Published: Aug. 16, 2021

ralphieWhether it’s catching up with friends or starting a new semester of classes, the start of a new academic year can be an exciting time. No matter where your student is in their academic journey, here are some tips to help them start out the semester strong.

Explore campus and Boulder

Even if your student has been at CU Boulder for a year or two, encourage them to get familiar with their surroundings during the first few weeks of the semester. 

On campus, they can try the variety of dining locations, find different routes to their classes or pick a favorite study spot. If your student is living off campus, encourage them to meet their neighbors and get to know their new neighborhood. They can also try restaurants and find study spots at businesses on The Hill or Pearl Street.

Get involved

If your student is starting their second, third or final year, this is a great time to find new ways to get involved on campus and prepare for life after CU Boulder. 

The Be Involved Fair on Aug. 25 allows students to meet with student organizations and learn about volunteer opportunities in the local area. If your student is already a part of a student organization, encourage them to take on a leadership role this year to learn new skills. They could also join a leadership program, like CU GOLD or the Journey Leader Program, to learn more. 

If your student is thinking about applying for internships this year, encourage them to get started with Career Services. There are weekly workshops and programs to help students in their search and prepare for upcoming career fairs. 

Go to office hours

Faculty members often make time during the week to be available for students outside of the classroom, known as “office hours.” Office hours are an opportunity for your student to meet one-on-one with their professor to ask questions, gain a better understanding of the content or express concerns. 

Encourage your student to go to their faculty office hours during the first few weeks of the semester to introduce themselves. Getting to know professors early in the semester can make it easier to ask for help later if needed. Regularly attending office hours and establishing a rapport with faculty can also offer additional opportunities, like research projects or internships.

Get organized

The fall semester is just starting, but midterms can come up quickly. Encourage your student to use a calendar or planner and take time to get organized.

First, they can add important dates from their syllabuses to their calendar or planner. This includes exam dates, project or paper deadlines, presentations, etc. Next, they can schedule consistent blocks of time to study or review class material each week. Finally, they can take note of big papers, projects or tests coming up and break them into smaller tasks to work on throughout the semester. This helps to make progress on assignments that aren’t due for a while and avoid procrastinating until the last minute.

Use resources

As the semester progresses, encourage your student to ask for help if they feel stuck on a problem, project or a concept discussed in class. There are many free academic resources that students can use at any point in the semester, including the Writing Center and University Libraries. They can also go to faculty office hours and ask their professors about academic help in their department.