6 Little Known Secrets College Freshmen Should Know
Step #1: Building Useful Connections
Not everyone is the best at making friends. If you are one of those people, it is best to take advantage of the team building activities you experience on your first few days on campus. Most freshmen want friends and would be happy if you spoke to them on a regular basis. Joining a club or organization could also help you find people who share the same interests as you. However, I would recommend placing more focus on your studies the first semester. Introductions on the first day of class is not something to look forward to. Usually in college you are asked to mention your name, your major, and a fun fact about yourself, so always be aware of these three questions. Sometimes it is hard to think of something fun about yourself, so I just mentioned that I have a dog. Simple enough, right? Sometimes if your response is random and off the wall you may get a laugh or two. One more point to keep in mind is to build a relationship with you professors and other authoritative figures. The more they see your face, the more they see you are genuinely interested. Taking advantage of your teacher or professor’s office hours is one of the smartest things you could do as a student. I say this because you have their full attention. It is much better to be viewed as an individual rather than a group.
Step #2: It’s Crunch time: What times should I take my classes? Will I like my professor?
College freshmen often come in with the mindset that they should take 8 a.m. classes, but this is often a mistake. If you are a morning person and have no problem getting out of bed, then disregard my last statement. Classes starting at 8 a.m. in college for most students are killers. The reason so many students dread having them is because of the horrible sleep schedule you develop when you are up countless hours completing homework. The obvious solution to problem is to do your homework earlier than the night before, but it is hard not to procrastinate. The ideal time to schedule your first class is after 10 o’clock. Hopefully this will allow you to get more sleep. Unfortunately, classes fill up so quickly not every student has the chance to pick classes after 10. Classes beginning at 8 a.m. are usually what is left if you choose to wait before you register. Your advisor will help lead you through the process of registering for your first semester, but you can always change them before the drop date approaches. Late classes can also be killers. By the end of the day you are tired and may want to take a nap, but you will not be able to enjoy it because you have to get up for your last class. Sadly, you have to choose either early or late classes. By late, I mean any classes after 2:30. Another tip college students find helpful is the use of an app called Rate My Professors. This app allows students to find their professor and observe how previous students felt about them. It is very helpful when trying to adjust your learning style to a particular professor. Previous students leave comments about how the class is structured, how many quizzes and tests you will take, and whether or not you will use textbooks. I use this app often because I like to know what I am getting myself into.
Step #3: Your First Day: Tips on Clothing and In-Class Etiquette.
ALWAYS ATTEND THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS. If you do not attend class on the first day your professor can drop you from the class. If this happens you will have to sign up again. There are sometimes people on the wait list for classes and your spot will be taken in the blink of an eye. It is also smart to find your classes the day before they actually start to prevent getting lost. On another note, dressing up is not everyone’s forte, but you should dress to impress on your first day. This does not mean you have to put on your Sunday’s best. Casual clothing can be worn and leave a nice impression as well. As the semester progresses and you get lazy, it is okay to dress down and wear comfortable clothing. Keep in mind that the first impression you make on people is what they will always remember. Arrive to class early. Sitting in the front of the classroom is always a nice tip to be aware of in college as well. This shows your professors you are genuinely interested. Along with sitting in the front, engage in conversation with your professors. They love it! You do not want to be known as the quiet one. Likewise, in your lecture classes your professor will not recognize you if you sit in the back of the auditorium. You are just one among the hundreds of people in the class. Establish strong connections because some professors want you to ask questions and are quick to lend a helping hand to those who show effort.
Step #4: Examining Your Syllabus and Purchasing Books.
College textbooks are very expensive. You want to purchase the least number of books as possible. Some professors will require you to purchase books you may only open once, but that is the college life. Attending your classes on the first day will sometimes let you know what books you will definitely have to purchase. Professors will also hand out the course syllabus. These sheets of paper are very important. They contain coursework deadlines, class expectations, and more. Some classes will require you to take syllabus quizzes, so be sure to read it carefully. Not every professor will tell you when assignments are due. Paying close attention to your course calendar will keep you updated on due dates.
Step #5: Stay Aware of Your Drop Dates.
Drop dates are very important to be aware of. The first drop date of the semester is the last day you can drop and add classes to your schedule. Dropping a class after this date will result in a “W”, withdraw, for the course. You will not get credit for the course, but it will not harm your grade point average. Paying close attention to the number of drops you use is important because it is very limited. The second drop date is the last day you can drop classes with a “W”. After this date, you will not be able to drop any classes you have. Decide whether or not you want to continue with the class before this date approaches.
Step #6: Stimulating Your College Experience.
After your first semester you should be familiar with the college life. At this point, it is time to branch out and get involved. Applications will begin to open and opportunities to join a variety of organizations will quickly open. Finding something that fits your personality is the best advice I can give you. It is not wrong to send in a bunch of applications, but do not accept them all. There is a such thing as being too involved. You can easily overwhelm yourself and be stuck facing deadline after deadline, meeting after meeting. Enhancing your college life with extracurricular activities is a way to begin building your resume and have fun! No one ever said college had to be all work and no fun.
Taking these steps in to consideration will contribute to your success as a first year college student. Take into account everything mentioned above, and be open to change. College is one of the best times you will ever experience in your life! Make the best of it.