10 Tips to Prepare for Your First Semester

By Pamela Johnson, August 2015

Going into your first semester you want to be prepared. You want to be studious. You want to be motivated about learning. You want to communicate enthusiasm to your professor. Right? Well, here's the roadmap to success!

1. Prepare a Contact List.

Prepare a contact list of key personnel. The list should contain your professor, the director of the MSHA program, your success coach, and financial aid advisor's name, number and email address. It is also a good idea to include the contact information for technology support, the library, and bookstore.

2. Access the syllabus.

Access the syllabus prior to the first day of class. This gives you the opportunity to prepare for upcoming assignments and ask the professor any questions about future assignments.

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3. Know you professor's expectations.

All professors are not the same. Different criteria are required for each class and recycled assignments are not accepted in many cases.

4. Know proper online classroom etiquette.

Classroom etiquette is required for online discussion. It is important to know what an appropriate response is and how to reply in the most industrious manner to your classmates.

5. Obtain a book list from the bookstore/success coach, if possible.

It is important not to purchase books too far in advance because books may change from session to session. A book list is convenient if you plan to purchase books via the telephone or online from the bookstore.

6. Obtain your book prior to class.

Obtain your book prior to class and begin reading. Having time to process the information ahead of time will show in your respond to your professor and classmates. This will show your professor that you are enthusiastic about learning.

7. Contact a librarian to learn how to use the online library.

A librarian can walk you through the steps of an interlibrary loan so that the material you request will go straight to your email. They can show you the different databases available for research. They can help you locate thesis papers that have already been written on a topic.

8. Know assignment deadlines.

There are assignment deadlines to meet in every class every week. Be aware of these deadlines to stay on top of assignments. Also, be aware of teleconference dates or appointments you have scheduled with your professor to discuss projects.

9. Purchase a flash drive.

Purchase a thumb/flash drive and save all your assignments. By saving your assignments, you are capturing you entire journey as a student at Utica. This will be helpful when it is time to write your Capstone.

10. Begin your journey.

Begin your journey with a willingness to learn, willingness to listen, and a willingness to contribute your experiences openly.

Last but not least, introduce yourself to your classmates and professor.

Welcome to Utica. You are now a Pioneer!

About the Author

Pamela Johnson has a Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communications. She sat on the Board of Directors at Friends of Residents in Long-Term Care, was secretary and member of the Adult Care Advisory Committee, and ESL Volunteer at Interfaith Refugee Ministries.