Tips for First-Year Students
Connect with your professors
- Begin establishing relationships with your professors at the beginning of the year by introducing yourself during their office hours.
- Ask questions if you don't understand the material. It's better to ask sooner rather than later so that you don't get behind and become frustrated with the material or course.
Familiarize yourself with services offered on and off campus
- Learn where to go for help and who will be able to answer your questions.
- Several websites direct you to services offered on campus:
- Make a list of some things you may want to get involved with. Remember, your time may be limited because of your school work, so don't stretch yourself too thin.
- There are many academic and non-academic student organizations that you can get involved in. It's a great way to connect with other students with similar interests.
Explore your options
- It's okay to be uncertain about majors or career choices. Maybe you know what major you're interested in but aren't sure what you can do with that major.
- You can always talk to your academic advisor or to professors in your major about your options.
- Two other great resources we have on campus are the Academic and Career Information Center and Career and Employment Services, which can provide support in exploring your options.
- It may be harder to eat right and exercise once you are on campus without someone there to tell you to do it. Start taking responsibility for your healthy behaviors now.
- Figure out your workout schedule and how you will still accomplish that once you have classes, activities, friends, and buffet-style dinners.
- Determine where the campus recreation center is, and don’t be afraid to use it. Bring a friend or a roommate the first time.
- Sleep is very important during college. Getting enough sleep each night improves your ability to manage stress, boosts the immune system, sharpens concentration and memory for studying, and enhances your overall physical and emotional health.
Stay ahead academically
- Staying ahead of the game academically allows you to be more successful in your courses. For example, reading the chapter before class will allow you to better understand what the professor is talking about. It also allows you to engage in the course by answering or asking questions about things you didn't understand in the reading.
- You have to motivate yourself to get your schoolwork done. No one will do it for you or be looking over your shoulder. Find a friend to study with, and keep each other accountable. Study groups are another great way to learn the material.
- If you are having problems in a course or courses, ask your professors questions and get a free tutor through the Academic Assistance Center.
Create a financial plan
- While you can live very simply in college, you will find all of the things your parents paid for in the past now cost money.
- Set up a budget, and manage it closely. The worst thing you can do is think you will slip through college with your credit card or tons of financial aid. Believe it or not, those both have to be paid back and often with high interest rates.
- Plan to sit down with your parents to discuss your budget.
- Cashcourse.org is a resource that gives some financial planning tips. Or you can also try the Student Financial Planning & Counseling Center if you need some additional guidance and support.
Too much stress can affect you academically, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Make sure to find ways to de-stress – work out, journal, talk to someone, etc.