Tips for Your First Year

Donald Asher, author of How to Get a Job with Any Major, From College to Career, and Graduate Admissions Essays has assembled a list of tips for first-year students.  Consider the following advice when planning your first year of college.

  • Take wide variety of courses to try to find your major.
  • Take a foreign language (whether it’s required or not).
  • Find a sport you can enjoy every week for the rest of your life.
  • Learn to see your faculty outside of the classroom by stopping by during their open office hours to discuss the class, curriculum, paper ideas, what’s going to be on the test, how best to study, who’s who in the department, etc.
  • Realize that you can’t graduate in four years by taking a minimum load; familiarize yourself now with graduation requirements (distribution requirements, minimum credits, major and minor selection, departmental rules). You don’t want to become a senior who has to take required freshman-level courses!
  • Get by without a car; your grades will be higher.
  • Live on campus; your grades will be higher.
  • Avoid the credit card trap! Use a debit card.
  • Join at least one academic club.
  • Join at least one activity to make the world a better place.
  • Maybe join at least one activity solely to pursue an interest.
  • Learn that college is not just classes, but also guest speakers, clubs, movies, outdoor recreation, political exploration, social opportunity, etc.
  • Go the career center in the first semester and learn how to (1) register for announcements and notices, (2) write a resume, and (3) get an internship. Competitive internships are selected over the winter/early spring!
  • Try to find friends who are going to be successful in life, and conversely, try to avoid those distracting, loud, irresponsible, and sometimes fun people who are ultimately going to fail at college.
  • Find the help desk in the library, the writing center or academic support center, the counseling office, the medical clinic, and other sources of help and support.
  • Try not to work long hours at a wage job, so you can adjust to college.
  • Watch your grades!
  • If, and only if, you are an engineering major, declare your major and meet with an academic advisor to plan the sequence of courses that will allow you to graduate on time.
  • If, and only if, you are potentially interested in a career in medicine, find the pre-medical advisor and learn how best to prepare yourself.

Your First Summer

This is a "free" summer.

  • Pursue a service opportunity or some kind of big adventure.
  • Travel abroad.
  • Take any kind of wage job.
  • Work at an internship or summer job in an industry or field that you would potentially like to pursue after graduation.

From How to Get Any Job with Any Major, © 2004, used with permission.
For permission to reproduce this calendar on your campus,
call 415-543-7130, ext. 203, or e-mail

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