Tips for College Students on Starting a New Semester
A new school year is about to begin—and for some students, a totally new college adventure. Whether you’re going to college for the first time or are a returning student, a little inspiration and motivation can really help to start things off right.
Everyone at FRCC is excited to welcome you to the fall semester. We’re here to help with whatever you need, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance at any time.
We’ve gathered some useful advice for getting into your groove this semester. Here are some tips for success from the FRCC advising team:
Get Familiar With FRCC’s Helpful Resources
There are a lot of resources available to students at each FRCC campus and online. Not sure what they all are?
Here’s a pro tip: Pay a quick visit to the Academic Success Center.
Do this before you even need help. That way, when things get busy, you’ll already know where to go.
The Academic Success Centers offer:
- A math lab
- A writing lab
- Workshops on how to succeed in class
- Help finding other assistance
These centers are a great “hub” for academic and other support. They’ll ensure you make the most of college—and can point you in the right direction if you need help overcoming any challenges that may arise.
Get Organized Ahead of Time
The first day of classes is coming up, which can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Don’t worry if you feel nervous. (That’s totally normal and most people do.) But let’s see if we can take a little stress out of your first day.
Unless you’re doing all of your courses online, make sure you know which campus you’ll be taking classes on. (FRCC has three campuses, so it’s good to double check your schedule.)
Then take time to figure out exactly where your classrooms are. You can do this using our online maps or come to campus in person to walk around and get the feel of the place. We want you to feel at home here, so swing by or learn more on our website.
Remember that an organized student is a successful student! Time management will be key to your success in college, so make sure to use your planner or the calendar app on your phone.
Once you get a syllabus for each course, mark down all of the due dates for tests and projects.
And of course, buy any necessary textbooks ahead of time at the bookstore. The employees there can help you make sure you get the right materials.
FRCC teachers also often share online resources, such as articles and books, that are totally free. Talk to your teacher if you have questions about how to find those.
Make Time for Homework
This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to get sidetracked with so many other things going on. If you have a job and/or young children, it can be even harder to juggle everything.
How do you stay on top of everything? In your planner or calendar app, block out your class and work time—and have a plan for when you’ll study and do homework. You can even schedule your homework time for specific days and times on the calendar.
Try not to let yourself fall behind—it can happen quickly. Do your best to stick to your routine and schedule as much as possible.
Plan Ahead—With Help From Your Advisor
The first few weeks of the school year are very busy for students. We get that. (It’s also busy for the advising team as students are making changes to their schedules.) If you need help, reach out to your advisor—they’ll always make time for you as quickly as they’re able!
As we get a few weeks into the semester, it’s never too early to lay out your graduation plan. It’s really important to make sure you’re taking the right classes for your intended path (e.g., transferring into a four-year degree program, completing an associate degree or certificate).
Advisors can help with this planning! Schedule an appointment mid-semester (say, October) to touch base with your advisor. Together, you can start planning out the spring semester and beyond.
Check Your College Email
The advisors across all FRCC campuses agree: Checking your student email account is hugely important. They say that students often miss critical, time-sensitive information that came to them via email.
So, starting now, you should check your college email at least once a day—and more often during the semester.
Get to Know Your Teachers
The people who teach at FRCC are here to help. You’ll find that teachers really appreciate questions and enjoy helping students. Don’t feel shy about asking questions in class. You’ll be glad you did and so will they!
Also feel free to visit your instructor during office their hours when you need individualized help—or just to say hi. (Not sure what their office hours are? It’s probably in the course syllabus we mentioned earlier. Or you can always just ask in class.)
Where to Go for Help: Academic Support Centers
As the semester starts rolling, what should you do if you find you need a little help? Here’s a good starting place for finding academic support—whether you’re attending one of FRCC’s three campuses or are an online student:
- Boulder County Campus – Academic Success Center
- Larimer Campus – Academic Support Center
- Westminster Campus – Academic Success Center
- Online Learning Academic Support
Final Words of Advice
“To start off on the right foot, we encourage students to take time now before the first week of school to get prepared,” says Michael Gulliksen, Director of Advising at FRCC’s Larimer Campus. “That really does make the rest of the semester go more smoothly and sets the right tone from the start.”
Holly Clarke and Robin O’Connell, Assistant Directors of Advising at the Westminster Campus, agree. They add that building a strong support system in college is essential.
“Students need help sometimes, and that’s when the resources on campus are really important,” Holly says. “Meet with your advisor regularly and ahead of each new semester.”
She also recommends taking advantage of FRCC’s career services to start planning for your future. And she adds, “Visit those academic support centers that are available to you.”
Happy fall semester, everyone. Take a few deep breaths. You’ve got this!
Learn more about FRCC’s Pathways Advising and our Career and Academic Communities.