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Ten tips for incoming students

August 7, 2017

You’ve moved into your residence hall, met your roommate, memorized your class schedule, and found the dining halls. . . . Now what? Students and staff members offer tips to help adjust to college life.


ok sign“Take a breath. It’s okay to be nervous. Everyone else is nervous. They don’t know what they’re doing, because no one knows what they’re doing. You’re all just figuring it out together.”

—Katie Emmons ’17

Seek out positive experiences.

“You’re going to experience things you may never have known before: different kinds of people, food, classes, and maybe even climate. Embrace all of the things you may not immediately see as exciting or positive. Be open to change.”

—Laura Gavigan, associate director, College Center for Advising Services

Budget your time.

“For every hour you’re in class, you should be studying three or four hours outside of class. Think about that when you put your schedules together, and when you take on all the responsibilities of clubs, which add vibrancy and are so important to our community. I’ve seen students in situations where their academics suffer because they’re too involved, and that’s not healthy for anybody.”

—Beth Olivares, dean for diversity


“Try something you’ve never done before. We have more than 250 student clubs, and they’re willing to take you at any level. Keep your eyes and ears open, go to events and see what people do, and say, ‘Hey, maybe I want to do that.’”

—Anne-Marie Algier, associate dean of students and director of student activities

Chart your course.

“Take a variety of classes. Try a little bit here and there. Experiment. You have a lot of freedom to find what you really want to do.”

—Scott Saucier ’19

Be engaging.

“Meet as many people as possible. There’s a special type of person that decides to go to this University, and there are a few thousand of them you can meet. Do it!”

—Alex Copperman ’20

Keep talking.

“It’s important for students and parents to be willing to renegotiate expectations. They may have a plan to talk every day at 6 p.m. But as the student becomes involved in studies and clubs, that may become less of a possibility. But you have to keep the lines of communication open.”

—Dawn Bruner, director of Parent and Family Relations

Get involved.

“Join everything and then figure out what you like as you go through the semester. You’re joining a University that’s deep with traditions and community. Learn about those traditions and all of the many men and women Rochester has sent into the world to do wonderful and amazing things.”

—Eleanor Oi, director of orientation

Learn the campus.

“The best thing you can do the first week at the University is to get comfortable, learn the campus, learn about the people you’re going to be around, and explore as many clubs, activities, and locations as you can. Take the initiative to make the University feel like a home.”

—Tom Hogrefe ’19

Get out of your room.

“You always have a good connection with people you live with, but that’s a very small percentage of your class. Get involved in clubs, get into the city, and get out of the campus bubble.”

—Liz Priore ’19

For more advice for back to school, listen to the latest episode of the University’s Quadcast podcast.

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Category: Student Life

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