relationships change as college students refine themselves and grow into adults. You do not want to make lasting decisions based upon a relationship that may or may not persist past your freshman year. Spend time learning about yourself and your interests, and choose a major based off of the career you hope to have once you graduate.

2. Moving everything you own into your dorm room

No matter what school you are planning to attend after high school, your dorm room is going to be smaller than you expect. Learn from my mistakes here. When I went to college, my parents brought a TRAILER full of my stuff (it was roughly the same size as my room). I shared this room with another person that brought just as much stuff. By the time we got everything shoved into the room, there wasn't any space for us and everything was always a mess. We were both able to go home for Labor Day weekend, and took as much stuff back with us as we could so that we could have some space to breathe. Here are a few tips when deciding what to bring:

  • Bring clothes for the season and rotate when the weather changes.
  • Coordinate with your roommate - you don't need two of everything!
  • Don't bring excessive decor or furniture, there probably won't be space.

3. Making a tough schedule in your first semester - especially if it includes early morning classes

You want your grades to reflect your ability, not a tough schedule. This is particularly important during your first couple of semesters while you are still figuring out how to navigate difficult college coursework. Early morning classes also create problems for college students because you will find yourself staying up a lot later than you did when you lived with your parents. 8:00am doesn't seem that early now, but when you stay up until 3:00am writing a paper or hanging with friends you'll regret scheduling something that early. Here is my best advice for choosing your schedule:

  • Remember that college courses require more time and effort than high school classes. Start with pre-requisite and 100 level courses and progress to higher level courses.
  • Take a writing and public speaking course in your first semester. You will need these skills in a lot of your classes, these courses will set a great foundation.
  • Choose classes that require different types of work so you don't end up writing five papers in one week.
  • Take at least 30 credits per school year (including summers). If you don't, your degree will take longer to finish than you expect.

4. Partying too much

You knew there would be something about partying on this list. I have to mention it because so many students go wild with their newfound freedom. For many of you, this might be the first time you've lived outside of the watchful eye of your parents. The thought is exhilarating! You will have a ton of new opportunities. It is vital that you remember why you came to college in the first place. You have a dream you are working toward! Parties are fun, yes, but is a party worth losing out on your goals? Probably not. Learning to prioritize work over play is one of the most important (and hardest) things about living on your own. Go out, have fun! But make sure to take care of your responsibilities first.

5. Borrowing more money than you need

If you are using student loans to pay for you college, you might be excited to find that you can borrow more money than you need to pay for school and books. Depending on your situation, you could borrow thousands more that you could put into your pocket. Credit card companies are also going to send you a lot of promotions during your freshman year. You have the potential to rack up some serious unneeded debt during your time in college. When you borrow money, remember that it isn't free! You'll be paying that money back sooner or later - with interest.

Student loans and credit cards can be necessary while in school. Student loans help you pay for an education that you couldn't otherwise afford. Credit cards (used wisely) can help you build your credit and with a good credit score, everything becomes cheaper. When you borrow more than you can afford to pay back you set yourself up for financial stress before you've had the opportunity to build a career. Be smart, only borrow what you need.