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20 Tips Every UCLA Freshman Should Know

So here we are, standing in front of this brown structure named UCLA. We have our shoes tied, a notebook in our hands, maybe $20 or so in our pocket, and a huge amount of nerves coursing through our body. Nobody here cares what you were like or what you did in high school, here in college we start with a clean slate.

For college students, it doesn’t matter if you were prom queen, if you scored that last second goal, or if you ran for Senior Class President and won… or lost, or if you were the person who likes to hang out in the library during lunch. Everything you were in high school will not be the same in college, it can be better! For this reason especially, keep reading this article for 20 useful tips to pass through your freshmen college year and come out victorious.

1. Get to know your campus.

It’s well known that information gives you power. Before you get into the college life, you can play your cards in the best way. Search all the information you can have about classes, teachers, places to hang out, or study. This not only will give you the necessary information to make the best decisions but also allow you to get to know people.

Photo by Evgenia P: “University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)” (Jan 2015)

2. Check out the Academic Calendar.

This calendar provides information far from just dates. The Academic Calendar is important and practical because it provides valuable information about class planning and management of time. Trust me, if you plan out your schedule to get the most out of college you´re going to have time to do lots of activities.

3. Add UCLA social media to your latest news feeds.

Social media is now the easiest way to communicate to our world, and schools know that. Like, follow, and subscribe to all the social media profiles of UCLA like Facebook or Twitter to always be informed about campus news. You can find even the fan page of your specific interest like UCLA Gymnastics or UCLA women´s Rowing.


4. Get yourself organized.

In college, no one will be caring about your laundry, or cleaning your room, or nagging you to complete the homework. This is you and your willing to succeed, it´s time to be totally responsible for your actions, so, start by organizing your goals and distribute your time wisely.

5. Download the app UCLA Campus App

Of course UCLA has an app especially to give the most authoritative and comprehensive information about hundreds of locations on campus. Check it out and you will find that finding your way around the campus will be much easier from the convenience of your smartphone or tablet.

Photo by: UCLA Campus Map

6. Stroll around the Botanical Garden.

Most of the current students in UCLA agree that the Botanical Garden is one of the most peaceful places. Quiet and shaded in most areas, you will find out that this is a great place to relax or catch up on personal paperwork.

Photo by May Jong:

7. Visit the Fowler Museum.

This is one of the hardest places to find the first time, but it´s easy to get back again. The Fowler Museum stages individual exhibitions which change frequently, so if you like art and history this is going to be one of your favorite areas in UCLA. Try to combining your visit with a stroll through the famed Royce Hall, the Powell Library, and the Janss Steps, which offer a panoramic view of the west campus and beyond.

8. Get to know the top floor of Covel Commons.

Not only is the view perfect, here at the Covel Commons you can have a relaxing and healthy meal. Named by many UCLA students as the favorite dining hall, I recommend you taste the Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo and the Arugula Salad Wrap for $13, you´ll be in and out of there with a hearty meal.


9. Communicate with your Academic Adviser.

This person will help you to navigate the transition to college, be aware to get along with him or her. Most of us do not take advantage of this resource, but if we have a good communication they can help us with many questions that will be appearing during our time at college.

10. Focus on what makes you happy.

This should be number one on this list, college is literally the springboard for what you will do in your future life. Be sure every decision you make involves following your heart and makes you happy. Search for people who motivate you to do the things you love, have new experiences, and get to know yourself as an individual and professional.

11. Join a club.

UCLA has more than 1,000 clubs and student organizations. Seriously, you cannot get bored here if you are an active person. Check out some that work for you and keep your mind and your body lively.

12. Make friends with an exchange student.

Exchange students are even in a more difficult position than you, and you can both help each other to adapt to this new phase. One of the first things you do during orientation week is settle into the dormitory and share a meal with your fellow schoolmates in the residential dining hall, so let’s make it more interesting.

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13. Get to know the good study spots.

I can tell one of the simplest spots to study is any open classroom, of course it’s better to use them on weekends or in the evening. There are also lots of spots to study at UCLA and in L.A. Try walking around the Law School courtyard, or Dickson Court, between Schoenberg Hall and Perloff Hall. I assure you it will be difficult not to return again to take a nap in the grass.


14. Manage your money wisely.

It´s time to prove yourself that you are a complete adult, what better way than managing your money responsibly? Create a budget and organize to spend it on things that really matter, like college parties… jk! Just be sure you don’t spend more than you can afford, ….remember, you need to eat.

15. Stay healthy.

Talking about eating, college can be really competitive, you need to have energy and your brain needs to be fully awake. Avoid the dreaded extra “Freshman 15” by eating things that provide the necessary well-balanced diet.

16. Strive for good grades.

Outside in that huge and brazen place called the world, you will find that preparation means excelling. Some jobs take college grades really seriously, and since you are already here, try your best-every parent has a special place at home to hang up that college degree you will earn

17. Familiarize yourself with L.A.

Los Angeles is the most populated city in California and the second most populated in the US. Just imagine all the things you can do here. You can visit Venice Beach, take a walking tour, wise up at the Griffith Observatory or visit the 901 Bar & Grill from 4-9 p.m. for the happy hour.

18. Know it’s normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes.

Being in college is not an easy thing, there is a lot to handle, there are lots of new things to discover. From the coursework, to making new friends, to making your own decisions. You need to understand that it is normal to feel a little bit of stress in your freshman year, but you´ll pass through it.

19. Call and visit your parents.

Let´s be a little bit thankful, call them occasionally and if you have the opportunity, make a surprise visit. If you don’t have a car there is a lax car service that picks you up at school and leaves you at the airport to take your plane.



Enjoy your college experience as much as possible. Don’t forget to have fun because this is one of the most rewarding experiences of your life and it goes by very quickly. But please, GO TO YOUR CLASSES!

What are some other tips all UCLA freshman should know? Comment below and share this article with friends!
Featured image source:,
Leo Stone

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