Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Getting Started

When you start college, you are moving into a new learning culture. This is true whether you are fresh out of high school, a non-traditional student, or an international student. Obviously, you already know a lot about studying from your previous learning experiences, but you will probably have to develop some new approaches to study to suit the new learning environment.

On this page you will learn about about some practical aspects of college life.

Get to know people Establish good study habits Get the things you need


Get to know your instructors

This is important in an academic sense (you probably won’t spend much time socializing with them). You need to know what your instructors value in academic terms. What do they expect of you? What do they want you to learn?

Some tips are for answering these questions are:

  • Read your class syllabus carefully.
  • Talk to other students
  • Talk to your instructors. The best time to talk to your teachers is in class. That’s one of the reasons why it’s
    important to speak up at appropriate times. You can also talk to your instructors out of class; most of them have
    office hours, which are usually listed on the class syllabus and/or their office door.
  • Find out how to contact your instructors and classmates. They may not be on campus every day, so you need
    a phone number or an e-mail address.
  • Use e-mail — it is often the best way to contact your instructor.
  • Take note of the aims and objectives. Read through the syllabus and write important due dates and exam
    dates on your semester calendar. When you do an assignment make sure you know what the instructor wants.
    Don’t assume anything! Ask! , especially previous students of the teacher. They can often help you to understand
    where the teacher is coming from.

Get to know fellow students You need friends in college! Friends will keep you sane and happy, and friends will help you study. Some good ways to make friends are:

  • accept invitations to do things with other students.
  • really get involved—volunteer to do something.
  • ask other students to do things with you (go to the movies, have a coffee or a drink, share a meal…)
  • relax and smile.

Some good ways to make friends to help you study are:

  • talk to the people in your classes — before and after, and in the breaks.
  • suggest forming a study group.

It’s very helpful to talk with other students in your class. Talking over your lectures, reading, assignments and tutorials with others helps you to:

  • make sense of the subject and understand it better.
  • remember what you’ve been studying.
  • develop your own ideas.
  • do better in assignments.
  • Sharing ideas is a very good way to study—just be careful you don’t all hand in the same assignment!


It’s a good idea to set up some good study routines as soon as possible. You will probably break these routines as the year goes along— that’s part of the fun of being a student — but an underlying pattern of good study is essential. Managing your time wisely is crucial.

If you don’t use your time wisely, you can easily fall behind in your studies, get stressed about your work, and be poorly prepared when it comes to the exams. The time management page on this site will help you to set up routines for managing your time.

Managing your notes is also important. You need a good system and you need to be well organized. You will probably want to collate your lectures notes and handouts together with the notes you take from readings on similar topics. You may want to keep a 3-ring binder for carrying around with you, and transfer your notes into a more stable filing system at home.

If you have time, typing your notes and printing a hard copy is a good idea. You can save the notes on your computer or on a pen drive and reformat into practice tests later for studying.

Managing your health and fitness is also important. So it’s a good idea to get into some good routines of sleeping, eating and getting exercise. Find out more about how to keep fit and healthy at UACCH’s page on Stress Management.


Books It is a good idea to buy the main textbook(s) for your courses.

School Supplies Don’t stint on school supplies. Well-made notebooks, good quality paper and good pens will make your life better and your study more effective.

Computer Although UACCH has good computer labs, it is very helpful to have your own computer at home. You should think carefully about what sort of computer to get to suit your study needs. Your instructors or previous students in your major may have some suggestions about what computer and software will fit your needs.

Dictionary All students are strongly encouraged to buy a good English dictionary.