I was a tour guide in undergrad, and a resident adviser, so my advice was always a bit more student centered than the professional advice "grown ups" would give.
Usually, I ended every tour by saying something to the effect of:
I've just spent an hour and a half showing you the campus of my favorite school in the world, but if its not for you, that's OK. I promise I'm not offended. What I hope that everyone does when they get to school, is take the opportunity to get involved.
No one will come looking for you, in college it's up to YOU to get involved.
Pick some clubs to join, if for no other reason than meeting people and having something to do. You might even learn something new and now you can.
Leave your door open in your residence hall; it's one of the best ways to meet people and show you're open for new friendships.
Better yet, walk into open doors you see on your hall, everyone is just as scared as you are and will be excited to make new friends!
Talk to your professors, they are great resources.
Just DO SOMETHING, it will go a long way to help you find your place in school.
My other advice comes from things I've observed of my friends:
1. Don't go home every weekend. This is tempting, especially if you live close, or you have a significant other at home, but you will make absolutely no friends this way, and you will be miserable, and want to go home. Force yourself to stick around campus as much as you can, you will be glad you did.
2. One of the biggest causes of roommate conflicts is a failure to communicate, especially at the beginning of the year. If you don't start early, it just gets harder and harder. I used to make all my residents complete a roommate contract discussing their expectations of each other involving guests, cleanliness, alarm clocks (trust me, this is a big one) etc. It may seem silly, but it will come in handy later!
3. Your best friends from high school DO NOT MAKE GOOD ROOMMATES. I'm serious about this one. Some of the biggest conflicts I've seen is people in high school who think their HS BFF will make a perfect freshman year roommate, but people change in college, grow apart, and need to be able to do that. They also probably have a lot of weird living habits you don't know about yet.
Often times this can lead to higher expectations, deeper-seeded conflict, hurt feelings, and even loss of a friend. Then you can't talk to your HS BFF about it later. Living with a friend is much different than hanging with them. I would actually suggest trying to spend some time away from your high school friends, start with a clean slate for a roommate. Worst that happens you never talk to that roommate again, but it's the only way to gain the new perspective that college is all about.
4. Don't spend your entire college experience in the library and/or isolated with a significant other and/or in a major you hate. This actually comes from my mom, who did this, and hated her college experience and begged me not to attend her school. Turns out I did attend the same college and LOVED it, because I got involved.
5. You will probably not end college doing the same thing you think you will do when you start. This is more than likely because when you start college, all you really know is law, medicine, and business, but there are so many more great options, so don't be afraid to explore them and to change your mind!
6. YOUR RA IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU. Seriously, we're students too, and writing you up just means hours of unwanted paperwork for us on a Saturday night. We hate doing it. But we will if we have to, because it's our job, and because we want you to be safe. Conversely, 99% of the time you're not getting away with something because your RA has no idea you're doing it; we've been around the block and we're smarter than you think we are. We're just also cooler than you think we are, and we want you to think so too.
RAs become RAs because they want to help and are often times pretty cool people selected for their people skills. These are great people to have in your lives.
One of the best ways to learn about college is to experience it, talk to people who are currently there and see what they think. It's the most remarkable four years of your life, and you'll never get it back.More questions on the College and University Experience: