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The Ultimate Freshman Guide to ASU

Congratulations! You made it through that dreaded college process, and you’re on your way to entering a new chapter of your life: Arizona State University. It’s totally normal to be a bit nervous, since this is a huge transition. However, I’m here to ease some of those nerves; keep reading for the ultimate freshman guide to the Tempe Campus of ASU!


All ASU freshmen are required to live on campus.

Needless to say, this means there are a lot of freshman dorms. You can live at home and commute but it’s quite tricky to get that waived (not impossible though) so be ready for that. Freshman dorms include the three Palo Verde’s; East, west, and Main (which is newly built so yay engineer freshies!), Sonora, McClintock, Hassyampa, Manzanita, Irish, Hayden, Best, Barret, San Pablo, University Towers, and Adelphi Commons II.



All the schools within ASU live in different places.

I was at Palo Verde West for liberal arts and sciences. The other dorms for liberal arts and science include Manzanita, San Pablo, and McClintock. Barret is for the honor students, and Hassyampa and Hayden are for business students. Irish, Hayden, and Best are for design and the arts, Sonora is for letters and sciences. University towers, PV Main (like I said, brand new dorms) and East are for Engineering. Sustainability and teaching are both in Adelphi Commons II.

Honestly, all the dorms are beautiful.

Even the older ones like East and West! The only dorm I wasn’t a fan of was McClintock because of the weird and small room shapes, but the courtyard within the structure totally makes up for that! No matter where you are placed you will love it! They are all furnished nicely and have a bed that goes full bunk for that desk underneath or half for the dresser. I loved my dorm at West. I had a large room with a walk in closet and a shared bathroom with my four suitemates. The window was large and had a nice shade to block out all the sun (even at noon) and all the furniture surfaces have pull out tables which is AMAZING…I wish I had them in my apartment tbh!



Roommates, on the other hand, you won’t necessarily love.

I had a lot of roommate problems my freshman year and it was awful. We had a very clear disconnect and I felt like I was communicating with her but she didn’t always want to communicate with me. In the end, she went behind my back and got me in trouble with my CM’s (Community Mentors which is the ASU equivalent to an RA). Then every time we would try and fix things it never really worked out, because there were always trust issues between us.

Bottom line: you won’t get along with everyone at ASU and it sucks.

I encourage you to go into it with an open mind like I did! I wanted nothing more than to be besties with her but some things happen for a reason…and in the end I had a room to myself because she was never there, so that was pretty sweet!


Dining Halls/Meal Plan

Meal swipes are for meals in the dining halls.

Dining Halls include Manzanita (right below the manzanita dorms), Barret (within the Barret dorms and costs extra if you aren’t an honors college member), Hassy (My personal fave), and pitchforks which is having a huge renovation and expansion this summer! The dining halls are large and serve a variety of food styles all day! Some stay open later than others so make sure you know the hours and look for holiday hours around Fall Break and other campus holidays.

M&G dollars are for restaurants, coffee, and other stores on-campus.

M&G dollars are for special restaurants, coffee shops, and stores on-campus. Things to buy with M&G are always expanding to the many Starbucks locations on campus, the Dominos next to Vista Del Sol (upperclassman dorm apartments) and the POD markets for all of your snacking needs.



Hayden Library is always packed.

Okay. So Hayden Library which is super nice and underground which is pretty rad, except it is ALWAYS packed! Steer clear during exams otherwise you will be sucked into the crowded vortex of stressed out students!

But good news, there are other libraries.

My favorite is Noble library (which is the “science” library). They did a bunch of renovations after flooding so it looks great and is usually decently empty, so there is always room for you! It is also nice and close to the north campus dorms and all of the physical sciences building hence the science library status. The other two libraries are Design and Music; they are also beautiful and typically less packed than Hayden (the main library at ASU).


Most of the libraries have cute little coffee shops.

They have coffee for good reason! They also have bomb tea and mustache cups, so I highly recommend checking those out. If you are a person who needs to be around other students studying to actually focus and study or do homework then please make use of the libraries because it is worth it! Lucky for me, I prefer the comfort of my apartment to study so I never have to battle the stressed students for a private study room!

