Whether you are a commuter, freshman, exhausted senior, busy junior, or a transfer student, you will need to know about some of these college hacks!
The college experience is one of the most life-changing in most people’s lives. College is different for each person.
But most of us can agree that we are trying to get the most college study hacks while cramming for tests.
In this blog post, I will be bringing all of my top tier and secret college hacks to the table just for you.
39 College Hacks You Need To Know
As a senior, I have figured out and lived through so many college hacks. Even before stepping on campus, I made sure to know each and every college hack so I could be prepared for whatever college threw at me.
Honestly, this post is not going to be one of those college hacks articles where they give you random DIY hacks that do not or barely work.
I’m NOT going to tell you to make a pipe cleaner spoon or possibly blow up your microwave to make some kind of cookie. I’m sorry, but this isn’t that type of article.
I want you to succeed and enjoy college. The hacks I’m giving you are practical.
These hacks will hopefully help you.
College Study Hacks:
1. Actually go to class.
Seriously, go to class. You will fall behind if you do not go to class. You have no idea how important it is. Do yourself a favor and go to class. Simple. GO TO CLASS.
2. If there is not a GroupMe/Group chat for your class, start one!
I wish I would have been brave enough to start a GroupMe/group chat for so many of my classes, especially the huge ones with over 100 people. You will have moments when you need to reach out to another classmate about an assignment. Class group chats have been one of the biggest things I’ve used in college. Students in your class can tell you how they are doing an assignment, due dates, and what you missed if you go to class.
3. Learn how to schedule your classes ASAP. Even before you STEP ON CAMPUS.
This is one of the most important things I wish I knew before college. I can not emphasize this enough. I know I say that a lot, but this one of the BIGGEST THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW. Planning out your college schedule is one of the most important things because this is what defines how long you stay in college.
During your orientation, campus tour, or even email a counselor to require an appointment, learn how to schedule your classes. I’m not kidding. Learn how the college scheduling system works and what General Education classes are.
4. Befriend a counselor or a faculty member.
They will help you out a lot. Faculty members throughout my college years have helped me and helped me cope with college. Faculty and staff generally care about the wellbeing of students (except they are some mean professors).
A counselor will help you with the college hack above with scheduling. A faculty member will give you advice on how to prepare for life during and after college. They also might be able to help you find an internship!
5. Each semester, try to get to know at least one of your professors.
You might need a reference letter one day. Get to know one of your professors who seems easygoing. Most professors honestly love speaking to students. (Of course, there are douchebags, but most are nice.)
6. Rewrite your notes.
One of the college study hacks that I used still to this day is rewriting my notes. My major in general is not a memorization type of major and more projects based. So I am not the best test taker out there.
For classes that tend to have tests based on memorizing definitions and knowing tons of vocabulary, I rewrite my notes and some of the important points from the textbook. Freshmen classes tend to be more memorization based and test-based, especially General Ed classes.
I suggest writing your notes by hand rather than typing them because you’ll remember them better.
7. Go to office hours, especially if you don’t know what is going on in the class.
Professors love it when students visit their office hours. They also like when people ask questions. Get to know your professors by going to their office hours. They will tell you everything you need to know. Some will even give you suggestions about their tests and how to pass their class.
8. Figure out a time to study and learn how to be organized.
Find a time and place to study. Designate that space as your study spot. Learn what times of the day works best for you to study.
9. Learn how to email your professors before they reveal that email in front of the whole class.
I literally had a professor who showed a student’s poorly written email in front of the 250 person class. The second-hand embarrassment was real.
Learn how to write an email properly. It is only a quick Google search to learn how to do so. Be professional, considerate, and nice. Your emails should not be rants or rude!
10. Put your class schedule as your wallpaper.
Especially during the first week of school! Take a screenshot or make your own wallpaper with your schedule on it.
11. Break up assignments instead of waiting at the last minute.
I probably said this a few times already in my other blog posts, but BREAK UP YOUR ASSIGNMENT. Do not wait until the last minute and trying to write a 7-page essay in one night! That is so detrimental.
Break up huge assignments into small assignments each day or every other day. If you have an assignment due in 2 weeks, start outlining, planning, or whatever the day, you get it. Trust me, it will save you tons of time.
College Life Hacks:
12. Join whatever Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat group there is for your graduating class.
I wasn’t that big on social media when I started college, but I missed out on Snapchat groups and Instagram mutuals that I took classes with. I’m not saying download every app and dedicate your life to stalking your classmates. Instead, you should try to make an effort to make some acquaintances in your first year.
