How to Prepare for Your First Year of College

Whether you’re headed to Upper Iowa University’s main campus in Fayette, one of the 20 national education centers or taking online courses from the comfort of your own home, your first year at college can be a bit overwhelming.

In addition to focusing on your coursework there are people to meet, clubs to join and the chance to prepare yourself for the future. If you want to get the most out of the experience and maximize productivity, it’s best to go in with some idea of what to expect. Here are a few tips for students entering their first year of college.

Get Involved with Residence Life

If you’re living on campus you’ll have the opportunity to be a part of university residence life. Modern university housing allows you to choose from a variety of living spaces.

  • Traditional housing includes rooms designed for two students, with enough space for schoolwork and belongings. Bathrooms and laundry facilities are shared by the entire floor. Most freshmen live in traditional housing.
  • Apartment-style housing groups multiple bedrooms together with a shared kitchen and bathroom area.
  • Suite-style housing is primarily for upperclassmen, arranged similar to apartment-style. These rooms usually include in-suite laundry and kitchen.

All residence halls have a Resident Assistant (RA), whose purpose is to make your residential experience as positive as possible. Many RAs also serve as community social leaders, organizing events for their floor and encouraging you to talk with your neighbors. These events are a great way to meet other students and get connected with your floormates.

Clubs and Sports

In addition to residence life there are many other opportunities for you to socialize with students who share your hobbies or interests. UIU recognizes many Greek life fraternities and sororities, as well as organizations such as the Criminal Justice Club, Dance Team and Psychology Club.

Upper Iowa University is also home to the Peacocks athletics teams. We’re proud to offer:

Men’s Sports

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Wrestling

Women’s Sports

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse (starts 2018-19 season)
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball

Varsity Sports

  • Cheer

Whether you’re interested in making friends, competing or pursuing a hobby, there are a variety of ways for you to get involved!

Prioritize Education

For many people, your first year in college is also your first year living apart from family and parents. Without that constant presence to hold you accountable, it’s entirely up to you to properly budget your time between classes and other activities. Don’t let club meetings and time with friends get in the way of your main focus: your education.

Any professor will tell you that it’s important to attend class every day. You’re paying to take important courses, so it’s worth it to show up for all that you can. Not only will you learn more but it’ll be much easier to pass any future tests or classes when you know all the material.

Set aside time outside of class and away from friends to complete homework and do any studying you feel is necessary. If possible, find an ideal space specifically for getting work done. When you’re in the zone it’ll be that much easier to focus on the schoolwork in front of you!

Prepare for the Future

One of the benefits of going to a university is being able to meet and work with individuals who are experts in their field. If you know of or take classes with a professor who teaches a subject you might want to pursue a career in, take the time to speak with them outside of class and learn as much as possible. Not only are you likely to get a unique insight into your field, but getting to know professors ahead of time could potentially make it easier to get into a graduate program in the future.

UIU’s Office of Career Development provides you with relevant information to help prepare you for a successful career. Career guidance counselors can help you choose a major, write cover letters and resumes, prepare for interviews, apply to internships and more. Even if you’re unsure of what you want to do after college, the career development office can help give you an idea of what options are available to you.

Upper Iowa University offers many academic programs across multiple campuses and locations. Contact us today for information about enrollment or any questions related to your exciting first year at UIU!