Buying Books.

My freshman year, I was all worried and brought all my books from the bookstore. That is SO unnecessary and frankly a waste of money. However, the Hammes Bookstore should still be your first stop in the book buying process to see what books you actually need.

Select your program, course, and section
Select your program, course, and section
Note the ISBN number and cover art.
Note the ISBN number, title, and cover art.

Here are some ways to save money:

  1. If you or someone you know has computer skills, you can sometimes find the book online. And check your major’s Facebook Page for people who post the pdf version or offer to email it to you.
  2. Search Amazon and other book sites for extremely cheap or Rent versions of the books you need.
  3. Email your professor and see if you actually need the book. Sometimes professors put books on the list that are just for reference. Other times, the textbook is listed but the all of the necessary information is taught in lecture.
  4. Attend the sporting events advertising a chance to win a free semester of books! I won the halftime shooting contest at a women’s lacrosse game and won free books!!!!
  5. Unfortunately if you ever need an online webcode like WebAssign for homework or quizzes, you will have to dole out the money. There is no way around it.

How to Survive the Workload.

My best advice for conquering college classes is to BE A PERFECT STUDENT UNTIL YOU GET YOUR FIRST EXAM* BACK. (* Exam= test in college.)
That means attend all classes. Stay on top of your homework. Do the suggested reading. And study A LOT for your first test/quiz/ paper. Then after you receive your first grade, you can adjust and reassess your effort. It is so much easier to ease up than to struggle to save your grade. Remember grades in college are fewer and farther between. There is more material per exam and if you don’t keep up, you will fall extremely far behind.

Help Available if You are Struggling.

Office Hours and Help Sessions

Attending the office hours or help sessions held by your professors or TAs (teaching assistant, who is usually a grad student or another student who took the class before) is a no brainer! Remember professors write the tests and are in charge of your grade. Plus most of them are awesome people who actually care about you and want you to learn the material and succeed. TAs are really helpful when your professor is too smart for the class. Since they are younger in age and learned the material pretty recently, they can often teach you in an easier way to understand.

First Year Studies Learning Resource Center/Writing Center

In the Learning Resource Center located in COMO (Coleman-Morse Center Building), you can sign up for free weekly tutoring sessions. You can also have someone proofread your papers by signing up for a time slot at the Writing Center. Here is a link to the First Year Studies site.

General FYIs about Classes.

  1. You do not have to raise your hand and ask to use the restroom. Just get up and go.
  2. The benefit of college is you do not have to pay attention (or even attend!) your easy and boring classes. Class size decides the amount of leeway you have with this. In large lecture classes held in big auditoriums, you can basically do whatever you want, whereas in small classes of 10-15 people, your absence or absence of mind will be noted.
  3. This freedom does not mean you can be disruptive!! Others may still be trying to learn. And keep in mind that while you are scrolling through Facebook on your laptop, the people in the row behind you can see everything you are doing.
  4. Depending on your major (and IQ) classes will be harder in college! As a mechanical engineering major, I took Gen Chem my freshman year (which I believe is no longer a requirement). On my first test, I got a 78. I cried in the shower. I had never even seen an 87 in high school. But now I realize class averages are actually in the 60s and everything rounds up to high Bs and As. Don’t freak out!!!!
  5. Check your syllabus to see if the grade cutoffs are set or if your are “competing” against your peers. For example, in some classes a 88% average is an A no matter how many people get it. In the “competing” category, if the average is a 88%, and you get a 88 then you probably would end up with some type of B.
  6. About 90% of the time, other kids in your classes are smart and pull their own weight in group projects. As much as ND admissions strives for diversity, everyone was pretty much the smart overachiever at their high school. So your competition for grades is much harder, but you also can ask for help or do homework together and actually learn stuff!

Taking Notes/ Organizing.

Each person has his/her own method. I take notes on my iPad through the Notability app (see my review here) in combination with Google docs. This way I have my entire life’s work in school at my fingertips at all times. It is also great for sharing notes with others!

At the Activities Night during the 2nd week of school, you get a free planner. It has coupons!!…that I have never used.

Viewing Available Classes/Schedule Options.

The Monday after orientation you can schedule a meeting with your advisor to switch classes or address any problems that you might have about your schedule that came out in the summer. On Tuesday, classes begin.

Whether good or bad, you as a freshman do not get to pick your fall course schedule. If you do want to change a class on Monday, you can see what other options are available by logging into your insideND, clicking the Student Academic Tab at the top of the screen and then clicking the Class Search icon.

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Then pick the topic or program your desired class is under.

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What you want to look for is the Opn column which stands for spots open. In other words, if you see a number 1 or higher, you can join the class without special permission. Also check the When column which gives you the days and time the class occurs.

Classes come in 2 types by day:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 50 min long
Tuesday, Thursday: 1 hour 15 minutes long

Additionally click the link for the course description to see if your course requires any prerequisites, if there are any tutorials/labs that must be taken at the same time, or if you must be a certain year or major to take the class.