Tips for any freshman starting college
1. Buy a daily planner- even if you didn’t use one in high school and succeeded. I never used one until college, but it helps A LOT. I prefer daily/hourly so I can schedule appointments and time to do homework.
2. Get an alarm clock. You can use your phone, but if you’re someone like me who sleeps through the phone alarm, a clock is the way to go. Attendance directly affects your grade in some classes so make sure you can wake up.
3. Track your grades like stocks. I use sticky notes, but writing them on paper works fine too. Each time an assignment grade is entered, write down your new course grade and record how many percentage points it has increase or decreased from previously. This makes you very aware
4. Don’t leave your computer or personal belongings unguarded out in the open in the library or anywhere else... bad idea.
5. If you can, before the semester starts visit all your class locations. Make sure you are aware of how long it takes to walk from each class to the next. Plan when you will eat lunch each day- plan a routine... you can always be flexible but at least have a plan going in.
6. Bring a jacket to class. You’ll learn which rooms are cold and which are hot, but until you know it’s best to be prepared for freezing A.C.
7. IMPORTANT: When there is a break in class or before class when everyone is arriving, try to actually talk to people. Phones are socially killing us- everyone just stares at the screen. Instead, ask someone how their weekend was or how they are today.
8. Similar to #7; don’t walk around campus with earbuds in. In is socially isolating. Wave at people you know, smile, and be aware that kids on bikes will be zooming past you and almost knocking you over.
9. An extension of #8; if you do ride a bike on campus (good option, really) don’t be obnoxious and please ride slowly.
10. Push yourself to get involved. This is a very challenging item to accomplish if you are introverted, but it will pay off. I recommend getting in three organizations minimum- One related to professional goals (e.g. business) one for a hobby, and one that does community service
11. Stay open to other political views. College is a great place to find people who agree with you, but if you’re not careful you’ll get stuck in an echo chamber (aka filter bubble). Yes, college is diverse but diversity only works when you leverage inclusivity in tandem with it.
12. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.Some staff will not be very helpful; others will bend over backwards and walk on top of broken glass for you.Find out who you can go to for help, weather they are assigned to you in an official capacity or not. Utilize them, they like it
13. Begin studying for exams approximately a week in advance.This isn’t high school. Think about AP Exams- how much time did you spend preparing for those? If not you, how much time did that one nerdy friend of yours spend studying? Now that’s more like it...
14. Get a LinkedIn account. Everyone needs one. Period. Polish it up, rockstar.
15. Prepare to schedule for classes ahead of time. Classes fill up faster than TVs fly off of the shelves on Black Friday, so have all your courses picked out before your time to register opens.Pro tip: Have the course #s in a Word doc and then copy and paste them when you add
16. Create relationships with your professors. They see hundred of kids a week sometimes so this can be difficult- sit in the front, ask questions, introduce yourself the first day before class, go to office hours if you can make it. Email them about content... stand out!
17. Things to keep in your car if you commute:
-change to pay parking meters
-pens and paper
Be careful where you park... you will get ridiculous fines (first hand experience )
Continue to seek outside scholarships throughout college attendance.
Make a spreadsheet of scholarships or use an online web tool to find which ones you’re qualified for. APPLY APPLY APPLY
19. Apply for Internships starting in January - March after your fall semester. You will have a GPA by then and hopefully some relevant coursework.Again, make a spreadsheet of internships- track which ones you’ve sent your resume, cover letter, etc. too and if you hear back.
20. DO NOT save all your homework for the end of the day.In high school we were used to doing 7 hours of class time, then a break for sports or band or what have you... then going home and doing all HW at the end of the evening.No more! Do your homework b/w classes and ASAP!
21. Keep a To Do list. Organize it however you want, online or paper. It will help you stay focused.I use paper, organize it by class first and then date. The cool thing is you can then pick items off your list, estimate time to complete them, and schedule them in your planner
22. Always allow for extra time between walking to classes if you can.If not, it’s okay- sometimes you schedule classes back to back and it happens. Be sure to let your professor know and some of them will be understanding and lenient about you arriving a tad later (5-10 mins)
23. Perform with consistently high quality academically on assignments and assessments.Unlike HS where sometimes 6+ unit tests exist and HW is graded daily, college classes often have very few opportunities. This makes it harder to raise your grades if you start off rough.That’s all for tonight, might add more tomorrow. I don’t live on campus so any residential students please feel free to chime in.
24. Before your finals, make a chart showing what grade you need to get in each class on your project/exam to get an A, B, or C. You can google how to do the math and use a weighted grade calculator.Decide what grades you’re okay with and then study most for the urgent classes.
25. Buy a small notebook & take notes on everything!Going to a meeting with your academic advisor- take notes. Meeting with the bursar’s office about tuition- take notes.You will have so much going on! Make your life easier by being able to flip back to the info you forget.
26. Find a place you like to do homework at. Could be outside, in the student center, in the library, your dorm- etc.Make sure it’s somewhere you can focus and get things done- away from distractions. Make it your “go-to” area when your workload gets heavy.
27. When you go to study for exams, make a study plan. A lot of profs won’t give you study guides, so you need to break your studying down into manageable work items.A great way to do this is break down the exam down by units, chapters, topics, etc.
28. If you know well in advance you will need a study room to meet up for a team project, book the room ASAP, weeks ahead. This is especially crucial during finals weeks!
28. Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor aprx. 4 weeks before you actually need to meet with them.Try to Make the appointment date 2-3 weeks out from your scheduling time slot.If you wait and try to book an appointment < 3 weeks out, there will be no openings.
29. Open your emails. Organize your emails. Learn to email. Send thank you emails. Respond to emails. etc.
Email is easy to get behind on, but there are many opportunities the university sends via email. If you don’t read them, you won’t know about them.
30. Read the school newspaper. Some publish weekly, some daily, some monthly.Read them, or at least scan the headlines of them, to get a better understanding of what changes and events are taking place on your campus.
Knowledge is power!
31. Find out how to access the University library’s database tools (e.g. EBSCO host). Learn how to search it using Boolean logic (similar to Google search). This is a LIFESAVER for research essays, etc.
32. Eat as healthy as you can. I always have trouble finding time to eat- make sure you make time! Your body and mind will feel much better if you supply it with the correct nutrients.
33. GET SLEEP! I’m the worst for this... yes there will be night when you don’t get sleep at all, or only get a few hours, but really push yourself to get 6-8 hours a night. And before an exam, get at least 3 if you can manage.
Thats all folks.Thanks for Eading
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