How to Prepare for Your First Semester at University


The lead-up to college is often scary and filled with doubts. What if you don’t click with anyone? What if the material is too challenging for you? With so many questions and fears swirling through your head, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed with the prospect of starting your first semester.

One of the best ways to minimize those doubts and feel more excited than frightened is to prepare as much as you can. So, if you’re getting ready to start your first ever semester at college, here is what you should do beforehand.

Buy Textbooks and a Laptop


The first step to preparing for university is making sure you have all of your textbooks bought and ready – as well as a decent laptop. Your university should tell you your reading list so that you can use that to shop around for the best textbook prices.

When it comes to choosing a laptop, that’s up to you. Consider a Lenovo laptop for high performance, good battery life, and a reasonable price.

With this laptop, you can study online and find tutors near you through sites like, which is an educational website where you can find lessons and courses online.

Join the University’s Social Media Groups

Universities often have various social media groups for freshmen. Find the ones that relate to your studies and join them to connect with the people you will be studying with for the next four years.

Networking like this sooner rather than later will make the first weeks far less scary! You could even plan to meet up with some other students in your class.

Check Out the Campus

Instead of waiting until your first day to check out the campus, get there early to figure out where everything is. Doing so is especially helpful if your college campus is huge!

Even simply wandering around and taking in the atmosphere can help prepare you for university life. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for clubs you might want to join.

Do the Reading

The last thing you want as a college freshman is to turn up on the first day of class and have no clue what the professor is talking about. To avoid this, do as much of the reading as you can before your first day.

Even better – do some extra reading! It’s a productive way to spend your last summer before college.

Create a Budget


There is a reason for the typical broke student stereotype – most students don’t have much money. At all. While there are ways around this, like applying for scholarships and part-time jobs, you may have to accept that your time as a student will be less than luxurious.

To prepare for that, set yourself a budget each semester. Once you start university, it’s important to stick to it as closely as you can. You don’t want to run out of grocery funds, after all! Check this website for advice on student budgeting.

Introduce Yourself to Your Professors

Most students want to make a good impression on their professors. To do so, introduce yourself to your new professors before the semester begins.

Open the conversation by asking them simple questions, such as if they have any extra reading material you could do before class. It will make a good impression, and you’ll feel more at ease knowing who will be teaching you.

Download Study Apps

Technology has provided students with great ways to study over the years, including study apps. Before settling into your new dorm, research the best study apps and get them downloaded on your device before starting your first day of class.

Check out College Raptor for study apps every student should use.

Invest in Stationary

Tuition, textbooks, and technology will take up a big bulk of your budget, but you should also think about getting some good stationery.

While you might do most of your work on your laptop, it’s always useful to have a good set of pens, pencils, rulers, etc. If you’re unsure what you’ll need, you can always contact your professor beforehand.

Look into a Part-time Job


Many students decide to work alongside their studies. If you choose this route, it’s a good idea to look at part-time jobs before you arrive before all the best positions have been filled.

Luckily, there are often plenty of opportunities for students to make an extra buck. You could work behind a bar, work as wait staff, get a job in a bookshop, or apply for a position at the nearby Starbucks. You might also look into making money through tutoring if you’re a star student! Tutor has great advice on making money as a tutor.

If you’re not sure where to look, colleges often have noticeboards of local part-time jobs, so look there for student job openings.

Get to Know Your Schedule

Knowing what is ahead always makes things less stressful. That’s why learning your schedule before your first day of class is a good idea. Not only will knowing your schedule fill you with ease, but it’ll also make it easier to plan what you might do with your free time.

If you see you have an afternoon free on your first day of class, you could plan to sign up for some social clubs.

Brush Up on Your Social Skills

If you’ve had a long summer without much social interaction, don’t wait until your first day of college to stretch your social wings.

Instead, brush up on your social skills by getting out and meeting up with friends – new and old. It will make the task of meeting new people at university much less daunting.

Start Packing

Finally, to prepare for your first ever semester at university, start packing! This part can be emotional and exciting at the same time. You might feel sad knowing that you’re packing up your childhood bedroom. At the same time, you’re going on a whole new adventure.

If you’re living in university dorms, remember that you don’t need to take all your possessions – only what you need. It’s a good idea to make a university packing list before you get started. Click here for advice on planning your packing.

Starting university will be filled with a range of emotions. You will feel nervous, excited, and curious all at once. For a smooth-running first semester (and beyond), be sure to prepare as much as possible.

Written by Kan Dail