What to do next now that the first week has started…

Beyonce gets the same 24 hours in her day as you do.Although it’s only the first week of the semester, there are certain actions that you must do NOW to keep you focused for the next 16 weeks. 

It may seem like it is too early to sign up for tutoring or to take a library orientation, but being prepared and staying ahead will benefit you.  In the next few weeks, homework assignments will pile up, exams will be around the corner, and projects will be due leaving little time to do anything else.

Here are 20 important things to do now:

1.  Officially enroll into all of your classes.  If you have been given a permission number, log onto eServices and sign up for the class so that your name is included on the roster.  There is only a small window of time to add classes for the semester.  If you miss the deadline, you will need to submit a Late Add form, which requires additional signatures from the instructor and division dean.

2.  Pay your fees.  To avoid being dropped from your classes, pay your fees immediately.  Or, if you qualify, make sure to apply for a fee waiver.

3.  Officially drop your classes if you have no intention of staying.  Sometimes we are forced to change our schedules because of time conflicts or because we have not met a prerequisite for a class.  Whatever the reason, make sure to drop the class so that another student can take your spot.  Also, you will want to avoid receiving a “W” or a substandard grade on your transcript.  That “W” or substandard grade will count towards the number of times (3!) that you can repeat the class.

4.  Buy a calendar or planner.  If you have a full load of classes, it is difficult to remember when every assignment is due or when an exam will be given.  Use a calendar or planner to help you remember important dates so that you can plan ahead.  (Tip:  pick up a FREE student guide at the Student Services Building…there’s a calendar inside!)

5.  Memorize your class schedule.  Sometimes it happens…you show up prepared for your morning Sociology class when you really should have been in your Reading class!  If you are a full-time student juggling 4-5 classes this semester, take the time to memorize your class schedule so that you know when, where, and what time to show up!

6.  Read your syllabus.  Read your syllabus carefully…and then read it again.  Your syllabus is one of the most important documents that you will follow in class.  It will include information such as exam dates, homework assignments, and the contact information for your professor.

7.  Show up to all of your classes from this point on.  Attendance is crucial to your success.  If you are going to be absent, it will be helpful to email your instructor and to talk with a classmate about getting the lecture information that you missed.  Try your best to schedule appointments and activities around your classes.  (For example, don’t schedule a dentist appointment at 10:00 a.m. if you have class from 9:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.!)  Also, don’t miss classes on important days when exams are given or projects are due. (See the post above on “Read your syllabus.)

8.  Know who your professors are.  Your professors don’t go by “hey you” and they will not respond to “yo whatchamacallit.”  Since you are going to be in class for the next 16 weeks, it will be a good idea to get to know your professors’ names as well as some of your classmates.  In turn, your professors will get to know who you are if you actively participate in class, show up for every class meeting, and do your best work.

9.  Buy your textbooks.  You will need to have your textbooks in order to complete homework assignments, to participate in class discussions, and to follow the class lecture.  If you are not able to purchase your textbooks immediately, find out if the library has copies that you can access temporarily.  You can also go to the RISE office in Temporary Building 5 to find out if your textbook is available in their lending library.  Lastly, consider renting your textbooks instead of purchasing them in order to save money.

10.  Turn in all of your financial aid documents.  Log onto your eServices account to find out the status of your financial aid and to determine if you are missing any forms or documents to complete your file.  Even if you submitted your FAFSA before the March deadline, there may still be forms or documents that you need to submit before your award can be packaged.

NOTE: Make sure all of your classes count!  If you are taking courses that are not required for your educational goal Financial Aid will not pay for it.  Take the right courses that fulfill prerequisites, major, and general education requirements.

11.  Plan your transportation.  Get the regional transit and/or light rail schedule so that you make it to class on time.  If you are going to get dropped off, know where the appropriate “drop off” locations are.

12.  Sign up for tutoring.  Your classes may seem like a breeze right now, but, as the semester progresses, you will start to learn terms, formulas, and information that may be completely new to you.  Don’t wait until you are struggling to seek help.  It only takes one hour a week to meet with a tutor, so don’t use the excuse that “you don’t have the time.”

13.  Meet with a counselor.  Although you already have your schedule for this semester, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for the upcoming semester particularly if you are planning to graduate and transfer in the future.  As we head closer to the next registration period, appointments to meet with a counselor will fill up quickly.  When you schedule your appointment, request an “iSEP”…this is your individual educational planner that outlines the courses you will need to reach your goals.

14.  Attend a library orientation.  This is a great way to learn how to locate books, how to do an online search, and to take a tour of the library.  At some point, you will be assigned a research paper and will need to use the library to find resources.

15.  Activate your Los Rios Gmail account.  All instructors use Gmail to send out class notices and/or announcements.  Check your Gmail regularly to make sure that you are not missing out on important information.  Reminder:  Your personal Gmail is NOT the same as your Los Rios Gmail!

16.  Familiarize yourself with campus support services.  For example, know where to go to if you have a health question (Health Services), need to add or drop a class (eServices Lab), want tutoring in Math (Math Lab), or help with your educational goal (Counseling).

17.  Be prepared with supplies.  The student sitting next to you isn’t always going to have an extra notepad and pen to lend to you during class.  Also, during exams, some professors will ask you to bring in a “blue book” (which is not the same as a “green book”) or an “815-E Scantron” (which is not the same as an “884-E Scantron”).  The College Store sells many supplies – including brushes for art classes, clay for ceramic classes, goggles for science classes, and candy for when you just need a snack.  🙂

18.  Get your Student Access Card.  Your access card is your official college ID.  It also serves as your pass to use the light rail and regional transit.  The card is available throughout the month of August in City Cafe 2 and, for the remainder of the semester, at the Media Center in LR 144 inside the Learning Resource Center.

19.  Buy your parking permit.  Unfortunately, you will be issued a parking ticket if you do not have a visible permit in your car.  You can purchase a parking permit from the Business Services Office in Rodda North.  Keep this in mind:  getting a parking ticket will be far more expensive than just buying a parking permit to begin with!

And lastly…

20.  Be motivated and enjoy the semester!  By attending college, you have made an important decision to create a better future for you and your family.  Your college degree will open the doors to many new opportunities.