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Conquer the First Year of College

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Dear College Freshmen,

Congrats on entering your first year of college! The staff at ProctorFree went on a mental time machine back to our Freshman years, and made a list of some of the things we would have changed. Learn from some of our shortcomings, and make your first year one for the books!



  • Be Actively Interested in Your Education

“I wish I would have had a better idea of what I wanted to major in,” says Keith, our junior developer. “Doing so would have eliminated me from transferring majors.”

So how do you become actively interested in your education? Of course, it’s studying and working hard academically; however,  it’s more than just keeping  your nose in the books. It also means working on yourself.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, four out of five college students change their major one or more times. Use your first year to develop life experience before committing to a major. Taking time to learn what you enjoy, and what your strengths are will help your focus on what you want your future career to be. Not sure where to start? Take a course in something that you have interest in. Think you may want to major in communications? Take an intro to communications class. Another way to obtain life experience, and learn what your interests may be, is in our next tip below.

  • Start Joining

“I wish I would had gotten involved in more activities, and student clubs my freshman year,” says Jeffrey, our Director of Partner Relations. “Doing so would have enhanced my first year tremendously, and it probably would have prevented me from transferring to another school my sophomore year.”

Getting involved will help you meet new people, make new friends, and connect with those that have similar interests to you. Need another incentive to join a student organization? Networking is a huge one. Organizations like PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) connects students to professionals in the field, gives them access to internships, and post college jobs. That is invaluable in itself. How about another positive? You have the ability to obtain organization, leadership, and management skills. Many organizations have a need for fundraising, marketing, event planning, and the ability to work with others on a team.

  • Plan a Victory in Your Schedule

“I had to work all through college, and I wish I had taken an easy class that I wanted to learn; something like swimming or reading class, to help balance out the stress of work and school,” says Jason, our CTO.

survey from Citigroup says that nearly 80 percent of students take at least a part-time job during the school year. Even without having a job, an intense class schedule can be incredibly stressful; together it can be incredibly overwhelming. School and life balance is extremely important as a freshmen. Do yourself a favor and enroll in a class you know you will enjoy, and look forward going to. Having a class you like will boost your overall morale, and keep you focused, especially during your first year. Many universities have art, reading, outdoor, and even dance classes. Visit your academic adviser and explore your options.

  • Research

“I wish I would have done more research in my major,” says Lee, our senior developer, “it would have better prepared myself for my classes, internships, and post college.”

So you know what you want to major in, and the career you know you would love. Awesome! Now, put some research into it. Researching the best classes to take for your major, companies you might be interested in for future internships, and what career path your major offers will give you a head start in your college career. You feel more confident in your choice of major. It will help you discover the skills needed in the occupation you want, and it will give you an overall timeline for your education requirements, and completing college. Researching now will be beneficial in the long run.

  • Enjoy it

“I wish I wouldn’t have rushed it, says our co-founder, Velvet, “I graduated in 3 years, and if I could go back in time I would have gone for longer.”

Enjoy every minute of your time in college, especially the first year. It’s an exciting, fun, and new journey. Before you know it, you’ll be a sophomore, and you’ll be giving out tips like these to upcoming Freshmen.

What would you have changed your freshman year? Please let us know!

At ProctorFree, we are dedicated to students academic success. Our exam proctoring service is designed to focus on student usability as well as protecting and maintaining exam integrity. 

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