by Brian Reinhart, NLC staff

Class begins on August 26. If this is your first semester in college, you’re probably wondering: is there anything I should do before class starts? Do I need to get ready?

College classes should not be intimidating, and your first class will introduce you to most of the things you need to know. But we do have a few tips for you as you prepare to enter your first semester:

  • Know where your classes are on campus. On my first day of college, I turned up late to my first class because I went to the wrong building. At North Lake, that can be an especially big hurdle, since our Central Campus isn’t easy to navigate. Look at our maps and maybe even visit the college a few days early to familiarize yourself. Also, think about which side of campus you want to park on. NLC is surrounded by different parking lots.
  • Double-check your class schedule. Last fall a student on Central Campus asked me for directions, only to learn that he’d accidentally registered for a class at North Campus!
  • Grab a parking pass. Parking decals are completely free and it’s easy to grab one while you’re on campus to register.
  • Do only basic shopping in advance. Grab notebooks, pens, pencils, and any other essential gear before school starts. But wait until after the first day of class to splurge on textbooks, since many professors will tell you that some books are optional, online, or available on reserve at the library. (Note: if you’re buying textbooks online, this can be tricky, since delivery takes so much longer.)
  • Read up on student groups and other activities. Check our listing of student clubs, and browse the calendar for basketball games and other events. It’s a great way to make friends and get involved in your new surroundings.
  • Yes, you can bring your tablet. Some professors may have more specific policies, but if you can take notes on a laptop or tablet without getting distracted by games, friends, or the internet, go ahead. There are great notetaking programs, and many textbooks have online supplements, too.