Skip to main content
student walking on campus
Raise your hand if you learned things the hard way in college!
posted in: Lifestyle
by Christy McFarland

What I wish I knew before college

Do you ever look back on your college days and think of something you wish you knew before you got there?

Now you’re a parent, tasked with arming your kids with all of the knowledge they’ll need to succeed… no pressure! We want to help you out, so we asked recent college grads what they wish they knew before going to college.

Here’s what they said.

“I wish someone encouraged me to take advantage of the unique opportunities. Network, join clubs, travel. I missed a lot because I stayed in my comfort zone too often. If I could go back, I would join one club that was something totally new, one that was professionally beneficial, and one that was something I loved to do for fun.”

“I wish someone told me how fast college goes by.”

“I wish someone told me I did not need multiple credit cards in college. Every turn you take in college, it seems like someone is trying to get you to sign up for a credit card in exchange for a free tee shirt. While we’re on the topic, I wish someone explained the concept of building up credit while in college. Use your one credit card sparingly and pay it off right away to start upping your score.”

“I wish I realized how important regular car maintenance was. Unfortunately, I was burned one too many times with preventative car repairs.”

"I didn’t realize how much down time you have in college. I wish I managed my time a little better. College is a great place to start developing your time management skills, preparing you for the “real world” someday.”

“I wish I knew you didn’t have to have a specific career in mind for your major. You also don’t have to stick with the same major if you decide your original choice is not for you. I felt like at 18, I had to know exactly what to do with my future. Now I know from experience, your future changes over time.”

“This is embarrassing, but I wish I knew how to do laundry before going off to college.”

“I wish I would have done an internship. It's a great way to build your resume and will help you be more competitive amongst your peers when you graduate.”

“One thing I wish I knew before college was the impact of repaying student loans after graduation. As a high school student, I had no concept of the cost of education from a private university. I only applied for minimal scholarships. I didn't fully understand until post-gradation when my first loan payment came due. I'll be making those monthly payments for many more years. Every time I hand that money over, I think about everything else I could be using that money for.”

“Where do I begin? I wish I knew how to change a tire. I wish I knew how to cook before college. I wish I had better money management skills. I wish I knew how important balance was for a
healthy lifestyle.”

“I wish I knew getting straight A’s is not as important as it was in high school. What's more important is making good connections and forming relationships with professors, advisors, internship contacts and volunteer contacts that translated into job opportunities when I

“If I went back and did it all over again, I would have taken a “gap year” to travel. That might have led me to picking a different major, and possibly even going to a different school – maybe even out of state.”

“I wish I knew how hard college can be. I figured out pretty quickly you actually have to study in college. It’s so much harder than high school.”

What do you wish you knew before heading off to college? Tell us in the comments!

What are your goals?

We're here to help you with your goals - one step at a time.

Start a quote today!

Rather talk to a real person?

Call us at 866-COUNTRY

Find a COUNTRY representative