Advice to the College Freshman

There are many inspirational quotes about education from wise leaders of just about every industry that span centuries. As the month of August hits its mid-point, thousands of recent high school grads will be heading off to their first semester of college. This is an exciting time for students and their families, but it also comes with a whole new set of expectations. I thought I’d take this time to give out a few tips for college freshmen.

Making sure you maintain a budget during college is very important. Students should start to keep track of expenditures early on and make sure they hold themselves accountable for extracurricular spending, from shopping to nights out with friends. Speaking of friends – students will be making a lot of new ones and hopefully you can count your roommate as one of them. Setting ground rules with your roommate, such as setting cleaning schedules and when you can have friends over to your dorm can make living together much easier.

So many changes in a freshman’s life can lead to stress. While it seems small, exercising and eating right are two important things that can lead to lower stress levels. Eating right is also key in fighting the ‘freshman 15.’ You would be amazed what exercise and healthy eating can do to improve many aspects of your life!

Inevitably, throughout your college career you will have a disagreement with your professor about a grade. I recommend that students try to set up a meeting with their professor to talk about the grade. These meetings can be mutually beneficial as you can get to know your professor and your professor can get to know you. Building a relationship can come in handy later if you’re looking for career or class advice, or when the professor is deciding on final grades.

As admission into Minnesota colleges gets more competitive – many schools cite receiving four or five times as many applications as three decades ago, it’s important to remember why you want to attend college in the first place: to get a degree. Jobs are increasingly requiring some form of post-secondary education, and according to the McKinsey Global Institute, by 2020 up to 76 percent of jobs in Minnesota will require post-secondary education. My advice is keep your eye on the ball, have fun, make new friends, go on adventures, but make sure you’re attending class and concentrating on your studies. Talk to your professors and keep your mind open to new experiences and new ideas. I promise you won’t regret it.

As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. I encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16. I can be reached by email at and by phone at 651-296-6820.

Senator Chuck Wiger
Chuck Wiger represents District 43, which includes portions of Ramsey and Washington counties in the northeastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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