Advice to All Incoming Freshmen

  • Come into freshmen year in shape. It’s really important to train over the summer. You want to make sure you still have a feel for the water and are ready to jump right in to 20 hours a week. Some colleges ease into swimming, while others expect you to already be in shape and start going hard on day 1.
  • Try not to set time goals.  Going from high school or club swimming to college swimming is a drastic change.  Adding weight lifting and dry-land forces your body to go through a lot of changes.  No one can be sure how long you will take to adjust to these changes.  Some adjust really fast, some take some time. Take a deep breath and trust the new training and you will adjust. Make your initial goals more centered around things you can control – practice attendance, effort, nutritional goals. Then, once you get a better feel for your new surroundings, start plotting your times.
  • Don’t take too many credits. Some schools will only allow you to have the minimum 12 credits the first semester of freshmen year. You don’t want to come in being completely overwhelmed by the amount of credits you are taking. You want to make sure you aren’t taking all your hard classes in your first semester. Give yourself time to adjust.
  • Dual credit and AP classes are your friends. Senior year of high school you may not way to take any hard classes. But when you get to college and you already have credits towards graduation you will be thankful you took them. Speech is a recommended class.  It’s a lot easier giving a speech in front of people you know, rather than a large lecture hall of people you don’t know.\
  • Once you find out your roommates, start talking to them. You can find out more about them and plan how you want to decorate your dorm. It will make it less awkward when you first meet them.
  • Get involved around campus. Although you are probably going to be super busy and overwhelmed the first couple weeks, sign up for some clubs. Getting involved with clubs or organizations will allow you to build your resume and meet new people that aren’t on the swim team.
  • Don’t buy your textbooks until after the first day of class. Sometimes professors put on their syllabus books you will need for the class. Sometimes you need them; sometimes you won’t ever touch them. Save the money, and wait until they tell you that you’ll actually need the book before you drop the big bucks.
  • Your team is there for you. Adjusting from being a senior in high school to a freshman in college can be overwhelming and hard at times. It’s important you know you have a family there too. Everyone’s been through it on the team so they will be willing to help you.
  • Talk to your teammates about classes to take. They will have great input on professors as well. One of the many positives about being on a team, is there is at least one person who has taken that class. If you’re lucky your teammates will save all their notes, tests, and papers for you to use.
  • Make nice with your professors. Being a swimmer, you are going to have travel days and have to miss classes for a meet. It’s important that they know you are there to be a student first. The first day of class, introduce yourself and let them know you are excited for the course. Even the smallest thing will help when you need your grade bumped on an extension on a paper.



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6 years ago

A) Please, buy your books…you can always return them (at the beginning of the semester for full refund) if you figure out you don’t need them….some classes start on Day 1, and you really don’t want to start behind right off the bat. Not buying the correct stuff for class in a timely fashion is an awful suggestion.
B) Most schools require you average between 15 and 16 credits per semester (if not taking any summer classes) to graduate in 4 years. Taking 12 is not a good idea right off the bat.
C) Most importantly (and you didn’t put this in the article, and probably should be the #1 thing mentioned), GO TO CLASS.

Eddie Rowe
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
6 years ago

A) I respectfully disagree. Some of the books may have changed between the time the syllabus was written and when you take the class – heck, the instructor may have changed, and maybe the old edition is just fine. Always wait. And the off-campus book store usually has better prices and more old-editions/used copies

B) Taking 12 your first semester doesn’t set you back that far and gives you time to adjust. If you have even just 3 hours of advanced placement credit coming in, you’re still on track. Plus, summer school is a great time for those credits that you really don’t want to take that you can get over with in 5 weeks instead of 15. Plus, if… Read more »

6 years ago

This is a really good read!

College Advice
6 years ago

The most important thing is realizing this is something you do and not who you are. College is a time to find yourself as a person. Take the opportunities to get out and see everything rather than getting frustrated because you aren’t dropping time. Most all our careers end after college but prepare for your future.

About Olivia McLain

Olivia McLain

My name is Olivia McLain and I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.  I am currently a junior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where I am also on the UNO Women's Swim Team. I specialize in the 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, and now that its allowed …

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