How to Prepare for Your First Day of College

Your first day of college is an exciting time, but we know it can be intimidating. If you’re looking for some tips on your first day of college, we’ve got you covered.

From getting ready the night before to showing up early for class, there are plenty of little things you can do to feel more prepared, but, most importantly, try to relax as you navigate through this exciting time in your life. You’ll figure it all out sooner than you might expect. It can be scary to encounter a new place, but once you get into your daily routine and start meeting new people, you’ll realize you have nothing to worry about.

There are plenty of ways to prepare for your first day of college and get you even more excited about your education. Here, we’ve listed some freshman year tips for college students to help you navigate your first day and set the tone for your academic career.

Prepare All Your Gear

First impressions have a lasting effect on others. Coming to class on the first day excited and ready to learn can be a great way to put your best foot forward for the rest of the semester and stand out to your professors.

The night before your first day, pack all of the notebooks, pens, pencils and highlighters you might need for your classes. You may not need all of your supplies, but at least you’ll be prepared if you do. Take note of the supplies you need for each class — for example, your science professor may ask you to use only pencils for laboratory exercises.

It’s also a good idea to review the syllabus before arriving at class, if you have access to it. Although most classes will use the first week to go over the course schedule, policies and expectations, reviewing class documents beforehand can give you more advance notice of important information. You can find your required books on the Bookstore page using their “Find My Course Materials” tool.

Many students tend to wait until classes begin to order textbooks and supplies, but this can lead to backorders on your materials. It would be best to buy or rent your books and other materials a few weeks ahead of time and have them ready for your first day, so you don’t have to wait for them to arrive.

Take a Self Tour

Before committing to your college, you probably took a tour or two, whether that was in-person or virtually. After deciding where you would attend, you may have participated in campus events or met with coaches or advisors. However, you probably didn’t walk by every classroom that’s on your schedule.

Whether you live nearby or you’re going to commute to get there, you could benefit from taking a self-tour around campus. Depending on the security system in place for your institution, you may not be able to go inside the buildings before you start classes, but you can still get a feel for what your day-to-day schedule will look like.

You should spend some time walking between classes and note how long it takes you to get there. This will help you get an idea of how quickly you’ll need to move between classes and ease some stress about wondering where to go. For the first week, you’ll want to plan to leave your house a few minutes earlier to find the actual room, but after you get comfortable, you can begin to feel confident in your ability to maneuver campus.

Plan to Arrive Early

It’s difficult to determine what to expect on your first day of college and it can be easy to feel intimidated by the hustle and bustle of students and professors. The first week is going to be one of your busiest. There will be plenty of events occurring, clubs attracting new members and new students rushing from one location to the next.

If you find yourself nervous about making it to class on time, go ahead and arrive early. Start your day with enough time to get ready without rushing around your home. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast and leave a few minutes early to account for traffic and to find a parking spot if you’re commuting. Parking spots can be hard to come by, so the earlier you arrive, the more likely you are to find a good one.

If your first class starts earlier in the day, you could consider grabbing brunch on campus to make sure you can find a parking spot and have plenty of time to get to your class.

As you’re walking to the building, you’ll notice a bunch of new faces going to a class or leaving one. Some courses will end earlier than others, and it’s common for a class to still be in session a few minutes before the next one begins. Once the room filters out, you can go in to find a seat. Depending on how full your class is, you’ll want to get there early to choose a seat you’re comfortable with.

Take Notes

Even on the first day, your instructor will give you valuable information that you’ll need throughout the semester. It would be best if you were prepared to take notes starting on day one.

Although some professors may upload PowerPoint slides or give handouts, college is very different from high school. Rather than everyone getting a new worksheet every day, most of your assignments will be due online, and most of your class discussions won’t be recorded anywhere except when you take notes in your notebook.

Pay attention to assignment guidelines, hints for exam questions or answers, where to locate important information and the lectures. You’ll need to write down everything that you feel is essential information, such as when your next assignment is due and how much your exam will affect your final grade.

Attend Your Classes at Mount Wachusett

Pursuing your higher education is a worthy endeavor, and we want to go on that journey with you. Mount Wachusett is a community college in North Central Massachusetts with over 70 degree and certification programs.

Our small class sizes enable you to make deep connections with your instructors and classmates, and we have plenty of resources to help you succeed. We value you as a person, and we recognize that you have other things going on in your life. Whether you’re fresh out of high school, looking to transfer or build your skillset, we’d love to see you here.

Your first day of community college is as exciting for us as it is for you. We can’t wait to see all that you’ll accomplish, and we’d love to help you along the way. Apply to Mount Wachusett Community College to continue your academic journey.