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Back to School Tips | Schools

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Back to School Tips

With the new school year right around the corner, incoming college freshman may be getting anxious: Tons of homework, strict professors, HEAVY books, too many parties, and a campus that’s ten times the size of your high school! But fear not my fellow terrapins; we've got some tips to help you have a successful semester.

Our Top Five Tips

1) Sit up front in all of your classes
 It’s easy to get behind in big lecture classes with 300 students in them. Sitting
 behind rows of students can be distracting. To ensure that you hear what the
 professor is saying, and see what they are writing on the board, sit as close to the front as you can.

2) Get to know your professors

You will be one in a sea of many, introduce yourself to your professor so they
 know who you are. Professors are more likely and better able to help you when they can put a face to the name. Professors want you to do well, so take advantage of office hours.

3) Go to class

Even with textbooks and online power points, the experience you get in the classroom is invaluable. Be prepared for pop quizzes that you won’t be able to make up, a grade for participating in class, and some information that you can receive only in the classroom.

4) Take your time when making your schedule

Space classes out so you have enough time to walk to and from each one. Do your research before picking a class; utilize websites like Rate My Professor and OurUMD to check out what other students are saying about the teacher and the course. Don’t overdo it with too many classes in your first semester!

5) Get familiar with your campus

Before the first day of school, take a walk around the campus and figure out where all of your classes are. Don’t be that awkward student that walks into class 15 minutes late on the first day! Take advantage of everything that the campus has to offer: Rock climbing walls, camping equipment and boat rentals, pools, a gym, and a several libraries, just to name a few, are all at your disposal.


We talked to other Terps on campus to get the low down on how they've managed to survive
throughout their college years

1) Get all of your books- and use them!

Books can be expensive, but they are a necessity if you want to do well. Books reiterate what you’ve learned in class, and are helpful for catching up when you’ve missed a lecture (but of course you won’t do that). You can find discounted textbooks at these sites: Bookholders, Amazon, and Maryland Book Exchange.

2) Find a balance between social life and academics

Academics come first and partying comes second. Don’t miss your Friday morning class because you just had to go out for Thirsty Thursday! Also, many schools within the university require you maintain a certain GPA, or risk getting be kicked out. There will be plenty of time for socializing during your four years at school.

3) Get involved

From sororities and fraternities, to the Harry Potter Quidditch team, the university offers more than 500 clubs and organizations to get involved with. Make sure you attend the First Look Fair to see what appeals to you.

4) Get into a routine

With such a busy schedule, you will find it helpful to get into a routine. Designate time to do your homework each week so you don’t get behind. Despite what you may have heard, procrastination is not your friend.  

5) Make friends

There are thousands of other students in your position trying to make friends. Common hangout spots on campus are TerpZone, McKeldin Mall, and Route 1 bars and restaurants. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people in class, as well as in your dorm. Exchange numbers and contact information with at least one person in your classroom.


By: Shannon Atran and Alexa Schwartzman