Top 5 Tips for First-Time University Students

Starting university studies marks the beginning of a significant chapter in a person’s life by preparing them for the future, but about a third of first-year college and university students drop out annually. The reasons range from financial difficulties to being overwhelmed. First-time university students can increase the odds of success and start the year off strong by following these tips.

Prepare in advance

Visit the campus ahead of the first semester. Take time to get acquainted with the locations of key buildings where you’ll spend time regularly. Those who are moving to stay on or near campus should also familiarize themselves with the location of their new residence. Get to know the local traffic or transit routes that you’ll be using so that you don’t have to figure out these things on your first day. Starting university can be exciting, but a lot of changes all at once can be overwhelming. Get a head start by knowing where you’re going and how to get there.

Plan for homesickness

Missing friends and family back home is normal. By exploring Internet plans and getting budget student cell phone plans to fit your needs, you can ensure that you can stay in touch with everyone through live chats, emails and social media. Plan to have a regular phone conversation with parents or a best friend on a set day each week so you have something to look forward to. Set up a code word system with friends so that they’ll know when you’re feeling down. Post the code word on social media or text it to your support group so friends know you need some extra encouragement. Knowing you have people to support you can ease feelings of isolation. It’s also a good idea to stay at school and avoid visiting home too soon after you start so that you give yourself a chance to settle into your new routine. 

Connect with others

The friends you make in university can play a crucial role in your success as a student. It’s normal for peers to study together and provide mutual support and encouragement. This can range from waking up a friend who tends to sleep late, quizzing each other for a test or proofreading essays. Taking time to attend social functions early and get to know your classmates can help you form meaningful, long-term relationships that will affect your success as a student, and can also help ease any homesickness you’re experiencing. It’s also possible to develop a support network in the community by attending church or volunteering locally. Participating in these types of activities can help you build long-lasting friendships that will provide you with encouragement during your studies.

Manage your time

Students who have the option of attending school full time are much more likely to graduate. These students don’t have to worry about balancing work and school schedules; they can focus exclusively on their studies. Time management also means ensuring you have enough time to study and complete assignments. Four out of five college students will feel overwhelmed at some point. One way to help prevent that is by starting school work early and completing it on time to avoid cramming and late-night study sessions. Being able to maintain a consistent schedule and getting enough sleep can help reduce stress and avert anxiety. 

Follow a budget

Attending college or university is expensive, and many first-time students lack the skills needed to budget properly. Set up a budget. Set aside the money needed for essentials, such as room and board and transportation. Doing this ensures that you have enough money to meet your critical needs each month. A budget will keep you from dipping into those funds for personal indulgences. Lack of money can cause stress or require the need for a part-time job, which will detract from focusing on your studies. Sticking to a budget can help ensure that you won’t have the stress of worrying about how to pay your bills.