11 Tips for First-Year University Students
Starting college is an exciting step in one’s life, but it can definitely be stressful or scary at times, especially if you had decided to study abroad. For those awaiting your freshman year this fall, here are some tips on how to make the most out of your first year at university. Keep these tips in mind once you start classes, but more importantly don’t forget to have fun along the way!
1. Remember that every person you meet in college has something to offer you.
You will meet hundreds new people at college – classmates, professors, advisors, recruiters, staff at campus, etc. Naturally, you won’t become friends with everyone, but we recommend networking with as many people as possible, especially when you’re new at the university.
2. Be organized and make deadlines your priority.
Get a calendar, whether an online app or good old paper diary, and write down all your deadlines, exams, group meetings and school events. You will have dozens of different assignments during your college years and the sooner you find a routine that fits you, the better. Make it your priority to never hand in an assignment late. Being diligent and dependable is always a plus!
3. Never. Ever. Plagiarize.
Don’t even come close to plagiarizing. Learning how to write is one of the core skills you will be developing at university. Don’t ruin the learning process with copying and pasting words from a different source. Instead, find enough various resources, learn how to cite sources properly, and develop your own writing routine. You can also make use of one of the many programs and apps that detect plagiarism in your work.
4. Find a note-taking system that works well for you.
Taking notes with a laptop might be faster and easier than writing notes by hand, but writing down notes with good old pen might help you remember the content of the lecture better than if you typed them. Find out what works best for you in each class so you can make the most out of your notes once revising or studying. Read more about when you should take notes by hand in our previous article.
5. Always back up your files.
There is nothing worse than having your laptop broke down in the middle of finishing your unsaved essay or losing a whole file of documents.
6. Meet with your academic advisor on a regular basis.
Connect with your school’s academic advisor as well as a career center. Both your career advisor and academic advisor might play a valuable role in your college years and in your future decisions. Also, go to most career fairs in the campus or the city you live in, whether you are looking for a job or just want to network with recruiters.
7. Actively participate in activities organized by your university/faculty.
Whether it is extra-curriculum lecture or a Christmas party organized by the faculty, these events are a great opportunity to get to know your classmates, professors and professionals better, but also to learn interesting things.
8. Don’t be afraid to drop a class you don’t like.
Feel no obligation to take every single class you register for. If you don’t like them, drop them and spend your time in a more meaningful class for you. At the end of the day, college is about finding out what you want to do.
9. Take good care of your health.
Taking good care of your body and mind is essential every day of your life, but even more when you get to start a brand new chapter at a university, often miles away from your family and home. You will likely face a frequent temptation to eat unhealthy food, cook low-cost meals and miss out on physical exercise due to lack of time. Nevertheless, it is important to keep a healthy lifestyle, eat enough fruits and veggies, drink enough water, sleep well and exercise often. Especially in the times of global pandemic. Bottom line: Your health is the foundation for everything else, so don’t neglect it.
10. Get to know your professors.
College is as much about networking as it is about taking classes. Plus, most of professors will be very happy to get to know you, share their experience and guide you through your college path.
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11. Get involved in student clubs and/or organizations.
Joining a student club and/or organization does not only mean more networking and likely more friends, but also a chance to boost your resume and have a say in how things are run.