It is a few weeks before college begins and big box stores are advertising special sales on everything from dormitory décor to your own personal technology geek. Students have registered for classes, attended orientations, and arranged financing for the semester. Parents are prepared to send their sons and daughters across the country or across town to embark upon one of the greatest opportunities afforded people in the United States…a college education. Often, the tendency is to focus on preparing to go to college and not preparing to start college. The result is an overwhelmed student. Consider these tips for starting the first week of the semester.
Learn the lay-of-the-land as quickly as possible
Grab your schedule and hit the campus to find classrooms, important offices, and services.
Access syllabi and book requirements online prior to the start of classes
The major difference between high school and college is the location of responsibility. College professors expect initiative and preparation from students. Check department and bookstore webpages for syllabus information.
Behave like classes have started.
The age-old myth that nothing happens in class on the first few days is indeed a myth. Many professors will lecture the first day and give assignments.
Learn the college attendance policy.
Some schools have mandatory first class attendance and “no show” policies. Students financial aid may be jeopardized if a professor reports non-attendance.
Access the student portal to confirm financial aid, payment information, and class schedule.
Portals are secure locations on the college website which allow students to access their academic records, financial aid, learning resources, and email. Many times this is the only communication mechanism the school will use. Colleges expect students to look for information.
Develop your study schedule
The majority of college learning happens outside the classroom. Schedule enough time to get the work done.
Obtain access to the wireless network
Most schools limit wireless access to students or faculty and require special configuration. You may need to contact the college’s IT department for help.
Be aware of add/drop deadlines
Once classes begin, students have a limited time to make adjustments to their schedule. This period is called “add/drop”.
Plan to attend at least one social event during the first week.
This is a great way to build your network, make friends, and have fun.