Whether you’re studying biology, business, or history, it’s exciting (and potentially a bit intimidating) to think about a completely new academic and social environment.
When I was a freshman, the sense of being lost in a big new world was exciting, but at the same time I treasured every bit of advice I could get. And there are still many things I wish I would have known then. Now that I’m a few years older, I’ve compiled some advice to help guide your success in the next phase of your life. I’ve distilled some of my own experiences, along with some feedback I gathered from the Academic Advising office, to give you the essence of what you need to be successful over the next four years.
As I figured early on, the Academic Advising office was a great resource for me during my four years. I frequently met with advisors on a one-on-one basis and received great feedback on my graduation planning and overall goals. The more frequently I went, the more my advisors became familiar with my academic goals and me as a person. Making those appointments was a great investment in my educational planning.
One of DU’s Academic Advisors, Jennifer Haas, said, “We embrace the concepts and tenets of Inclusive Excellence and therefore strive to make our office an inclusive and welcoming space for students from all backgrounds. We support 1st-year students as they transition through our Discoveries Orientation program and into their first year at DU. We provide help understanding policies and procedures, help students with graduation planning, and provide advising for undeclared students. Ultimately, our role is to help students navigate the academic world at DU and we can assist with everything from choosing classes to fulfilling Common Curriculum requirements to learning about time management and organization.”
When you arrive at DU, you will notice not everyone will look, act, or speak like you. It’s an adjustment all college students must transition into, but as Jennifer stated, the Academic Advising office does an incredible job of offering support to students.
Below are a few more tips that will help make your first year as enjoyable and productive as mine:
- Time management – Get a calendar and maintain a quarterly, monthly, and weekly schedule – the quarter system goes fast so stay on top of assignments.
- Ask questions! Ask any staff or faculty member if you have questions. Don’t suffer in silence – they are here to help.
- Join an affinity group or other campus club/organization – this will help you feel connected and find a sense of belonging on campus.
- Be patient – you won’t feel settled right away. Try not to judge your college experience on your first quarter as the first quarter is almost always tough.
- Check in with your academic advisors – visit them underneath the Bookstore. And talk to your faculty advisor as well – if you are having academic issues, they want to support you, but they can’t if they don’t know about them.
- Enter college in a professional manner – This is the first stage of your future career. Whether you move on to a job or graduate school from here, these are the people who will be writing your recommendations – strive to make a good impression.
- Find a mentor – There are numerous faculty and staff members across campus who are here to help you navigate DU – if you feel a connection, don’t hesitate to develop a deeper relationship.
Combine these suggestions with your ability and best efforts and you will succeed brilliantly during your time at DU.