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First Year of College Tips and Advice

You made it! You're off to college and couldn't be more excited. But without your family looking over your shoulder, there might be some challenges you need to prepare for. That's why we've put together this list of advice for incoming college first-year students!

Academic Awareness

Go to Class

This may sound obvious, but it's important! While the social aspects of college are great, you're here to learn and not showing up to class is the quickest way to fall behind. Not only will you be missing assignments, you won't be learning the material or getting tips for upcoming exams either.

Many professors also have a set amount of absences outlined in their syllabus before your grade starts to be affected. You can't participate if you aren't there! If you do need to miss a class, reach out to your professor (if possible, in advance) and make sure you catch up on whatever was covered and assigned in class.

Study Hard!

The leap from high school to college is larger than some expect and while our professors are always here to lend an enthusiastic hand, you won't get coddled! Here's some tips for staying on your A-game.

Check the Syllabus

It's not there just to look pretty! The syllabus that your professors hand out at the beginning of the class is a valuable resource. Use it to keep abreast of what information you should have a firm grasp on, what's coming up, and when you'll be tested on the material.

Utilize Office Hours

If you're having trouble getting a handle on some of the material, talk to your professors during their office hours. These are also listed on the syllabus, and it's a great way to get some one-on-one time, get some tips, have specific questions answered, and show you're making an effort. Time may be limited as the class comes to an end; however, so don't wait until the final!

Schedule a Tutoring Appointment

Drexel has an excellent group of peer tutors on hand, with more joining all the time. Our tutors are students who have performed well in the classes you're taking now, so they know exactly what you're going through.

It's up to you to make sure you're on top of your studies and keeping up with the syllabus. No one will be checking up on you to make sure you're doing homework, so self-motivation and hard work are key to getting good grades!

Succeeding Socially

Get Involved

College is a time to spread your wings, and extracurricular activities is a great way to do just that. Whether its Fraternity and Sorority Life, intramural sports or a club, you'll challenge yourself and meet plenty of new friends along the way! Some members may even be older students who can provide some more first-year tips and guide you as a first-year student.

Build a Support System

Having someone or a group to lean on can be very helpful during this transitory period. It doesn't matter if it's teammates, a study group, your roommates, or even a counselor — finding someone who will have your back and listen to you vent can be very cathartic. Your family will probably be happy to listen to you too, so don't forget to give them a call every now and then!

Don't Go Overboard

College is an exciting time, full of freedom and new opportunities. But with that new freedom comes responsibility. Keeping your grades up is important for both your current financial aid and your future, so make sure you're balancing work and play appropriately. Another thing to remember is that parties and underage drinking can get you in real trouble — not just with Drexel, but with the police. You don't want your time here to end prematurely! You're an adult now, so do the adult thing and don't tempt fate. Make sure to read the full Code of Conduct to know what you can and can not do while enrolled.

Money Mindfulness

Set a Budget

First-year college students often go overboard with newfound freedom. Living within your means is an important part of being an adult, and setting a budget is the easiest way to do that. By putting together an estimate of how much expenses like groceries, housing, and parking or transportation will cost each month, you can stay ahead of your bills. No one wants a surprise at the end of the month, and overspending can lead to a lot of problems both immediately and down the road.

Stay Vigilant

Once you've put this budget together, follow it! If you have autopay on any bills, mark down the day the money leaves your account. If you don't have autopay on a bill, make sure you remember to pay it! If you find yourself spending more than anticipated on a regular basis, account for it and update the budget.

It's also important to watch out for predatory credit cards and lending schemes, which often try to take advantage of new students. If you're considering opening a line of credit, make sure you discuss it and get advice from someone you trust first, like a family member or a financial advisor.

Eat Right

It can be tempting to eat fast food every meal, thinking it'll be quick and save some money at the same time. But those costs will add up, and if you're eating properly, you'll have more energy, stay focused longer, and just have a better general sense of wellness.

Have a Good Time!

Drexel is in the heart of a vibrant city and filled with a variety of cultures, viewpoints, and opinions. No matter what you're into, you'll find like-minded people waiting with open arms. Take some time to explore both Drexel's campus and your city — and who knows what you just might stumble across!