6 Things to Know Before You Start College

IPRSo you’re ready to make your college selection. Congratulations, that is a big decision. There is more to do though. Here are six things you should know before that first day of class.

1.   Important Deadlines

There wouldn’t be anything worse than missing an important deadline and putting a halt to the start of your college career. Be sure to look at IPR’s deadlines to know exactly when you can submit your applications. An admissions representative can also provide that information.

Oftentimes the earlier you apply the better for admissions, so apply as soon as you’re ready. IPR sends acceptance letters to those who have met the entrance requirements. Your FAFSA should also be filled out as early as possible after January 1st. The sooner you file, the more likely you are to get the most financial help.

2.   Course Loads

Being recognized as a full-time student at IPR means taking a minimum of 16 credits per term. Generally, the more credits, the more work and time you have to put into the quarter. Take enough to be rigorous and complete your degree in a reasonable timeframe, but acknowledge that you will be spending time to complete assignment for all those courses, in addition to readings and exams.

Keep up with your syllabus; it’s the ultimate guide to your courses throughout the semester. College involves a lot of independence which means that you have to stay on top of things for your classes. Instructors will hold you responsible for due dates, so keep your syllabus handy!

A syllabus typically covers everything from attendance policies to grading scales to the term schedule of the course including due dates. Start the term off right by staying on top of your school work. Getting behind will only make your experience more and more stressful as your coursework begins to pile up.

Do yourself a huge favor. Buy a planner, or download an app and use it!

3.   To Purchase or Not to Purchase

Textbooks take a toll on your wallet and that is a fact. Once you get your syllabus, you can look through the required readings and see what resources will be necessary for purchase. IPR utilizes eResources in the coursework. This provides access to eBooks and other resources used within the course curriculum. IPad’s® are a required tool for an IPR’s student education. There is a scholarship available for a full-time students’ iPad®. Information on this scholarship is available from the admissions and financial aid department.

When it comes to software, for general education courses the basics like Microsoft Office are needed to complete assignments. Industry software, which can be hard on a students’ budget, is available for student use on campus in our labs and studiosWe recommend learning on the provided resources before making an investment in the software. That way you’ll know which of them works best for you and the type of projects you’ll want to do.

4.   Don’t Fear New Places and New FacesIPR students

The transition to college can be a scary one. Embrace it! New experiences shape us as people. Even before a student starts at IPR, they are provided an opportunity to get to know other future students through our Facebook groups. Students are invited to join a group that consists of other students enrolled to start the very same quarter. This is a great opportunity to find out who else is attending your college, what interests you share, and perhaps even find a roommate. At IPR we value the sense of community and this is another way we’ve found to promote our culture.

Be sure to sit next to someone in your first class and introduce yourself. There is unlimited opportunities your first couple days of classes to meet a ton of new people. This means new contacts and new friendships which is what life is all about. Soak up the change and your new surroundings.

Make a solid first impression; you will be spending the next couple months, if not more, with these fellow students. Don’t forget that you’re not the only one with these feelings. There is at least one other person in the same position as you, if not many more.

5.   Resources

Grab a map! If you feel lost in your new surroundings, that’s okay. You’ll get the swing of it before you know it. Take an extra few minutes your first day to familiarize yourself with where you’re going.

The faculty and staff at your institution are at your disposal, so take advantage of this resource. They will help you get your courses on track so you complete all the requirements for graduation in the most logical order. More often than not, they know a lot about your area of study and can help you get a better understanding, too.

Your instructors are the best resource around. These people have degrees and more knowledge in your field than any textbook or internet source. They have hands-on, real-world experience that will benefit you beyond any assigned reading, and they are there to help.

Use your instructor’s office hours; they have them each week for a reason.

6.   Get Involved

Get your social life rolling outside of class by getting involved on campus. This will help you meet new faces and expand your social circle while also filling up your calendar. Start networking with other students, collaborate with each other on projects, and attend local event. The more people you know, the more opportunities that come knocking on your door. So start networking now! Get out there, and get involved. Be seen.

*Apple, the Apple logo, iPad, Mac, MacBook, and MacBook Air are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iBookstore is a service mark of Apple Inc. Programs may vary by campus.

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