4 Unspoken Rules Every College Freshman Should Know

It’s fantastic that Illinois is on your radar! But before you enter the social scene on campus, there are some things you should know …

1. Don’t brag about your Act / SAT scores.

Are you talking to your admissions counselor? Academic advisor? If not, then no need brag about those ACT scores anymore.

“What did you get on the ACT?” will definitely not fly as a get-to-know-you kind of question. You’ll come across as nosy, and whoever you’re asking will probably lie anyway. Those standardized test scores are a thing of the past once you get to college

2. Drop the high school sass.

It really is a lot cooler to be kind—that’s not just college advice, that’s life advice. 

Like they say, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Maybe you don’t want to be friends with all the flies you see, but still try to treat others the way you’d like to be treated. 

3. Don’t say, “I’m from Chicago,” if you’re not.

When you tell someone around here that you’re “from Chicago,” the follow-up question is almost always, “Actually Chicago, or the suburbs?” That’s because at Illinois, Chicago means the literal city, not the whole surrounding area. 

If you’re from the suburbs, just say it straight off the bat. When you branch out to other states, then it’s fine to be more broad and say you’re from Chicago, since it’s an easier way to convey where you live to someone unfamiliar with the region. 

4. Remember yourself.

Basically, this means that you shouldn’t act like you own the universe the minute you get on campus. 

You’re not too cool for school, especially when college is what’s making you feel cool.  There’s no need to act like you’re better than your parents, siblings, or high school friends. Yes, you do have a lot to be proud of, but you also still have a lot to learn. 

Use this valuable time in college to try to become a better person. It’s a better takeaway than “I was cool, once.” 

I’m talking about rules and everything, but you’re going to have the best year you can if you strive to do two things: respect yourself and respect others. Everything else will come from there!

Good luck! (“Not that you need it, eh, Potter?”) (J.K. Rowling there.) (Alright, good luck!)


Class of 2020
I’m a senior here at the university, majoring in English and Math and minoring in Spanish. I’ve lived in Illinois all my life, sharing a room with my sister and many crickets. As the youngest in my family, I’m lucky enough to have my older siblings’ advice and perspective as I make my way through college!

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