A mix of excitement and nervousness perfectly describes how I felt walking into my 300 person Microeconomics lecture for my first class in college. Everyone is quick to say college is hard work and studying is a must, but no one tells you basic tips to prepare for the first day! A professor said something my first day of college that’s always stuck with me: in high school it’s 80% learning in class and 20% learning on your own, but in college it’s the complete opposite. College is a completely different structure than high school. I personally love it because it allows me to be more independent and productive. Still concerned? Have no fear! With these 5 tips you’ll be off to a great start this semester.
1. Start off strong. The most suggested way to take notes is to 1) read the material (PowerPoint, note sheet, textbook) before class 2) take notes in class and ask questions 3) reread your notes right after class 4) reread them before your next class session. It’s hard to start this, but once you get into a routine you’ll be all set. This method helps you retain material more effectively so come test time you’ll be glad you did it! *Bonus tip: I use Evernote to take notes on my laptop and use colored pens to take good old fashioned notes in hands on classes.
2. Introduce yourself to your professors. Putting a face to the name is super important! It doesn’t matter if it’s a class of 3 or 300 a professor will respect that you took the time to introduce yourself. “Hi, My name is Devin and I’m a Marketing major. I’m really looking forward to this class.” It doesn’t have to be fancy—it’s the thought that counts! *Bonus tip: Pick a professor to be your mentor and reach out to them to chat. This is not unusual in college—a lot of students get lunch or coffee with professors. Having a mentor in college is really important to make connections and skyrocket your career.
3. Write all important dates down. Syllabus week, also known as the first week of class, is the best time to get yourself organized. Write down when homework is due, test dates, and project due dates to save the stress of forgetting. Use whatever method you like best—my go-to is always my agenda or a weekly desktop planner. *Bonus tip: I also write the dates in my laptop calendar and sync it with my phone. I set it to send reminders 2-3 days before the due date of assignments/test so that I have a backup if I don’t check my agenda!
4. Make friends in class. I didn’t know a soul at Clemson University when I started my freshman year. I looked for the friendliest faces I could find in every lecture hall and asked to sit next to them. Some of them became some of my closest friends in college! Make sure to exchange numbers or add each other on Facebook. It’s really beneficial to have friends in each class to send you notes, remind you of deadlines, and study with. Think of it like a little support group! *Bonus tip: Sit in the front! It’s the cool thing to do in college. In the back you won’t be able to see as well, some professors don’t talk loudly enough to hear, and you’ll pay less attention.
5. Dress the part! Everyone feels better when they look their best. Choose something you’re comfortable in. Shop at Tanger for the hottest back to school trends and brands! Need class outfit inspo? Visit my What to Wear to Class blog!
Class dismissed! Your first day will be a breeze with these tips in the back of your mind. Tag me in your first day fun @TangerOutlets with #StudentLife. How are you prepping for the first day? Let me know in the comments!