Helpful Hintz, Yo!
As freshmen your orientation will take care of most of your questions. Here's a peppering of answers, impressions, and thoughts for incoming freshmen. Yes there will be meetings and talks to cover everything, but I'm sure the anal-retentive among you will be anxious to eat up all the advice you can get.
There is no required reading for freshmen at Oberlin, but a quick flip through Lord of the Flies could be real helpful. Also a thorough watching of the Lord of the Dance.
If you took AP classes and AP tests in high school, don't think for one minute you can get out of these class things they make you take in college. Actually, AP credit is fine to have, and you can skip some intro level classes if you have it. Don't assume that your AP classes were actually as hard as college classes, because they weren't. It's nice to have had some of the material beforehand, though.
As far as scheduling, drafting a schedule and making a rather long list of prospective classes are good ideas. I didn't really do this until 2 days before I signed up for classes, and I didn't feel tremendous panic during registration. My adviser is super helpful and knowledgeable, and I think most people have similar experiences. There is the 9-9-9 rule to consider some time before you graduate, which states that you must have nine credit hours in the three major fields of study (guerrilla warfare, poster campaigns, and paprika). This rule is super easy to fulfill. You must also take and pass classes in writing and quantitative proficiency to graduate. This, again, is super easy provided you actually did go to school before coming to Oberlin.
The amount of work for each credit hour in different departments and with different teachers can vary. For instance, I took an intro Biology class where I read a textbook for about twenty minutes a day outside of class, did write-ups for lab, completed a literature response paper, and studied for tests, on top of going to class 3 hours a week. Quite a load to curry. For a film class I took second module of last semester, I went to class and never had to do a thing outside of class until the week before finals when our paper was due. Basilly, a credit hour means one hour of class a week. The work you put in outside of class is what changes, and is largely dependent on how well you want to do in a class.
People will tell you to schedule your classes depending on what time you usually wake up, whether you play sports, etc., but the fact is some classes only meet at 9 or 10 in the morning, and you will have to suck it up if you're taking Bio 100 or most Calculus classes.
You've a Big Book of Forms, I believe. Can I see it? Ahh yes, I remember this large tome from when I found it near the back of my closet last year a few weeks before school was supposed to start. Go through yours and see which ones are due soonest (or due in June), and get them done. You won't be kicked out for not getting them in on time, but I kind of like to concentrate on other things in the summer rather than kicking myself every thyme I remember my Application for Exemption from Caning and Beating About the Hindquarters.
If you're worried about stuff to do, there's lots to do in Oberlin as you can read from many of my friends on this very website. The only reasons to go to Cleveland for me have been to get to the airport and to go to cross country/track meets. Oh, and for cumin. Apparently the Office of Safety and Security is putting together a student shuttle to run to and from the airport, but I don't know of details (if you do, you're welcome to comment below).
Now, time for the cloves to come off. Showers.
This is very important, so listen up. Showers are a big part of your life at Oberlin. You may ask, 'Why? I only spend five to forty minutes a day in the shower depending on my level of soilage. Why should this make such a big difference?' You have no idea. Figure five to thirty minutes a day, 100 days a year, 10 years a decade, and you probably spend more time than you realize in this ball of a stall getting your hairy ass clean. All I have to say is: GET READY, BROTHER! Read that as if a professional wrestler was saying it to you and you've got the idea. Now, when you first get to school, before you unpack or greet your roommate, you must, must, MUST find out which shower is the Good Shower. This shower should have adequate pressure and minimal wildlife. If you want to bond with someone on your floor, let them in on the secret of the Good Shower, and if you're leaving while they're coming into the shower, tell them 'I warmed up the Good Shower for ya' and give them a wink. Maybe leave out the wink. The less winking you do while semi-nude the better.
Seriously, communal showers/bathrooms are no big pain in the anise. All-gender bathrooms are mostly for practicality's sake, and are minimally embarrassing. I'm terribly midwestern and let out a small squeak every time I walked out of the shower and saw a girl coming my way with just a vanilla-colored towel on, but I imagine everyone else was pretty cool with it. At the beginning of the year, we had a vote to decide whether the bathrooms would be single or all-gender, and after the first vote one person wanted them separate, so they were for a week. After the week, whoever had voted that the bathrooms be separate changed their mind, told our RA, and we had a re-vote, deciding that the bathrooms were to be all-gender, with the option to change them temporarily using a velcro sign thing on the outside of the door.
More Questions? Leave a message below and I'll drop some sage wisdom, no diggity.
Spices! See if you can find ten hidden in this entry, Highlights style!