A lot of the people I met during my freshman year, I don’t really speak to anymore because they aren’t my type of crowd. I still say hi to them and speak with them from time to time. It’s nice to see familiar faces.
Also, joining these groups might help with classwork.
13. Make a friend in each of your classes.
I would like to personally thank all of my friends from the hard classes I took during college. You helped me survive. Knowing people in your class is a classic college hack.
If you are sick or overslept for a class, you can text someone in your class instead of possibly annoying the professor.
Also, it’s nice to have someone to speak to in your class!
If your university or college has a recreational center or gym, make sure you use that membership. Being on a walking campus is already a workout, but you’ll want to spend a good 30 minutes a day working out.
I recommend doing 10-30 minute workout at least 3-4 times a week. Some of my favorite workout channels are Chloe Ting and Bailey Brown.
If you are a fellow yogi like me: Yoga with Adriene, Cole Chance Yoga, Yoga With Kassandra.
15. Get a hobby and get a job.
Having a hobby will help you relieve some stress in college. Hobbies are also nice to have and might be a great way to make a side income or make new friends.
Personally, having a few hobbies helped me cope with the stress of college.
16. Find one motivational speaker or self-improvement coach/YouTuber you actually like.
There will be times when you will be down and sad in college. Find a tolerable motivational speaker on YouTube or even a podcast to cheer you up during these times. I started doing this during my sophomore year and it has personally changed my life. I recommend that you find motivational speakers/coaches that are similar to you or work in your desired industry.
For example, my favorite “career” motivational speaker is Gary Vaynerchuck because he is a social media expert and entrepreneur and is blunt af, like me. Then, one of my favorite self-improvement YouTuber is Isabel Palacios because she is an authentic person and is also real af. She gives a lot of advice for young women and tackles a lot of relatable issues I have. Both fall under my practical positivity genre.
Gary Vee: The Ultimate Advice For Every 20 Year Old:
Isabel Palacios: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others:
17. Join some organizations, but not all of them.
During your freshman year, you should join 2-3 organizations. I had a meeting pretty much every night during my sophomore year. Personally, I think I joined too many and was too dedicated to them. But I met plenty of people and had a nice time.
Organizations can help you make friends, network, and possibly earn experience to get an internship or job. Being a member of an organization is another thing you can put on your resume.
There should be a limit to how many you join, especially your freshmen year. Tons of organizations want freshmen because they’ll continue it after the upperclassmen graduate. Consider what you like to do, what job you want, and where you want to volunteer when joining organizations!
18. When someone invites you to go somewhere to hang out, go!
Seriously, don’t sit in your dorm! Spend time with people who take the time to invite you places. Don’t chicken out!
College Dorm Hacks:
19. Organize your cords.
Dorm rooms place outlets in the weird and most inconvenient places. You will also plug up so many things, such as your phone charger, laptop charger, lamp, etc.). It’s best to have a system to know what wire goes to what. Either separate chords or form a system to organize them.
I recommend purchasing a surge protector to help keep all your plugs in one area and give you more plugs for all your electronics. Surge protectors also prevent voltage spikes and electrical fires.
20. Sneak food out of the dining hall.
Find yourself a few small containers and put them in your backpack. You pay for that meal plan! Take food out and sneak out a few snacks.
21. Purchase noise-canceling headphones.
You need a pair of headphones or earbuds for study time. The library surprisingly isn’t that quiet. People are hanging out, chairs moving, and other distractions. Even if you are not studying in the library, you will want to tune out the random noise.
I always carry my AirPods and before I got them during my freshmen year, I carry around a pair of earbuds around campus. It was one of my most used backpack essentials.
22. If you live in an apartment, buy a little cart to carry your groceries.
My roommate bought me the best practical gift for my birthday. A cart to bring my groceries up to our apartment. You WILL NEED THIS if you live in an apartment! Instead of making tons of trips and carry heavy grocery bags, you can place all of it in a cart.
College Food Hacks:
23. Learn how to make coffee instead of going to Starbucks or whatever local coffee shop.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Starbucks coffee is on the expensive side (and good) but you can learn how to make the same drinks at home. I learned how to make drinks on my own. Starbucks even has a few at home recipes on their website.
Sure, get a Starbucks drink every now and then but do not go daily.
