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Incoming Undergraduates & Families

Tips for Your First Day of Class

» Tips for Your First Day of Class

It’s your first day of class and you’re overwhelmed. If this sounds like it could be you, don’t worry. Bringing your A game to college from day one is doable… with a little preparation. Check out these tips to make sure you’re ready for your first day at Chapman and know exactly what to expect when you get here.

Know where your classes are

Undoing a bad impression is hard, and being late on your first of class is a good way to set one. Don’t let that be you: make sure you know where all your classes are well in advance.

Before your first day of class, try walking to your classes in order, one by one. This is a good way to pinpoint where your classes are and how to get from one to the next. It also helps you learn the layout of campus. You can use the campus map to find your classes and map your route.

Know where everything else is

Beyond your classes, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with other important spots on campus, such as restrooms, places to eat or the tutoring center. Finding these places doesn’t take an active approach. As you go about your first day, try to note their locations and keep them in the back of your mind.

Give yourself time

You may know where all your classes are, but there’s still the matter of getting there. Colleges can be much bigger than high schools, and can be deceptively large. Try to leave at least 10 or 15 minutes of wiggle room as you walk to your classes, even if it means leaving a little earlier than seems necessary.

Have your supplies ready

You may not know exactly what you need for a class until you read the syllabus, but most classes will require something to take notes with: that means a laptop or tablet, or a notebook and pen or pencil if you prefer to do things old school.

Speaking of syllabi…

Read the syllabus ahead of time

Some professors post the syllabus for a class online before the class starts. Before your first day, try checking your classes in your student portal. You may find that a few of them have the syllabus already posted. You don’t have to read the entire thing, but skimming the syllabus will give you a good picture of what the class will be like and what you’ll need to buy or bring.

Need to buy your books?
If you do need to buy textbooks, check out our Campus Bookstore. You can shop by class or enter your student ID to bring up the exact textbooks you need. Alternatively, you can try looking for used copies of your textbooks online by searching the ISBN. It’s less convenient, but it’s a great way to save some cash.

Scout out a study space

You don’t need to do this one your very first day, but sometime during your first week or two, you may find it helpful to look for a study space. Think somewhere quiet and comfortable where you can be productive without distraction.

If you’re lucky, this space is your room. But if you’re the type to get distracted easily, consider looking elsewhere. Try the library (you can reserve a study space here) or Student Union to see if they work for you, or even local coffee shops.

Check out the tutoring center

Again, you don’t need to do this on your very first day, but it can help to familiarize yourself with all the academic resources available to you, such as tutoring centers. Our Tutoring and Learning Center and Writing Center, for example, can supplement your regular classes and office hours with extra help if you need it, and they can make a difference.

They can also teach you effective strategies to prepare for tests, study more effectively and even manage your time better.

Finally… don’t forget your chargers

You know how much you use your phone and other devices, and let’s face it: the answer is probably “a lot.” You don’t want yours to be running on or near empty by midday — especially since they’ll be essential for navigation, communication and your classes on your first day — so make sure to pack your chargers.


With these tips in mind, you’ll be that much more ready to start your first day of classes — and your first semester at university — off right.