My first year of college has just ended, and although it’s summer, I’m already thinking about school again! I came into college not knowing how the heck to prepare for the first semester. I didn’t know what school supplies I needed, how to order textbooks, nothing! Now that I have one year under my belt I think I’ve pretty much figured out the system. Here are some tips to start your semester off right so you are on the road to success for a great year!
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Before Semester Starts
Build a Great Schedule
One of the easiest things you can do to start your semester off right is building an awesome schedule that fits your needs. My top suggestion would be trying to put all your classes around the same time so you can knock them out all at once and have the rest of the day to yourself. Last semester my Tuesdays and Thursdays were over at 11 AM. I had the rest of my day free to do whatever I wanted! Some people put all their classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays so their MWF classes are free. Figure out what supports your needs so you can build a schedule that works with your life.
Check out my How To Build Your College Schedule Like a Boss post if you want more tips on making a schedule!
Research Your Professors
When you’re building your schedule, it’s always a good idea to search your professors on ratemyprofessor.com. Sure, you may get the class you’re wanting, but if it’s with a low rated professor with not many good reviews, you might not get the grade you want. I always like to look for the great professors first, and then look at class times second. Maybe I won’t get a class at the time I wanted, but at least I know I’ll have a good professor that can support and help me if I have questions.
Textbooks can be insanely expensive, and sometimes hard to come by if you’re taking a very sought after course. (I’m a Journalism major and have been trying to get into a Social Media course the last few semesters but it keeps filling up!). You’ll need books for your classes, and why wait until the last minute to order them? I suggest ordering your textbooks a week or two before the class just so you can make sure they don’t go out of stock. If you’re feeling really gutsy, you can wait until classes start to figure out how often you’ll use the books they say are “required”. I’ve taken plenty of classes where I’ve bought the books and never even opened them! Don’t be afraid to ask your professor about the textbook list to see exactly how much time you’ll be using them.
Want to save loads of money on textbooks? Sign up for FREE Amazon Student Prime Trial for loads of great deals on textbooks, FREE two-day shipping and unlimited access to Free Kindle Books and Streaming to TV Shows and Movies! This is great if you can’t afford Netflix. (Netflix is cheap, but seriously, one of my roommates was so broke the first semester she lost access to her Netflix account. RIP. So this is a great free alternative!)
I’m ordering my textbooks from them this semester and they are SO much cheaper than my college’s Campus Bookstore!
I always always set goals for myself at the beginning of each semester. Why? Setting goals pushes me to improve in all aspects of my life. My first year of college I stayed on the Dean’s List both semesters. One of my goals is to achieve that again my sophomore year! I also thought I stayed in way too much my freshman year. While everyone was out having fun on holidays and weekends I spent my time studying. Yes, I want to maintain good grades, but I also want to live life a little bit and have fun! Push yourself to achieve your dreams. You won’t regret it!
Find All Your Classes
Looking for your classes on the first day can turn into a huge nightmare if you aren’t familiar with your college campus. I love walking around before the first day just so I can pinpoint where all my classes are so I don’t get lost! I also like to make note of how long it takes me to get to each one so I can plan my departure time accordingly.
During The Semester
Connect with Classmates
Everyone is looking for a few friends on the first day, so don’t be afraid to say hello! I made some great friends through my classes that have really helped my whole entire college experience! I had classmates who went from study buddies to extremely close friends that I hung out with religiously.
Get organized! Planners are your best friend and can help you organize your work load for the next weeks and months of school. Write down all your due dates, tests, work schedule, or other important activities so you don’t get swarmed with responsibility all at once! Buy a few folders and some binders to keep your class work together so you don’t lose it, and make sure to put all your papers back where they belong! I would lose so many important documents just because I accidently put them in the wrong folder!
Find a Great Study Spot
Sure, you can study in your room, I did that a lot my freshman year, but I found myself getting very distracted doing so. Set out and explore your campus/town for great study spots! I personally had a small corner in the library I was fond of. It was out of the way where not a lot of people passed by, and I had a lot of room to spread out my stuff. I also hate complete silence when I study, and the area I was in had some background noise which was nice. Try finding a new study spot every single semester so you can get familiar with your campus.
Read your Syllabus
Your syllabus is one of the most important tools you will get when you start a new class. Cherish it. Praise it. NEVER LET IT LEAVE YOUR SIDE. That piece of paper (or digital file) is going to hold some of the most important information you may even come in contact with the whole semester. I’m talking due dates, test dates, EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITIES (always do the extra credit, we love extra credit, extra credit saves grades!!!)
Read my post on How To Effectively Use Your College Syllabus if you’d like more information on how to make the most out of it!
Get involved! Most colleges hold a Club Fair event where they advertise all of their clubs and groups around campus. Stop by and see if anything peaks your interest! There is usually a wide variety to pick from (my college has almost a thousand clubs!). If anything you’ll get some free stuff out of it if you decide not to join anything. If you do join a few, make sure you have enough time for them all! You don’t want to over-commit and have your grades suffer because you’re committing to too many clubs.
What do you do to start your college semester off right? Leave a comment below!