How to Prepare for a Successful First Day of Class (+ A Free Printable Checklist!)

Hi, friends! It’s almost time for the fall 2016 semester to start. The best way to ensure you have a successful first day of class (and a successful semester) is to prepare accordingly. In this post, I give you a chronological guide to help you prepare for a wonderful few months.

How to Prepare for a Successful First Day of School Class | It's almost time to go back to school! Here's how to prepare to have a successful first day of class.

It's almost time to go back to school! Here's how to prepare to have a successful first day of… Click To Tweet

Start Preparing Now For Your First Day of Class

Now is the time to start making way for all the papers you’ll acquire throughout the upcoming semester. To do that, you should tidy up your workspace. Clearing out your desk and wiping it down would be a great place to start. It would also be a good idea to go through your bookshelves and drawers and reorganize them. Throw away, donate, or sell things you no longer need…

You also need to decide which papers to throw away and which to keep. I’d recommend keeping essays from scholarship applications and English classes, notes and tests from classes required for your major or things you’d like to refer to in the future. Keep these in a safe place. On the other hand, you can throw away duplicates, scratch papers, and notes from your electives.

Action steps:

  • Clear out and wipe down your desk.
  • Go through your drawers and bookshelves. Decide what to do with things you no longer need.
  • Determine which papers you’ll throw away and which you’ll keep. Appropriately file away the papers you’ll keep.
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1 Month Before (Early July)

Early July is the most exciting, yet stressful time to prepare for the school year. It’s exciting because at this point, you are ready to buy supplies, but you also have to take care of boring things such as financial aid.

At this stage, you can start looking into which supplies you’ll need for class. Make a list and go out to buy them! Similarly, look into which textbooks you’ll need and decide if you want to buy them right away. (In my case, especially in classes required for my major, I like to rent them right away and return them if it turns out I don’t need them). I’d recommend renting or buying at Chegg.com or Amazon.com; buying from your university bookstore is a rookie mistake.

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Another fun thing you can do is buy a new planner and insert dates from your school’s academic calendar. Write down special events or what days you have off.

Something else (that unfortunately is less fun but still has to be done) is ensuring that your financial aid is in order. Be sure to visit your school’s financial aid office to turn in your tax documents and ask about renewing your financial aid.

Action steps:

  • Buy supplies
  • Investigate which textbooks you need and order them
  • Make sure your financial aid is in order
  • Transfer important dates from your school’s academic calendar to your planner…

2 Weeks Before (Late July-Early August)

Now that you have your supplies, start to prepare your mind and body for the new school year and for your first day of class. It’s time to stabilize your sleep schedule by going to bed at a reasonable hour and waking up a little bit earlier every day. To prepare your mind, I’d suggest reading (or at least skimming over) the first chapter of the textbooks, especially for classes required by your major or classes you know will be tough. For example, in my case, it would be a good idea to look over my chemistry and cell biology textbooks. This will give you some background knowledge and will keep you from feeling totally lost on the first day.

Another thing you can do to prepare is to reflect on last semester. What worked for you? What didn’t? What can you do better this time around? And finally, how can you implement your plans for improvement? This reflection will help you set goals for the new semester. After you’ve set your goals, write them down so you can be reminded of them.

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Action steps:

  • Start waking up on time
  • Read the first chapter of textbook
  • Determine your approach/set goals

1 Week Before (Mid August)

At this point, there is a good chance you will already have your class syllabi. It’s a good time to write in the dates from your syllabi to your planner. You can even start your color coding system.

Another thing to do the week before is to take a trip to campus, if possible, and find out where your classes are. It’s good to know the route you will take from class to class. It’ll keep you from getting lost and help you estimate how long your walks will take.

Action steps:

  • Locate your classes on campus
  • Transfer syllabi dates to your planner

The Night Before (Late August)

It’s go time! The goal is to set yourself up for an easy morning by preparing the night before your first day of class. It would be a good idea to pack your backpack, choose your outfit, and get a good night’s sleep. Also, make sure your schedule is in an easily visible place so you can quickly reference it.

Action steps:

  • Pack your bag
  • Set out your outfit
  • Get enough sleep
  • Put your class schedule in an easily visible place
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Now, for the fun part… the printable checklist!

This printable checklist includes all the calls to action from this post. Click the picture below to download it!


If you want to have a great first day of class, and a great semester, you should take time to prepare for it. Doing simple things like clearing out your desk, buying your supplies and textbooks beforehand, transferring important dates to your planner, and setting goals will make sure you’re starting off on the right foot.


 

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  • Planete Sam

    Great post !
    In my uni in France, we have our class syllabi at first each class… It’s not easy to work before classes. I find your system better than our !
    I’m discovering your blog and I like it 🙂 have a good continuation
    E.S.

    • Hi! Thank you for your comment. I’m so glad you like my blog 🙂 We get our syllabus the first day of class, too, but some professors will email it to us before so we know what’s coming.