CWRU | First Year

7 tips to start the semester strong

As you begin your first semester, here are a few tips to help you get off to a good start academically:

1. Develop strong relationships with your team
Seek support from university staff, including your SAGES first-year advisor, your first-year residential college director, and your deans and staff in Undergraduate Studies.

2. Get to know your professors, and use them as resources
Your professors are here to help you learn and succeed. Asking questions and seeking their assistance during office hours shows them you’re engaged and committed to learning.

3. Actively work on time management
You’re in a new environment that will require you to take the lead on deciding when, where and how you’re meeting your obligations as a student. If you don’t have much experience or need help with developing a time management plan, talk with your advisor, coordinator or dean, or schedule an appointment with a staff member in Educational Services for Students.

Remember: procrastination, cramming and late nights are the enemies of academic success. Plan ahead, and leave yourself plenty of time to complete assignments, as questions will certainly arise. Ask questions the moment you don’t understand something. Use office hours, SI sessions, tutoring and peers to help.

4. Take care of yourself
This means making sure you get enough sleep; eat well; find time to relax, socialize and relieve stress in healthy ways; and get involved in activities outside of class. Finding the right balance can be a process and takes time, so be careful not to take on too many obligations during your first semester. A schedule of 14 to 17 credit hours and a small number of co-curricular activities can be a good place to begin.

5. Form study groups
Recognize you are in a community of learners, and tap into each other’s strengths.

6. Review your syllabi
Students are responsible for knowing the information contained within the syllabus, including course requirements, office hours, required books/materials, due dates and class policies.

7. Make attendance a priority
Not only is attendance a requirement in many classes, it is a critical piece of the learning process. College courses move at a fast pace, so missing even one day can be significant. If you must miss class, it is your responsibility to notify the professor in advance and arrange to make up what you have missed (consistent with the professor’s course policy). Excused absences for illness or other reasons may require supporting documentation. If a health or family emergency makes it impossible for you to attend classes, please notify the your residential college director or Dean Mason in the Office of Undergraduate Studies immediately.