Here is a tip that should be stated before we begin: Classes in college are different than in high school. You may be saying “Well DUH, I knew that” but it needed to be said again. Here are 5 generic tips that can be used from semester to semester.
1. Don’t be intimidated by what the professor may put on their syllabus or may say during the first class.
Every semester I’ve had some professor who tries to intimidate us by assigning numerous readings, projects or state things such as “The person to the right and left of you will drop this class”. Nine times out of ten, they end up sticking the class out. Remember to stay organized and you’ll do fine.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask if you are in the right room.
As I am entering my senior year of college, I still ask if I am in the right room. There is no harm in doing so.
3. Take some notes down, even if the professor just goes over classroom management details.
Sometimes, even the most routine items will be forgotten. Take them down just in case.
4. Establish a place to study.
Even if this place is your own room, set up a place where your supplies will be ready to go for all projects and studying time. Maybe even set up a study group with 1 or 2 other students in your classes. Don’t wait until the first weekend to set a place up, do it on the first day!
Don’t stress over the small stuff. A lot of professors don’t start on time, just in case students get lost. Take your time, enjoy the ride, and have fun along the way.
Look to The Freshman Survival Guide chapter 10 for some more tips. Chapters 11-14 are good as well for tips on getting good grades and how to stop procrastination, things that can definitely ruin your first day of classes.