What tips will help students succeed their first semester?

College Experience

Our counselors answered:

What tips will help students succeed their first semester?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What tips will help students succeed their first semester?

Going to class, completing all necessary work accurately & on time, and budgeting your time for plenty of hrs for studies. Group studies and group cramming for exams can also be helpful.

Sarah Contomichalos
Manager Educational Advisory Services, LLC

What tips will help students succeed their first semester?

Good time management skills and motivation are crucial to succeeding the first semester. College is very different from high school. Your professor will not chase you for your assignment. Most colleges students are in class only a few hours a day with the bulk of the work to be completed on their own. Join a study group to help you stay motivated and organized. I also recommend joining a club or activity which will give the student a sense of belonging and integrating into the college community.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

What tips will help students succeed their first semester?

Staying organized will benefit you in the long run. Get good at using a calendar and putting all assignments/deadlines in one place. If you can look ahead and plan accordingly, there should be no need for last minute all nighters (which are never as good an idea as they may seem). Also take advantage of on campus resource centers. Whether it's a writing center, tutoring services, group study reviews; all of this extra help will pay off. It is not a sign of weakness to utilize these services, but rather it demonstrates your commitment to succeeding while in college. When it comes to life outside class, be curious and explore options. Respect your roommate and keep the lines of communication open. Even holding down a small job can be advantageous as studies show that the busier we are the better organized we are.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

What tips will help students succeed their first semester?

10 Tips for First-Semester Success 1. Go to all of your classes. 2. Participate in all seminars which are offered in conjunction with your scheduled classes. 3. Prepare all of your assignments. 4. Prepare effectively for all tests and examinations. Joining a study group could help you to process the material that has been presented in your classes. 5. Participate actively in small-group or class discussions. 6. Be on time for all classes, seminars, and test sessions, as well as in turning in assignments. 7. Seek academic help if you find that you need it. Most institutions will offer tutoring in subjects in which students are having difficulty. Make an appointment to see your professor if you need additional clarification. 8. Seek emotional support if you find yourself hitting a "low point". Most institutions offer such help through their student services offices. 9. Find your "niche" (something that you enjoy doing and which you can commit to). This will help you broaden your circle of friends and acquaintances. 10. Become involved - academically, extracurricularly, and socially. Have fun, but stay focused on why you're there in the first place. If you keep these ten tips in mind, your first semester should be an unqualified success!

Megan Dorsey
SAT Prep & College Advisor College Prep LLC

What tips will help students succeed their first semester?

Academically: go to class and read all assignments. If you want to be a high achiever, take decent notes, read assignments before you go to class, and review your notes weekly. Socially: meet as many people as you can in the first month of school. Overachieve by making friends with at least two people per class, people who you can contact if you have questions or need notes. Attend social events on campus, not just parties. Overall: eat a balanced diet, get adequate sleep, and don’t overindulge in drink or drugs. College success is more about consistency than anything else.

Katie Parks
Former Admissions Counselor

What tips will help students succeed their first semester?

Your first semester at college is going to be great! Stressful, for sure, as you transition in to this new life phase, but also great, as you make new friends and unlock wonderful learning opportunities. However, in order to make the most out of your first semester and to make it as successful a semester as possible here are a few tips I’ve found that work really well: Read the Syllabus – The first meeting in each of your classes will include a review of the course syllabus. This is the document that outlines what assignments are due and when, how the professor will grade each assignment, and what you can expect to learn that semester. When you get home from each class you should re-read the syllabus. Make sure you understand what is going to be expected of you in class and if you have any questions, contact your professor or inform them next class. Also, with the due dates for assignments in hand, you can write down all your assignments on a personal calendar and see which weeks will have multiple assignments from different classes and when you’ll be stuck in the library for a couple days hashing out a research paper. Planning ahead will allow you to have better time management and be better prepared to complete assignments. It is important to stay ahead of your courseload the first semester so you can be as academically successful as possible. Getting a college degree is why you’re in school after all. Get out and explore – Going away to college is like moving to a new neighborhood. And you should treat your first few weeks there like you are in a new city – because you basically are! Take a chance to go out and find the writing center, the financial aid office, and meet up with your academic advisor. Try out all the local dining hotspots on campus (think dining halls and student unions) and work up a sweat at the “city’s” local gym. And definitely make sure you visit Student Life so you can see what this new “city” has to offer. You can find all sorts of valuable information that will help you enjoy and succeed in your next few years by doing this. Need a jolt of caffeine before a big test? Now you know which coffee cart has the best brew and the quickest line. Your bill needs to be paid but your computer froze? Now you know where the billing office is so you can pay on time. It’s the little things that will help make your transition smoother, and help you out tremendously in the long run. You don’t want to be panicking trying to find a resource if you really need one. Plus, by exploring the campus, you’ll know where the best study corrals are, where the best parties happen, and what kinds of activities you can get involved with. Even if you’re not living on campus, take some time to explore. Check out the academic resources available to you so you will know where to go when you need them. Hang around during your normal lunch hours or after class, just to see the kinds of things going on and to see how you can engage more with the campus. Do Some Warming up – If you were Susie Q or Joe Campus in high school, it may be very tempting to jump in to student life and extra-curriculars with both feet once you get to college. For those students who didn’t find high school all that stimulating, the amount of options to get involved may be pulling you out the door of your dorm and into the latest unique activity. And this is great. Getting involved on campus is one of the best ways to make your college your home and cultivate relationships that will last a lifetime and some unforgettable experiences. But, college is harder than high school, and this is your first time on your own. Trying to balance your school work with your social life can be tough the first semester, even for the most actively engaged high school valedictorian. It might be wise to pick just a few activities that first semester while you adjust to your new rigorous academic courseload. Stay the First Weekend – Even if you’re close enough to travel home on the first weekend in college, you should do your best to stay on campus. It’s easy to fall back in to the comforts of home and friends you know, and you will more than likely forget to bring something from your college provided “What to Bring” list. But, staying in your new environment that first weekend is important. This is a great chance to make new friends, explore your new home and figure out what the atmosphere on campus is like over the weekends. Plus, this first weekend is the best chance to do this, as your homework load will only get heavier as the semester progresses. The first weekend is often a time when those lasting friendships are formed and you can take time to figure out where you think your niche will be. And getting comfortable with your surroundings without a huge research paper deadline looming is a definite perk of that first on-campus weekend. Find Your Resources – I know we’ve talked about going out and exploring the campus, but I can not stress enough how important it is to know where to get help when you need it. If you get the flu – where is the Health Center? If you are falling behind in classes, where can you go to get tutoring help? If your car breaks down and you need to use school transportation to get around, where is the closest stop to your class? The earlier questions like these are answered the better – you don’t want to have to figure these out when you’re in the middle of a crisis. So go out and find all the resources you can so you can be prepared when the time comes.