First Day of Classes: College Edition

Posted by Gerrin T. Alexander

August 20, 2019 at 11:00 AM

College Back-to-School Tips and Tricks


Okay Prepster, you aren’t in high school anymore! No one is there 24/7 to coddle you or hold your hand and guide you through every decision you must make. Studying for exams isn’t as easy as subscribing to Prepmedians and watching videos with all the content you need to know on the exam. Your professors have expectations and if you don’t meet them, well, that’s on you.🤷

Professors expect you to be more responsible and independent than your high school teachers presumed. Therefore, follow these tips to ensure that you perform at your optimal level and make the most of your classes and professors.

Promptness and Punctuality

Make a good first impression by not strolling in late to class. Pleeaaasssseeee do yourself a favor and make the effort to be punctual for the first day of class. Set three, six, nine, etc. alarms if that’s what it takes to get you out of bed, especially if you have an early morning class which unfortunately, are sometimes unavoidable. Therefore, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Check out Chris’ article “Sleep Deprivation in College” to learn the causes and consequences of sleep deprivation.

Try to head to class early with at least ten minutes to spare. This way you can guarantee that you’ll have a seat in case other students had the same idea. At my school, students that aren’t even enrolled in a class still show because they want to get in if someone intends on dropping the course. If you’re too early, occupy yourself by reading or grabbing a quick cup of coffee. However, being late draws attention to you as you enter and I would not recommend making an enemy of your professor on the first day. My parents have always told me that if you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late, and if you’re late you’re not needed anymore. So, be prompt and arrive early!


I’m not going to lie, seating yourself depends on several external factors… 1. Do you fall asleep easily? If the answer is yes, then you should probably sit in the front of the class. This will hopefully push you to stay awake so you don’t knock out in front of your professor… Yikes! 2. Are you talkative with friends? If the answer is yes, then you should probably sit near someone you don’t know or sit in a row by yourself. As hard as it may be, you should be paying attention in class anyways. No tea, no shade, just facts! 3. Is your sight or hearing limited? If so, then sitting towards the front of the class should help. 4. What does your schedule look like? If you have another class right after one ends, it’s best you sit near the door so that it is easier for you to exit the building.


When it comes to school supplies, just bring the basics for the first day of classes. This includes: pens, pencils, binder or folder, loose-leaf paper or a notebook, and highlighters. On the first day, you should be receiving a syllabus for each class. This is why it’s necessary to have a folder or binder to put your syllabus and handouts in.

However, just because the first day of class is typically “Syllabus Day”, does not mean that it is not important. And stating so could not be further from the truth. Use the first day to feel out the professor as they go through an overview of the course and the course policies. This information is vital, so make it a point to be prepared in class to make your first day count!

Besides your exam days, the first day of class is one of the most important days of the course. So, be prepared, focused, and most importantly, present.

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Posted by Gerrin T. Alexander

Gerrin scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Fun fact: She has done the #wopchallenge on nearly every corner of the campus, including the quad.