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Tips for Getting Off to a Good Start

Transitioning from high school to college life is hard. Use some of these simple steps to make it more manageable.

Use an Alarm

Don’t rely on your inner clock to wake up each morning. Remember to set alarms on your phone, smart watch, etc. to ensure you're up and on time for classes.

Find a Friend to Walk to Class With

Let this time with your friend help motivate you to attend class regularly. You can keep thee other accountable in waking up and showing up to class. You can also make your pre-class time together more meaningful by grabbing a coffee from PJ's or grabbing breakfast at the Commons. 

Use a Planner

Don’t rely on just your memory to keep track of your homework, important deadlines, and due dates. Record your assignments from your syllabi, the Tulane Academic Calendar, club meeting info, homework, study time, etc. in your planner or on your phone for safe keeping. 

Keep Separate Notebooks

Have a separate notebook for each class and label it with your name and the course name. This will help you avoid mixing up your notes or running out of space. Some students find it helpful to have each notebook in a different color

Show Up Early

Go to every class and get there a few minutes early. Students who skip class or habitually arrive late not only miss out on learning, but also make a negative impression. Instructors respond more positively if they perceive that you are a motivated, hard-working, and responsible student.

Sit Up Front

We know it can be intimidating! However, sitting close to the front of the class can help you stay alert and engaged, as you're prevented from being distracted by other people’s screens or notes. This is also a good way to forge a connection with your professor, which can be useful if you need a letter of recommendation for graduate school or medical school in the future.

Attend Office Hours

Make use of the instructor's office hours to ask questions about the lectures or reading materials. This is another good way of forging a connection with your professor, which can be useful if you need a letter of recommendation for graduate school or medical school in the future.

Ask Questions After Exams/Tests

Talk to the professor, TA, or supplemental instructor after an essay, quiz, or test. Learn from your mistakes and double-down on your investment to passing the course.

Review Your Notes

Review your notes as soon as possible after each class, make flashcards or other helpful exam prep resources. Frequent, short review periods are an enormous help in remembering and retaining information over the course of a semester.

Start Working Early

Begin reading, studying, and working from the first week of class onward. It's tempting to skip a study session or hold off on a project when the deadline seems far off. However, time will pass faster than you realize and it's easy to feel like you're falling behind. Schedule regular study period throughout your week. 

Take Care Of Yourself

Reserve at least one day of the week for recreation and to do no class-related work. The risk for burnout is great if you push yourself to work hard 7 days per week without a break.

Take care of yourself with nutritious eating, regular exercise, and a consistent sleeping pattern. We recommend that you put these activities in your schedule and consider them as important as your classes. You may be surprised at how much these simple self-care activities may enhance your alertness and concentration, as well as help you handle stress throughout the academic year. Be aware of when you exercise as strenuous movement 2-3 hours before bed has been shown to increase the likelihood of insomnia.

Connect with On-Campus Resources

If you would like to speak confidentially with a mental health professional for any personal or academic concern, visit Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). For more information or visit the CAPS webpage on the Campus Health website.

If you have a disability and need reasonable accommodations in or out of the classroom, be sure you have registered your disability with the Goldman Center for Student Accessibility as soon as possible. You can contact them at 504-862-8433 or goldman@tulane.edu.