24. Go to any event giving out free food. (I’m not kidding.)
This is the reason I joined a bunch of clubs on campus. They would promise free food and ALWAYS have leftovers that I would take to my dorm. Most events on campus require you to just sit through a boring meeting or sign up for email newsletters or reminders or even do a silly activity, like play a game. You get free food and might make a friend.
25. Use every bit of your dining hall points.
You paid for that meal plan and points, use it! Find out what local restaurants or stores accept the points around town. Spend those points before you spend your own money.
26. Find a fruit or vegetable you enjoy eating.
Get into a habit of eating healthy. Start by finding a fruit or a vegetable that you like. I personally found out that I LOVE SPINACH. I can make so many things with it. It also prompted me to make more salads and healthier meals that I can eat spinach with.
College Money Hacks:
27. Read on how to manage money.
One of the most money-conscious things you can do as a freshman is to learn how money works. I wish I knew this before college because I would have been smarter with money. Being frugal and financially-smart isn’t going to happen overnight, but it is an important and vital skill for students.
28. DO NOT BUY A TEXTBOOK.
One college money hack is to NEVER EVER buy a textbook UNLESS it is an access code. Rent that book! Share that book with a classmate or your roommate. Don’t buy a textbook.
29. Student discounts. Student discounts. I can not emphasize enough about student discounts.
Student discounts are one of the best college money hacks that you need to utilize! There are endless student discounts out there. I personally am trying to get everything I can under a student discount, so I can get these items before I graduate. Use student discounts all the time. Ask restaurants if they get a discount for students. Ask if a store has a student discount. Visit and support businesses that give students discounts.
30. Print for free.
Even though some people use a personal printer or pay on campus, try to print for free on campus. At my university, our student government office offers free printing. There are also other places on campus that allow students to print for free.
Save money by printing for free any time you have a chance!
31. You better be sharing that streaming service with someone. Split that cost!
Do not pay for a streaming service and give it out without dividing that cost between people. Your roommate and you should not buy the same thing, especially a huge item, such as a refrigerator. Split and share!
32. Take advantage of all the free stuff people throw at college students.
There are so many events and opportunities on campus that give out free stuff, such as food, t-shirts, cups, and even gift cards. Go to events, especially on campus, because they give out so many items.
College Career Hacks:
33. Start personal projects to put on your resume.
This blog is on my resume. I am not kidding. I have had so many personal projects that I place on my resume because they gave me so many skills that apply to the jobs I want. AKA working in social media.
Depending on your major, you can use personal projects or sometimes even your hobbies on your resume as experience.
34. Network and get internships.
Find alumni from your university who work in similar positions that you want post-graduate. Try to contact them. Ask questions about their job. You never know they might be able to help you find a job or internship.
Speaking of internships, you should also aim to try to get as much experience. Internships allow you to learn whether or not you actually like your major or not.
35. Learn about everything your university offers.
You have no idea how many resources your university has. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask faculty members about things. Learn what alumni are doing. Find out what you can do with your degree. Ask faculty members about programs and curriculum that interest you.
It took a while for me to learn that my university has Olympics level athletes, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and an alumnus who has his own show on CNN.
36. Volunteer at different organizations.
One thing I regret not doing my freshmen year is volunteering more. I love helping people, but I didn’t have a car. It shouldn’t have stopped me from volunteering and helping out.
Volunteering, in general, is something we all should do from time to time. It’s nice to help out the community. You also can put it on your resume or gain some new knowledge.
37. Always be on the look for internships, from LinkedIn, school networking events, or around campus.
This college hack is one that a lot of people I know don’t know about. I got most of my job experience from working on campus and personal projects. I also learned about jobs by being active on campus and hearing about places that needed help.
Always be on the look for any job opportunity to help you gain experience. Set up a LinkedIn profile and use whatever site your college career has for job hunting.
38. Take your mental health seriously.
Okay, Gen Z, I get it, we love self-deprecating jokes. But we need to take our mental health seriously. College is a tough time and we are pushed under a lot of pressure and work expectations at a young age. Social media makes it difficult for our mental health.
Take time for self-care and to seek out professional help if you need to speak to someone. I recommend that everyone goes to therapy even if you don’t think you do. Your mental health matters!
39. Live in the present and enjoy college.
Finally, my last college hack is to enjoy college. I also said that I couldn’t wait to graduate, but I think I’ll miss the chaos of college and the excuse of being a broke college student. Don’t live in the past thinking about high school and who you were back then. Don’t worry about the future that much.
Live in the present and have fun!
This blog post was all about the 39 college hacks I’ve learned over the years.