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14 Tips For Freshmen at the University Of Houston

I am certainly not going to underplay the fact that college life is one of the most crucial periods of your life. It can be stressful at times but if you do college the right way, you can grow as a person, acquire life-changing skills, make lifelong friends, network for your career, and most of all, make mistakes. It’s going to be a new experience, but it will definitely be worth it. Unfortunately, there is no guidebook to college, but the least we can do is give you some basic pointers on transitioning to the Coog life. So, here are 14 tips for freshmen attending the University of Houston!


1. Be a freshman, but don’t dress like one.

One of the most important tips for freshmen: please do not wear your welcome week shirts from orientation, or lanyards with ID cards around campus. It is one thing to be a freshman and own it, but not knowing any better than to flaunt that you are a freshman, is a major mistake. Despite being a freshman, you start as a Cougar, not as a cub.

2. Beat the Houston traffic if you commute.

 Houston is known for its treacherous traffic from 7-9 AM and 4-7 PM. So, plan to be on the road before 8 AM and after 6:30 PM. Expect to stay on campus longer than your classes are, just because you have to wait until rush hour ends. Try to pass the time by getting work done, mingling with friends, eating, or going to club meetings.

3. Not to fear, UHPD is here!

 If it ever gets too late and you are scared to walk alone, call the escort services that UHPD offers at 713-743-3333. Remember, this is a safety escort service, not a dating service.


4. The Student Center South is called the University Center.

Don’t ever call it Student Center South, because you will sound like a naïve freshman. It has been nearly a year since the University Center was renovated and renamed the “Student Center South” to make it more about the students. Don’t expect anyone to call it that because to us, it will forever and always be the University Center.


5. Dress for the heat and humidity.

Houston weather is not easy to deal with, especially if you are not from the area. Pack light clothing because you will hardly ever wear jeans in this sticky weather. Loose shirts, dresses, and sandals are probably your most ideal options. Make sure to carry sunscreen and deodorant with you at all times, too.

6. “Finals Mania” is a thing.

To help relieve students during finals week, UH staff serves free pancakes, turkey sausage, coffee, juice, and snacks for breakfast. This is definitely the only pro of finals week and happens twice a year!

7. Go to office hours!

It is very important to get to know your professors, aside from attending their lectures. During the first week of college, go to office hours to introduce yourself and ask if they have any tips to ace their class. Have a genuine conversation and find out more about them. If they like Halo, then talk about Halo. Professors say it is hard to fail a student they know. Also, it is better to attend office hours on a regular basis for homework help, and not after your grades wane.

8. Get Starbucks at Bauer and the University Center.

Adding in commuting time can really affect your sleep if you have to leave before rush hour to catch 8 AM’s (please don’t take any). If you don’t get your morning coffee, we all know how bad the side effects are. Just so you are not lost when you start college, keep in mind that the only campus Starbucks’ are in the University Center and in the Bauer College of Business.

9. Befriend the Religion Building staff for free coffee.

 Starbucks is overrated (please don’t hate me). It is overpriced and can be too strong for some of us college students. If all you need is a simple hot coffee, head over to the Religion Building and become friends with the staff. They will let you use their coffee machine whenever you want. No questions asked.

10. Meet your adviser before the rush starts.

Meet your adviser soon to decide your spring class schedule. It is never too early. By the middle of the second month, all the appointment times would have been filled by others. I suggest marking your calendar to meet your adviser before the fourth week of college starts.

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11. Never leave your cubicle during University of Houston finals week.

 If you plan to get a cubicle during finals week, grab one before 10 AM and do not leave it. If you do, mark your territory by leaving your backpack there so no one occupies it. Another option is to reserve a study room, which requires a minimum of three people.


12. The hype is real at University of Houston football games.

This is the epitome of Coog pride. What better way to pledge your support to the university than to cheer for your fellow athlete Coogs at football games? Games are free to attend and even if you don’t have the slightest knowledge of this sport, you will be hyped just sitting there. Go to at least once in your college career, and you will understand what it truly means to be a Cougar.

13. Try the cheapest and best places to eat.

The University of Houston is not short of dining areas. Houston is the most diverse city in the country, and that includes the food. On campus you can eat at Tandoori Nite, Chick-fil-a, and Jimmy John’s to name a few. Pizza Hut has wonderful combos which are affordable for college students. If you are willing to drive a few minutes off campus, Gyro King is the place to be, but they deliver to campus as well.


14. The struggle for parking is real.

One last tips for freshmen: the parking situation at the University of Houston is like going to the airport. Seriously, be there two hours early. You will not find a single parking spot after 10 AM, so be prepared to wait around for an hour and a half until someone leaves. Economy parking permits may require you to walk further and allow limited lots to park at. Student Commuter permits are slightly closer and a bit more flexible in terms of lots to park at. Garage parking will always guarantee you a parking spot, but they are more on the pricey side. I hope these tips for freshmen help with your college experience!

Do you have any tips for freshmen at the University of Houston? Comment below!
Featured image: findingtash.,
Rafa Farihah

Rafa Farihah is a Business and Journalism Major at the University of Houston. She is a photographer, feminist, animal lover, and blogger. She aspires to become a news anchor and to make a difference in the world with her writing. Check out her blog at and subscribe to her YouTube channel!

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