5 Tips for Students Starting College

By Algonquin College Modified on September 10, 2018

Don’t just Survive – Thrive!

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So, summer’s over and it’s time to go back to school. No doubt, it will take some time to adjust from your summer schedule and tune into college life.

Here are a few tips – and some advice from the Jeff Agate, the Associate Director of Algonquin College’s Student Support Services – to help you make a successful transition.

Tip #1 – Orient yourself

Each year, Algonquin stages a variety of Orientation activities to help new students get settled into college life.

You might start by attending events such as AC Start and AC Day 1 to get the information you need to kickstart your life as a student at Algonquin. A list of all Orientation resources is available at http://orientation.algonquincollege.com/.

A student “survival guide” detailing various tech tools available to you, tutorials on software usage, accessing email and course material, and even computer basics, is available at http://algonquincollege.libguides.com/student-survival-guide/.

The college also runs a campaign at the beginning of each semester – “Here 2 Help” – where employees at booths located around the campus are encouraged to offer assistance to students.

Tip #2 – Establish a routine

Student life is a busy life. You need to balance the time necessary to fulfill your educational goals with the time devoted to family, friends and, well, having a life.

A good way to maintain this balance is to establish a routine. Once you know your curriculum and classroom schedule, talk to your professors and/or student advisors to get some idea of the amount of work involved and how much of your time you’ll have to devote to study and class work.

For ideas on keeping yourself organized, check out Algonquin’s online module on Time Management.

Tip #3 – Know the supports available to students

Algonquin uses a few online systems to deliver each class to a student. The main system is known as Brightspace. Students, Agate says, should access their college network and email accounts as soon as possible and learn how to navigate Brightspace.

A listing by program of Student Success Specialists, Program Coordinators, and Academic Advisers .

Tip #4 – If you need help, don’t hesitate

“College is designed to be challenging,” says Agate, “and most new students feel overwhelmed by their program at some point.” If that happens to you, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are variety of specialized services available

Student Support Services, for example, has launched a new website to help students navigate services available to them, including Counselling Services, Peer Tutoring, and Library Services.

Peer Tutoring matches students who are experiencing difficulties in a course with trained student tutors for one-on-one tutoring. The service is designed to help students with course-specific difficulties.

Whether it’s a personal matter or an academic issue, Algonquin’s Counselling Services provides counsellors caring, confidential, and professional help at no cost.

Tip #5 -- Give yourself a break

Do things that take you out of school and away from being a student. You might join a club (school or otherwise). Sing in a local choir. Take guitar lessons. Lift weights. Go for long walks. Explore the world beyond the campus.

As Agate remarks, “College is a lot of work and students need to stay healthy and strong to manage that stressful workload.

“It is also important to manage your sleep and eating patterns,” he adds. “Many students report poor sleeping and eating patterns that lead to a drop in overall wellness and mental health.”

In other words, the old saying of a change being as good as a rest applies. Not only will you expand your interests and gain different experiences, your school work will benefit by giving yourself the occasional break.