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First-Generation Students

Practical Advice

Deloris McGee Wanguri ,Professor
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


When I think back to my first year in college, I think I would have benefitted from hearing the following practical words of advice. 

  1. Attend class.  Although college offers more independence than high school did, college instructors expect you to attend class and many call roll and will penalize you for excessive absences.
  2. Purchase required books for your classes.  In college you have to purchase your own textbooks.  If money is tight and you cannot afford to purchase all your books at the beginning of the semester, purchase those which you will need to read early in the semester.
  3. Read the required books for your classes.  Once you purchase your textbooks, you do have to read them.  In general college classes will require more reading than you had to do in high school.  Many college instructors will test you over assigned readings from your textbooks as well as lectures and handouts.  
  4. Pay close attention to the course syllabus for each class you are taking.  Most college instructors will distribute and discuss a course syllabus during the first week of classes.  The syllabus is like a contract between the instructor and the students who are enrolled in that class.  It provides a detailed description of the course, course goals, grading procedures, course policies, and due dates for assignments.
  5. Talk to the instructor if you have questions.  If you are uncomfortable asking questions during class, meet with the instructor during his/her office hours.
  6. Enjoy the college experience.  Although classes are important, college life is more than just going to class.  Find a campus activity that you enjoy to complement your academic studies.

Deloris McGee Wanguri

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Last updated or reviewed on 9/30/14

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