You can access the online library database anywhere on-campus.

ASU also offers and amazing online library database that allows you to access so much from the comfort of your dorm, apartment, basement…wherever on the library website! I use it for all my research papers without stepping foot into the actual library which is extremely convenient!



Some ASU classes are large lecture style, while others are small active learning style.

Most of the major sciences like Chemistry, Physics, Biology, etc. are usually Gen Eds, so they are offered in large lecture hall styles. However, some are taught in small active learning styles instead. I had a large lecture halls of 350 students or so for Chem 113 & 116, which was great for note taking. For Physics 121 on the other hand, my class only had about 70 students, so that meant more hands on learning. We did class activities on whiteboards and started complicated homework problems in class, which helped commit the actual information to knowledge, but all of the note taking was done on my own time with the book.

Honestly, I liked both class styles for different reasons.

I think the way my small physics class was set up really helped me learn the math, while the way my large chem class was setup helped me take notes to aid in the understanding of general concepts. Both styles allowed me to pass the class and complete homework assignments and tests comfortably. Many of the special classes specific to your major will be smaller and very hands on (depending). My major (Geological Sciences) is very small ensuring small classes but even the engineering students are in decently small classes when having hands on projects and activities to do.

If you want smaller classes, then make sure when you sign up online you look at the class size and choose the best fit for you!

Tip: if you have a lecture of more than 150 people, get there early if you want a good seat!

See Also


School Sports

Go to as many sporting events as possible!

Sporting events at ASU are so fun to go to and I obviously recommend you attend as many as possible! As a student you get free admission and usually a special student cheering section along with free stuff like t-shirts, sport towels, water bottles, and even USB’s sometimes! Devils on Mill and Devils on College are huge tailgate events on Mill and College Ave where students get free stuff and have a little fun before the big football games! I got a free phone amplifier, tank tops, bracelets, fanny packs, and of course ice cream! They always have a big slide and a couple other carnival style rides along with amazing food trucks and vendors giving out coupons and wheels to spin for prizes! Picking up tickets is easy and worth it!


Greek Life

Look into fall recruitment!

Personally I am not a part of Greek life, but, I know several people in sororities and fraternities and they love it! There is a huge presence on campus and they are constantly hosting events and raising awareness for great causes. I have been to a few sorority events, one where money was raised for deaf and blind babies through a dessert party around Valentine’s Day. The girls truly are like a sisterhood and they always look like they are having so much fun!

The boys do everything together and often are part of many sports clubs and teams expanding that brotherhood on and off the field. If you want to be a part of Greek life at ASU make sure you stayed tuned for the fall recruitment, there will be an entire week dedicated to it and you will see all the members outside by the gym waiting for you to join them in activities, meet and greets, and interview sessions!




Use the free campus shuttles.

There are free campus to campus shuttles so you can explore all of the ASU campuses like West, Downtown, and Polytechnic. The Tempe campus offers light rail stops to the north, and east and you get discounted passes to ride them wherever you need all school year long! There is an orbit bus system that is free and picks you up close to campus for your exploring and shopping needs! I would take Orbit Earth from the station north of campus near the Wells Fargo Arena to go to the Tempe Marketplace. There you can shop, eat, or even pamper yourself at a spa! Campus also offers a flash bus that takes you from south campus to north. I have never ridden it because I love walking on campus, it is so beautiful and I can get from manzy (Manzanita) to Sonora in about 18 minutes anyways.

School break shuttles can be great too!

ASU also has dorm trips for long breaks to places like Disneyland and they will offer a bus transportation for you! As well as transportation to away games like U of A vs. ASU!!!


Health Center

The health center is in two locations, North and South campus and they have the nicest doctors! They offer many packages to help ease the cost of visits and types of visits as well as insurance itself through Aetna. You can get two free condoms a day so there is no excuse for unsafe sex and accidental pregnancies!! The staff are all extremely helpful and they offer every service possible and if they don’t have it they will outsource you to get you what you need!

Do you have any other tips for ASU freshmen? Comment below and share this article with friends!
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Alyssa Bailey

A Junior at Arizona State University Tempe Campus Pursuing a degree in Geological Sciences. She loves to hike, paint, and explore new places.

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