Congratulations! You’ve been accepted into your college or university of choice! You’ve done all the hard work of passing your college entrance exams, filling out your applications, and writing a ton of personalized essays to pique the interests of college advisors, and now you’ve been rewarded with a seat in the next class of first-year college students.
You’ve probably already done some of the preliminary work, such as getting your classes scheduled and getting your moving date—if you’re going to live on campus—but there are a few extra things that you can do now to make your first year the best year of college.
Make a Plan (but, Be Flexible)
Part of making a successful plan is setting a schedule and staying organized. Use a notebook, planner, or your phone’s calendar and note-taking app to set up an easy-to-follow calendar. Use plenty of color-coding to make it easier to get information at a glance. For example, all of your classes can be highlighted orange, and all of your free time can be highlighted purple. Keep your planner or calendar up-to-date to avoid missed or cancelled appointments or activities.
Make sure you pencil in some free time to have fun, relax, or hang out with your new college friends. It can’t all be fun and games, but you should certainly make some room for entertainment as part of your plan.
Another item on your to-do list will be to make sure to communicate. Read all important messages from professors, study partners, and family and friends. Your professors will likely communicate with you via email, so make sure to read and respond with questions to any email communication. Communication is key, even as you work with study or project partners, and your folks will appreciate hearing from you now and again to make sure you’re doing okay.
Read the Course Syllabus
The most basic, and often most important, information about your classes is given in the course syllabus your teacher will either email you ahead of time, or pass out as a handout during the first day of class. If you’re lucky enough to get a course syllabus, read through it carefully while noting any important dates (such as quizzes, projects, and test due dates and requirements). Add important dates from your course syllabus to your calendar, and update this information if there are any changes from your teacher.
Be Prepared for the Weather
If you’re moving away from the familiarity of home, and all of its known meteorological quirks, another item on your to-do list should be to make sure to read up on the climate of your new home away from home so that you will have the appropriate clothes and shoes to get you through tough hot summer days, constantly dripping rain, or heaps upon heaps of hill-like snow.
What are some things you’re planning to add to your to-do list as a first year college student?
Writer: Nicole Acevedo, Teacher Manager at A Grade Ahead