College Life Revealed: 37 Tips Real Arkansas Undergrads Wish They Had Known

By Arkansas NEXT Staff on Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ever wonder what it’s like to live in a dorm? How college professors really are towards students? What things you’ll need on move-in day? If frats are just good for their parties? Where you’ll be able to find help on campus, if needed?

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known about college before you got there? Here’s what our crew had to say:


“Parking tickets can really add up.” ­­— Rachel Pitre, Publisher (University of Arkansas, ‘04; Pulaski Academy, ‘00)

“Student loans shouldn’t be used for anything other than school.” ­­— Alex Howland, Events Director (University of Central Arkansas, ‘11; North Little Rock High School, ‘07)

“Don’t be intimidated about applying for scholarships, and apply for more than you think you need.” ­­— Annette Terrell, Ad Coordinator (University of Central Arkansas, ‘13; Little Rock Christian Academy, ‘09)

“Appreciate the years you’re given after high school to attend college—going back to finish later is a lot harder than you think.” ­­— Jessica Pridmore, Ad Coordinator (Arkansas State University–Beebe, ‘06; Cabot High School, ‘04)

“The parking is terrible! Get up a little earlier and walk to class.” ­­— April Scott, Production Manager (University of Arkansas at Monticello & University of Arkansas at Little Rock, ‘94; Stuttgart High School, ‘91)


“You don’t have to know exactly what you want your major to be when you step on campus. They provide plenty of resources to help you figure that out.” ­­— Devan Elbert, Marketing Director (Ouachita Baptist University, ‘13; Benton High School, ‘09)

“Don’t procrastinate ... Learn to balance the studying and the fun.” -Jennifer Bray, Ouachita Baptist University

“In high school, you could get off studying the night before a test and do well, but when I got to college, I realized that I needed to study more frequently.” -Morgan Baldwin, Harding University

“Work hard. Don’t skip class. But remember that your GPA does not define you or your potential.” -Cimber Winfrey, Ouachita Baptist University

“Read the syllabus. It has important dates, it states how assignments and tests are weighted and other important information pertaining to the class.” -Sydne McDade, University of Central Arkansas

“Learning how to manage time is the best thing you can do.” -Zach Ray, University of Arkansas–Fort Smith

“Buy a planner and stick to it!” -Amber Easterly, Ouachita Baptist University

“I wish I would have [known] that college is sometimes stressful because of all the work that the teachers give. And how much time you need to spend studying for each class.” -Kendra Jefferson, Arkansas Northeastern College

“There are a lot of jobs looking for students who have obtained a technical degree/education and with hands-on experience.” –Waylon Boston, Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute

“I wish I had known that it’s OK to go undeclared. Take the intro class to the major you’re considering to get a feel for it.” –Kaitlyn Wyre, University of Central Arkansas

“I wish I would have known how to handle and react to stress in a much more positive, healthy way. It’s no surprise that college can be intense, and my college experience definitely was, so maintaining your mental health is imperative.” –Samantha Butler, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

“DON’T GIVE UP. You will get stressed, you will feel overwhelmed, but learning how to push forward past those stresses is just that much more rewarding.” –Christian Bradley, University of Arkansas-Monticello

“Find a study routine and stick with it. In high school, we did so much review during class that I never had to study, but in college, professors just present you with new material and it’s up to you to learn it; and it’s a lot more material, too.” –Nathan Traub, University of Arkansas


“Sorority and fraternity connections can last a lifetime and are handy for job prospecting.” ­­— Lindsay Irvin, Editor (University of Arkansas, ‘07)

“Live on campus. You meet more people and get more involved.” ­­— Dana Meyer, Circulation Manger (Southern Arkansas University, ‘92; Magnolia High School, ‘88)

“How to talk to my professors and feel comfortable doing so as a freshman. I learned that professors WANT you to talk to them.” ­­— Amber Easterly, Marketing & Events Assistant (Ouachita Baptist University, ‘17; Bryant High School, ‘13)

“Don’t think you are the only freshman that feels awkward and has no friends. Everyone is in the same boat.” -Cimber Winfrey, Ouachita Baptist University

“Get involved right away and make friends—college is what you make it.” -Ethan Hoppe, Hendrix College

“Choose a school that is the best fit for you, not your best friend. I went to a college with only one person from my high school. My favorite memories are from meeting new people and branching out!” -Maddie Broddell, Ouachita Baptist University

“You’re only going to college once, so experience everything you can! The friends you make stick with you the rest of your life!” -Stephanie Battles, Central Baptist College

“Don’t be shy. Go outside of your comfort zone because there is so much you will miss out on if you don’t put yourself out there.” -Morgan Baldwin, Harding University

“Get involved on campus. Join a club, volunteer, etc. That’s how you learn how to work with different types of people, and that’s how you’ll make some of your best friends. It’s a way to make connections with others and build relationships that last well after college.” –Lara Couch, Harding University

“If you can afford to study abroad, do it. Studying in London was the best semester of my life. If you carefully plan your courses freshman year and start saving, you can find an affordable and major-related study abroad program. There is probably not another time in your life when you can live for an extended period of time in another country.” –Grace Oxley, Hendrix College

“College may seem like a place to party for the first couple of years, but every grade matters. Especially for those who are going into graduate school, your GPA is everything. It would be terrible to be a senior and not be able to get into the graduate program you wanted so badly, just because you blew off classes your freshman year.” –Sierra Wheeler, University of Central Arkansas

“I heard this one a million times: Go to campus events!” –Kaitlyn Wyre, University of Central Arkansas

“My advice would be the same advice my oldest brother gave me: Find the right mix between going out and having fun, and studying for class. Never do too much of either. You’re at school to better your education, but have fun along the way.” –Jess Ray, Arkansas Tech University


“Enjoy those long holiday breaks while you still have them!” ­­— Erin Lang, Art Director (University of Arkansas, ‘03; University of Arkansas at Little Rock Grad School, ‘07)

“I stay healthy by eating right, getting proper rest, and minimizing my stress level.” -Sadie Larkin, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

“You have to find a good time to eat.” -Kendra Jefferson, Arkansas Northeastern College

“Take advantage of the gym. It’s already included in your tuition. -Sydne McDade, University of Central Arkansas

“Try a bit of everything and get involved. Talk to everyone and make use of all of the resources available to you.” –Sam Bennett, Hendrix College

“I wish I had known to compare prices for textbooks with online websites and other stores around town before purchasing them at my school bookstore. Some books were a lot cheaper at other places.” –Aysia Jackson, Arkansas Tech University