Are you ready for college? Eight tips to prepare.

Posted: 09/11/14 |
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It’s that time of year again. Students are heading back to school, both excited and nervous to see what the new year brings. This is especially true for all of our brothers and sisters who are the first in their family to attend college, are undocumented, are low income and or have never lived away from the comforts of home. Well not to worry! DEEP is here to help you transition and ease into school! We recommend these eights key tips to do as you walk on campus and into the classroom.

1) Find your scholarship and financial aid office

Building a relationship with the scholarship and financial aid office staff is key! The staff will be the people that you will work with to set up payment plans, look into emergency loans, look for scholarships and institutional aid opportunities. They will also provide support if you ever find yourself in a financial emergency.

2) Find the main library

The library is a hub of resources in which you can do more than check out books and study. You can also find support groups and save money on books by ordering the books required for your classes instead of buying them through the campuses interlibrary loan system or participating in a book swap!

3) Find out when your campus activities fair takes place

During the campus activities fair, you can check out all the student clubs on campus. It’s a great place to find folks with interests similar to yours to begin to build your network. This is a great space to find free things ranging from water bottles to pens to tickets for an on campus games!

4) Find out if your school has a student transportation pass

Many campuses have a partnership with local transit authorities that provides students with transit passes for a smaller fee. In some instances, your transit pass is included in your tuition. Make sure that you take advantage of this pass and that you know where to pick it up.

5) Find your student health center

Included in your student fees is a health services fee which grants you 4-8 free counseling sessions, free check-up appointments and discounts on medicine and tests. Take advantage of them!

6) Find out where your professor’s offices are and when they have office hours

Building a relationship with your professors is crucial. You want to get to know them and make sure that you are comfortable asking them clarifying questions on the class syllabus, homework, tests, lectures, and their interest in the subject they teach. Once you develop a relationship, you will feel more comfortable asking for extensions and using their office hours in times of need.

7) Do your research on current networks and issues taking place on campus

What is your campus currently working on or advocating for? As a student you have the opportunity to set up a meeting with the president of your university by going to his office and asking for his availability. And if you’re interested in a specific issue, say immigration, check out what courses are available on the subject and look up who teaches them. Set up a time to meet with them to build your network, find a mentor or champion and share your voice!

8) Simply, take advantage of being a student

With your student ID you get plenty of benefits, in other words, student discounts and free things! This usually includes discounts to restaurants, shopping malls, computer software and programs. Your campus will bring speakers, host concerts and events for free with food! If you like to print there will also be free printing in specific departments on campus so find out where and take advantage of it all.

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Laura Bohórquez is UWD's DEEP Program Coordinator and dedicates her education to advocate for immigrant and educational rights. Follow her on Twitter