How to prepare for your freshman year

Many international students are likely unfamiliar with the social and academic expectations of US colleges. Differences may  ​include a greater focus on teamwork and more flexibility when it comes to choosing a major.

Here are some suggestions to prepare for your freshman year.

English Language - US colleges are social environments, and prospective international students should spend time improving their English skills before they arrive. Litz USA Student Service provide small group and individual English classes for students before they leave Hong Kong. We also suggest our students to read more books and to watch more American television shows. It will certainly help with it comes time to interact with American classmates when they arrive.

Freshman Orientation - This is an important step for all international students. Litz consultants always advise students to arrive in the U.S. early enough before the orientation day. Orientation provides a chance to get to know your fellow classmates, learn more about the campus and various activities.

Class Discussion – this plays a big role in U.S. college courses, and class participation is often a factor in deciding final grades. Participation may be especially important to success in courses revolving around collaboration or debate. So if you are not used to speak out in class back in Hong Kong, it’s time to change.

Group Projects - it's common for professors at U.S. colleges to assign group projects, often in the form of researched presentations. Prospective international students should be comfortable working with a team and realize that certain project grades may be influenced by the work of their peers.

The Library - this can be a great study space and a place to find academic support. It's also a good resource for borrowing course textbooks for free as well.

Flexibility - U.S. colleges aren't tied to one specific specialization in Freshman year. Students should use this flexibility to spend their freshman year researching subjects of interest or speaking with advisers and professors about potential majors.​

​Extracurricular activities - participating in extracurricular activities is a big part of the U.S. college experience. Joining clubs or sports teams can help students make friends, learn new skills and boost their professional resumes.

On-campus jobs - student job at college is legal and it can help international students improve their English language skills and earn a little money. Prospective students can research on-campus career options before applying and get an idea of availability and requirements at colleges.


The followings are advices given by some U.S. Students who been through their freshman years.

Don’t forget the intangibles

bring your intangibles to college

“Bring good judgment. Having good judgment will help freshmen start off in the right direction.”

“Freshmen should take a blank slate with them to college; a fresh and clean start. If they did poorly in high school or were nerds, college is the time to change all of that. In college, you determine your future.”

“If I could bring one thing to college, it would be maturity. But I suppose that’s what college is all about … living and learning.”

“Patience is absolutely key. You will undoubtedly be faced with a variety of people, classes, rules and requirements over the four years of college that will test your patience, so starting off with a healthy dose is good.”

“Freshmen should bring a plan for the future, and a positive attitude with them to college.”

“The most important thing any incoming freshman should take with them to college is an identity as a strong individual. Having great organizational skills and a weekly to-do list will cut down on the stress.”

“Bring the ability to focus. Focus on your academic and remember why you’re going to college in the first place.”

“A  strong sense of self and an open mind. These two things will keep you optimistic and prepared for the new and exciting journey ahead. You will have a greater confidence and will be able to stay true to yourself in trying situations. These will be the best years of your life, so enjoy every minute of them!”

Choosing and attending Classes

Choosing your courses

“All the good stuff you do academically, you do in your junior and senior years. So, try to do all the crap in your freshman and sophomore year, get it out of the way so you can enjoy your last two years.”

“Learn a language. If you’ve taken a language in high school, take more of the same and become fluent. If not, learn a new language, but think about one your might actually use, Even if you aren’t thinking about a term abroad, pick a language and go for it.”

“Just because some people don’t go to classes and still get A’s doesn’t mean it is ok to skip class. Everyone is different.”

“Morning is the best time to learn, if you begin the class at 10a.m. and end around 1 or 2pm, you still getting your day going at a decent time.”

“Always research the classes that your want to take (and that will satisfy your transfer/major/graduation requirements) a few weeks before registration open up. You will be competing for a seat in a class with the students that have been doing the same thorough research. Research the professors too. Begin registering for classes as soon as the registration time opens up.”

Extra-curricular activities

joining extracurricular activities

“I was involved with the student hotline. The most common call we had by far was what we called the loneliness call. It would be a person on a large campus who felt lonely – a person who doesn’t know how to meet people, who’s away from home the first time.”

“My college has more than 250 student organizations – fraternities and sororities, business clubs, all kinds of ethnic organizations, every religious group. Chances are there has to be a group out there that has your interest.”

“Join a group! That’s the way I made my best friends in college. I like singing a lot. And I knew that I wanted to join an a cappella group while I was in college. So I learned about the groups and the auditions and within two weeks of being on campus, I had a new a cappella family!”

“Joining the soccer team really made me feel like a part of the college. You have a group of people you get to know quickly and you feel like a part of the campus, which is awesome.”

“The Best Clubs to join are the ones that incorporate your major. Many offer scholarships, field trips, invite guest speakers, and can give you a bit of background on what you need to do to succeed. They also provide community service, which is a great experience for anyone. Many of these clubs also connect you with professionals whom you can shadow and get internships with.”

“It’s very easy to over-commit to a lot of these activities because they’re really wonderful and you want to try everything. I thought I wasn’t over-committing since everything I was doing was arts-related – dance and music and theater – but I had no idea what huge time commitments those three things would all be. Things take up much more than they do in high school!”

“Have fun doing anything, and just smile and laugh at least once a day. You’ve got to find ways to have fun and relax every day, or else you’ll go nuts. You can tell the kids that don’t: they just suck at life and are no fun to be around. “