I've only been a college student for three semesters now, but there are three things that I could not be successful without and I wanted to share with you the most useful things I use as each semester begins...
1. Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA
This is a completely free way to get money from the government to help pay for school and there's been talk about making the whole process more simple (which would be a godsend).
As soon as you (or your parents) have filed taxes for the year, fill out the FAFSA forms. The quickest way to do this is at https://fafsa.ed.gov/ and fill out the application online FAFSA forms for federal aid. The sooner you do this, the more likely it is that you will get financial aid from the government. If you are interested in attending a specific school, don't forget to add it to your FAFSA application so the school can get your financial aid information.
Remember that you will need your social security number, so make sure its handy if you don't already have it memorized.
2. Speak with your advisor
Even if you know what degree you are want, it is a good idea to talk with your advisor at the start of each semester. Ask for their advice on classes that will work well taken together or what order they suggest you take classes in. Oftentimes your advisor will be able to provide helpful tips and plans for scheduling that will help ease the stress of college life.
3. Get a planner (and use it)
If you do nothing else I've suggested, do this. Buy yourself a planner that has monthly, weekly, and daily options to keep track of class times, important due dates, schedule time to study and STICK TO IT, and most importantly give yourself time to relax.
With all you are taking on at school, you need to give your mind and body time to regroup so that you are well-rested and ready for the challenges life throws your way. Spend an afternoon outside, ride your bike or take a walk; if it's raining outside, curl up in a chair with your favorite author; or take a few hours to spend with your friends catching up.
Trust me, your sanity will thank me for the few minutes you give it to relax.