How to Make Your First Year Worthwhile



Do not skip class

Freshmen tend to skip class more often than do upper-level students. Students who have been around the University for several semesters, however, have learned that class attendance is necessary for success. If you are not attending class, you will have to teach the material to yourself, something that is not very easy to do in many college courses.

Get organized

Use the planner that you received at summer orientation. You will need to write down your test dates, dates when assignments are due and other important dates. Check your planner frequently, make ´to do´ lists, and do not procrastinate.

Develop a daily routine

Set aside specific times of the day for study. To do well academically, most students need to devote twenty or more hours per week to out-of-class studying.


Get enough rest

Many first year students find themselves sleep deprived. Lack of sleep can lead to a number of unfortunate consequences such as missing morning classes, being unable to concentrate while studying, and not being able to pay attention in class.


Keep up with the required readings

Putting off required textbook reading is very common among first year college students. Procrastination usually results in having to learn a huge amount of information in a small amount of time. The night before a test is not the time to catch up on reading.

Do not let your interest in the course affect your grade in the course

All college students, from the Middle Ages until today, have had to take courses they found less than interesting. The bottom line is, however, that all college students will receive a grade at the end of the term. Grades remain on students´ transcripts forever and have long-term consequences. The mark of mature college students is that they do not let their opinions of the courses, course structures, or the instructors affect their performance. They study hard, learn the material, and do not make excuses for poor performance.

Study for problem solving classes every day

Problem-solving classes (mathematics, some sciences, economics, engineering, etc.) require daily study in the form of practice problems and homework assignments. Just because an instructor does not collect or grade homework does not mean it can be ignored.


Get to know your instructors

Instructors are usually very willing to help motivated students who take an interest in the course.


Learn to limit social activities

You cannot ´go out´ every night and expect to make good grades. Students can still have fun, but you will need to learn to limit your social activities to a few days per week.


Learn how to manage your money

College students are faced with financial responsibilities that they did not have when they lived at home with their parents. Keep up with how much money you have and use credit cards wisely. Make sure that you pay your bills on time.


Talk to your parents frequently

Keep the lines of communication open. Let your parents know how you are adjusting to living on your own and how you are doing in your classes. Let them know if you are experiencing problems.

Seek out help if you need it

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Talk to your instructor, go to see an advisor, your mentor, seek out a tutor, and attend help sessions. You will be glad you did when grades are posted at the end of the semester.