Why not
e-mail us?




Reader's Forum



Free Box







Faculty/Staff directory

Top 5 Survival Tips for First-Year Students

Brooke Burger


   As first-year students in a new school and, for many, a new town, the pressures of handling class and learning the ropes can be daunting. The following comprise the top five tips first-year students need to know to have a smooth transition. 

  1. Know the Faculty

    Photo by Brooke Burger
    Bookstore - Justin Anders, senior (back) and Mindy Smith, sophomore (front) buy books from Judy Howard in the Bookstore on the first day of classes.

       This includes knowing your professors as well as your adviser. If you are having trouble in a class, do not hesitate to contact your professor. You can locate your professors’ contact information in the Faculty and Staff Directory.

       You should get to know your adviser as well. Advisers help with creating schedules and give advice for your higher education goals. If you do not know who your adviser is, go to Campus Connect, click on Student Information and select Demographic Data. You can then use the directory to locate the contact information.

  1. Use Web Resources

       The UAM Web site consists of many features that you will need to use throughout your college career, including student e-mail, Campus Connect and WebCT.

       You should check your student e-mail regularly to receive information on events, notices and your courses, as well as other beneficial information. The student e-mail Web page includes information on how to log in to your account, how to retrieve your pin number and how to change your password.

       Campus Connect provides you with all your personal school information. You can view your schedule, grades and transcript, as well as review your bill and your financial aid.

       WebCT is an important part of many courses, especially online classes. Within those courses, students can use WebCT to keep track of assignments, hold discussions with classmates, review a course calendar and keep track of grades.

       All students will need to create new WebCT accounts this semester. Follow this link to create a new account. Once you create a new account, log out and return to the WebCT login page. Click on “See courses on this server.” 

       View “UAM Fall 2007” and scroll down to find your course. Once you locate your course, click the pencil icon to add it. To add another course, you will need to log out and repeat the process. To receive more help with WebCT, go to this link.

       You can find many other helpful links here.
  1. Know the Services

       UAM has several services around campus to help you with everything from homework to health.

       You can receive counseling and testing services on the second floor of Harris Hall. These services include educational counseling, personal counseling, testing services and outreach workshops. The Counseling and Testing Center also provides free scantrons.

       Tutoring Services are also available on the second floor of Harris Hall. The tutoring services include drop-in tutoring, math and science tutoring, Residence Hall tutoring, Gateway General Education tutoring and intense math tutoring. Call 460-1454 for a list of tutoring services currently available.

       Student Health Services provide emergency first aid; health education, counseling and evaluations; health screenings; and assessments, treatment and medication for minor illnesses and injuries. The service also provides a Self-Care Center and an Exercise Center.

       The Writing Center, located in the Memorial Classroom Building, provides tutoring services for writing assignments, including pre-writing, drafting, revising and editing. The center also provides Internet access and free printing.

       The Fred J. Taylor Library and Technology Center also provides access to the Internet and other helpful resources for successfully completing the semester. The library provides an array of services including, academic reserves, interlibrary loans, online resources and reference librarian services. For a complete list of library services, visit this link.
  1. Manage Your Course Work

       Although the new-found freedoms of college can be alluring, going to class is the best way to pass the class. Many professors do not teach directly from the book; therefore, much of the tests may come from classroom notes.

       While all professors do not have a strict attendance policy, most establish attendance requirements in the course syllabus. You are responsible for any materials you miss in class.  If possible, you should inform your professor ahead of time if you are going to miss class.  It is also a good idea to get a classmate to get the notes for you.

       If you schedule your classes to fit your preferences, you may have a better chance of attending class and doing well. It may be difficult to get up for an 8 a.m. class if you work evenings or if you like to hit the snooze button a lot. You can search for classes by beginning times, academic units and instructors. You can also find course descriptions in the UAM catalogs.

       Keeping an accurate day planner is also a helpful way to keep track of assignments, tests and other important dates for your courses, including drop dates. You can find a list of events on the Campus Calendar.
  1. Know the Departments

    Photo by Brooke Burger

    Financial Aid - (counter-clockwise) Krystal Haynes, junior; Terricka Harden, junior; Shannon Fox, sophomore; and John Fox, first-year student handle business on the first day of classes.

       As a college student, you will deal with several departments on campus on a regular basis to handle your bill, financial aid and other information.

       Every year, you will need to update your financial aid. The Financial Aid Office aids in this task as well as providing help with student loans, work-study jobs and other forms of financial aid.

       The Registrar’s Office supervises registration for classes, maintains academic records and issues transcripts. The office also provides forms for changing your adviser, changing your major and forms for adding or dropping a course.

       The Cashier’s Office distributes pay checks and refund checks and handles student bills for each semester.

       Public Safety not only provides safety for the campus but also provides parking stickers, which must be purchased every year.  Public Safety officers also provide an escort service if you are traveling across campus late at night.

       Information and Technology provide students with technological help as well as registering dorm room computers for the Internet. The Information and Technology Web site consists of tutorials and how to’s for UAM Web programs and Web programs in general.


   The college experience does not consist of only academic studies, all facets of college life are important to your success.  However, establishing a balance between your social life and your academic life will better prepare you for the future that lies ahead.  Knowing the ropes of your campus community is an important step in establishing that balance.


Have a comment? Please e-mail us.

ŠThe Voice 2007
01/13/2008 03:20:47 PM —