Guest Blogger: Dannia Thorpe
Hi everyone! I’m Dannia and I am one of the Ambassadors for Class Tracker. I wanted to share some tips and pieces of advice with you regarding how to prepare for your upcoming college semester. The new school year is right around the corner and that means that class assignments are being released, syllabi are being posted online, dorm and apartment move-ins are starting, and everyone is going back-to-school shopping. It can be a super exciting time to get ready for the upcoming semester (especially if you are a freshman), but it can be daunting knowing what exactly you should get a head start on. Below I have created a power hit-list of things you should try and take care of before the school year starts to help make sure you start your semester off on the right foot!
Invest in a good planner
Having a planner is critical to making sure you don’t miss deadlines (like class registration, assignments, tests and quizzes, and club meetings)! I use the Class Tracker Ultimate Student Planner as my primary planner, as it is great for writing down assignments and must-complete tasks for the day and week. I also recommend using Google Calendar, as it is great for visualizing meeting times for clubs or lectures. You will have too many assignments and obligations to simply try and remember all deadlines in your head, so definitely invest in a planner and write down your deadlines!
Email your future professors about class materials
Something I started doing this year was emailing my professors about class textbooks and materials once their emails were posted! This can potentially save you so much money, as you may find out that you might not actually need a textbook (or you can get an older edition for cheaper) after you ask your professor about what you will actually need for their class. They usually won’t be offended by you asking, and it is a great way to introduce yourself as well before the school year even begins!
Print out and read your syllabi before classes begin
I highly recommend printing out physical copies of your syllabi to read and highlight important contact information, test days, due dates, and class-specific policies. If you read the syllabus before the class begins, you will be able to come to your first class with any questions you may have. Professors typically don’t like when students ask syllabus questions weeks after the class has already begun, so get on top of it and read through your course policies early!
Communicate and connect with your roommate(s)
You want to reach out to your roommate early on for multiple reasons. One is that you want to coordinate who is bringing what larger-ticket items for your room, such as a TV or mini fridge. In doing this, you prevent any accidental duplicate purchases and avoid you or your roommate buying everything for the room by yourself. Also, you’ll want to get to know your roommate as well. Maybe start talking about hobbies, habits, and general dorm room expectations you want to establish before you move in. You both might want to consider making a roommate agreement or contract so you can discuss certain rules you want to have in place to make your dorm room a good living environment.
Verify that all financial aid is approved
This is so critical, especially if you don’t want to find out last minute that you aren’t receiving as much scholarship money as you thought you were. Check your financial aid status and make sure you don’t have any pending loans or scholarships that require additional steps to authorize. I know a few of my scholarships required thank-you letters to be submitted or additional personal information before they would be released to me, so make sure none of yours have any of these additional requirements.
Hopefully these tips will help you feel prepared to start off your new semester at college! Doing prep work may seem boring or tiring at times, but you will be happy you did after you aren’t scrambling the first week of classes trying to get everything together. In college, you are going to want to use your free time to relax and not be stressed about school, so prepare and get ahead while you aren’t as busy. If you want more college tips, definitely check out the other blog posts that Class Tracker writes and has on their website, and also check out my personal college blog at College Life Blogging!
Dannia Thorpe is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Leadership Studies. She loves blogging and creating social media content to help other people through their college journey, no matter what stage of it they may be in. Besides blogging, she loves DIY crafts, going outside with her hammock, and hanging out with friends! Feel free to follow her and her advice posts on her instagram @collegelifeblogging.