It’s that time of year which means that everyone has gone back to school or will be returning shortly. As a college senior I have built a plan I have found works for preparing to go back to school. It’s sad to think this is my final year, but that means I can share my best tips with all of you who still have a few years of college left!
Here grades K-12 have been in school two weeks and those in college are on their second week. Last Tuesday was my first day of school. It’s hard to believe that in January I will have my last first day of school. I’ve been in college since August 2011 when I enrolled at the local community college to take dual credit classes my senior year. Over the years I have become a college guru. Friends and coworkers often come to me with college related questions. Today I will share a few of my biggest tips with you.
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TEN TIPS FOR NEW STUDENTS
- ALWAYS come prepared on the first day of class. This means arriving to class at least 15 minutes early in case of last minute class room changes and having a printed version of the syllabus.
- CHOOSE your seat wisely. During your first week of class you want to pick the best seat for you. Whether that seat is on the front row, to the side or in the back, choose what is best for you. I prefer to sit the front row because I am closer to the professor and less likely to become distracted. There are a few classes where I sat in the back row, but that was usually because the teacher turned off the lights in the front row or because there are outlets in the back of the room.
- PLAN ahead. If you are new to school or campus then it is really important to learn the layout before the first day of classes. You can usually get a map of campus from your school office or find it online. On your class list you should find all the important information you need like what building and what room your class is in. After your first semester it becomes easier to pick classes that are closer together so you don’t spend the 10-15 minutes between class trying to run across campus.
- TEXTBOOKS are the trickiest part of school. There are four types of textbooks, new, used, rented or virtual. Once you decide on which ones will work best for you, then you can move on to getting them. I have had all of these throughout my college years and I don’t really have a preference. I don’t recommend buying new textbooks unless it has a required code for online access which many classes need, especially foreign language or science classes. BONUS TIP: Sometimes it is cheaper to buy a used textbook and pay the company directly for the code to access the online portal for your class.
- COMPARE prices. You don’t always have to buy from the campus bookstore. Sometimes you can get books online or from another local store. I use a site called slugbooks.com to compare prices for the textbooks I need. All you need is the ISBN number for the textbook.
- BUY a planner. It may seem easier to just write homework in your binder or notebook or to set a reminder on your phone, but you are more likely to forget an assignment when it isn’t in one place. It doesn’t have to be expensive or bulky, but it doesn’t need to have enough space to write assignments and a weekly format is best.
- TAKE notes. College is expensive and you’re paying to be there. Taking notes is important because it’s impossible to remember everything a professor says when you’re taking four or five different classes. The more detailed notes you take, the better you’ll do on the tests and quizzes.
- DON’T be afraid to speak with your professors. Office hours are there for a reason. Take the time to ask questions about assignments or to discuss how you’re doing in the class. Teachers are often more willing to help students who make the effort from the beginning of the semester not just after the midterm grades come out.
- LEARN all you can. College is a privilege that not everyone gets. While you may dislike the general education requirements, remember that those classes are the foundation for you to build upon.
- EXPERIENCE different things. Eat at different restaurants, on and off campus. Visit different clubs and events. Take different classes. College is an experience that you only get once. You don’t want to get to your senior year feeling like all you did was study and go to class. It’s okay to have fun and be a studious student.