6 Ways to Prepare for the First Day of Class in College
- You can ease first-day jitters by making sure you're prepared.
- Arriving early and with the right supplies proves to professors you're a serious student.
- Distracting other students shows disrespect for the class and professor.
- Making friends in your classes can prove valuable in many ways.
Transitioning from summer break after finishing high school into the rigors of college can feel abrupt for some students and overwhelming for others. College may present different challenges and experiences than high school, but prepared students can thrive from their first day of college and beyond.
Follow these tips to feel more confident and excited for your first day of class in college.
Plan to Get There Early
Going to sleep at a reasonable time the night before, waking up early, and getting to class ahead of schedule on your first day of college can provide many benefits. If you get there early, you can make sure to find a seat that works best for your learning needs.
It also doesn't hurt to show your professors that you value their time and will do your best to be punctual. Students who show up late disrupt the class and may get a less than ideal seat. On the first day, this might also mean missing out on the opportunity to introduce yourself and get an in-depth look at the class syllabus.
Review Your Class Schedule and Syllabi Beforehand
Before rolling into class on your first day of college, learn your class schedule and review any syllabi already shared by your professors. By reviewing your schedule, you can learn where your classes take place and map out routes so you don't get lost.
Carefully choosing a class schedule each term can make your college experience a lot smoother, so put thought into this process. Most universities provide an add/drop period if you decide a certain class isn't for you.
The syllabus for a course usually details when you need to turn in certain assignments throughout the semester. Keep track of any big projects or papers for your classes in a planner to get a sense of when you might be especially busy during the semester. Staying organized in college can help you avoid costly mistakes like turning in a project late or missing an exam.
Familiarize Yourself With Important Locations
Knowing where to go for each of your classes from day one can help prevent you from getting lost or wasting time. Many students have just 10-15 minutes between classes; if your campus is big, knowing how to get around efficiently is critical.
Aside from academic buildings, make sure you also know where to find a dining hall or cafe, medical facilities, restrooms, and a library. If you arrive on campus several days before classes start, use this time to walk around campus and familiarize yourself with the buildings. You can even time how long it takes to get from one classroom to the next if your schedule is tight.
Prepare to Take Notes
Bringing a laptop or notebook to class on your first day ensures you can copy down relevant information and avoid missing out on key deadlines. Some professors, however, do not allow laptops in their classrooms, so be sure to review the syllabus or ask about this policy ahead of time.
Taking efficient notes in an organized fashion can help you retain important information that may show up on future tests. Get in this habit early. And make sure to figure out what school supplies you need for college.
Get Ready to Pay Attention
Although many professors prefer to use their first class to get to know everyone and familiarize students with the course syllabus, this is not always the case. Some professors may delve directly into course material, so make sure you're prepared.
If enrolled in a large class, you may not be able to ask questions during the lecture. If this is the case, write down a list of questions you can ask after class. You can also write your professor an email asking for help or clarification.
Anticipate Making New Connections
From your first day of college, introducing yourself to classmates can help you forge connections that may prove valuable as the semester continues. Getting to know others can make it easier to form study groups and ask for help on difficult assignments. It's also nice to have some friendly, familiar faces in the classroom.
Making friends in your dormitory is also beneficial, both academically and socially. These students may be enrolled in some of your classes or may be able to provide advice about interesting classes or tough professors to watch out for.
Frequently Asked Questions About the First Day of Class in College
It's normal to feel nervous on your first day of college. Just know that you're not alone. Many incoming students feel this way, but these nerves should gradually dissolve as you learn your schedule and meet other new students.
Not necessarily. Textbooks usually don't come into play until a few days into the semester, so you shouldn't be in trouble if you don't have them on day one. Also, you may decide to drop or switch a class — buying or renting textbooks before you commit to your schedule could prove costly.
Arriving five minutes before class starts gives you sufficient time to find a seat, take out any needed items from your backpack, and get situated without disrupting others.
In smaller classrooms, many professors take time on the first day of class to introduce themselves and provide time for students to introduce themselves as well. In a larger class, you can go up to the professor after class to meet them and say hello to students around you.
You won't find any official answer to this question; however, you may hear professors referring to the first day of classes as "syllabus day" given that you'll spend most of the class reviewing the syllabus. Most students simply refer to it as the first day of college.
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