One of the most important things to do as early as you can is to try to develop a focus for your education, so that you can take advantage of classes and courses and other activities which will allow you to maintain an effective and efficient route towards an appropriate career area. Too many people miss this step and end up at graduation either with an inappropriate career major ( found out only after being on the wrong job) or courses that were neglected or ignored or not realized as being important and thus creating a problematic for the attainment of a desired position or career and possibly adding educational expense and delaying graduation.
Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .
Ken recommends the following next steps:
Congrats on starting college soon. The biggest tip to not only enjoy going to college but also succeed is to find your personal work-life balance quickly. The main goal to higher education is to learn. That is not to say that college won't be some of the most fun years you'll experience, because they are for many people including myself.
In terms of academic life you should meet with your student guidance counselor and other people you trust to make sure you're taking the right classes to meet your personal plan. For many freshman the classes you'll be taking will be picked out for you by your Major which is great to follow their recommendations. High school classes are not the same as college classes. The professors in college will teach but also most of them have other job responsibilities and research to do for the university, labs to run, journals articles to publish. So in college it in on the student's responsibility to ensure they're learning the material and doing well in the classes. Many professors will hold office hours or have TA's (teaching assistants) to help the students that come to them. So stay on top of the work and be honest with yourself. If you need help with the course material use all the resources you have, professor office hours, other students study groups, etc. to earn a good grade and master the subject content.
In terms of the life side balance of work-life, have fun! You'll find that classes can be stressful and challenging so it's just as important to enjoy the college experience and it'll help you stay engaged in your schoolwork as well. Most if not all colleges have clubs/activities/student centers. These are great ways to meet future friends, learn new things, and many of them can round out a student's future resume. If you're living on campus your freshman year you'll most likely have a Resident adviser who will live in your dorms with you. This person is an upper classman who's trusted to be a resource for incoming freshmen like yourself with any questions you may have. Many freshmen keep their dorm rooms open when they're there and go to the dining halls in big groups together. This quickly creates a sense of community in your home away from home.
So work hard and play hard. But work hard first :)
And remember that mistakes are ok and learn from any mistakes. You're beginning your journey into becoming a independent adult and it's expected to challenge you to grow.
The previous answers definitely have some valid points and I will just add one more thing on to those.
Knowing your PRIORITIES is one of the most important things I've learned throughout college. It will be a little overwhelming at the beginning with all your school work and extra curricular activities. However, as long as you know what's the most important and valuable to you, I'm sure you are able to make the best decision of priorities. There are definitely things that you might have to give up because there are only 24 hours in one day, but just pick things that you want the most, and never leave regrets!
Best of luck in college!