How to start college on the right track

Are you going to college for the first time this year? Here are some helpful tips from St Anthony's & Claddagh Credit Union and St Jarlath's Credit Union to help you on your way.

Accommodation: Demand for accommodation is very high so getting your applications in early is essential. Always try to view your accommodation before you agree to rent it, to ensure it is suitable for your needs and is not too far from your chosen college. Do not leave it too late to apply.

Library inductions are offered to first year students during their first month of college and should not be missed. The library is not the easiest place to navigate and almost immediately you will be expected to know how to use it.

The weather: It rains all the time in Ireland, even in the summer. Get yourself a good coat; this coat will be your best friend and you will bring it everywhere with you.

It's OK to ask for help: The transition from school to college can be quite stressful and daunting. Make sure you know where to find help to make the transition easier, such as the students’ union, student welfare services, chaplain services, and guidance counsellor.

Go to lectures: Yes, this sounds like advice that will fall on deaf ears, but being in lectures is important to get up to date information on exams and get on top of assignments. You may also be surprised at the information you will retain from being in the lecture, which will come in handy when it comes to exam time, even if it is a class with hundreds of students and there is not an attendance sheet make it your business to be there.

Get your notes from a reliable source: If you miss class, you need to know about upcoming projects, exams, and tutorials. Do not get left behind — ask a friend or fellow student who you know is a good note taker the next day you are back in college. Do not leave it until study week to be getting your notes as this will be stressful, and also people will want to have their notes for studying. Those notes you missed could be a question on the exam paper.

Exercise and eat healthy: Pizza at 2am is all right once in a while, but try to eat healthy most of the time and get some exercise in, as it helps you focus.

Take advantage of your first week: Put yourself out there, make friends, and attend university-sponsored activities that are meant to help new students acclimatise.

Time management: Experts agree adjusting to a life of independence, coming from the heavily structured environment of school, is difficult for students. Find time to study, do laundry, and hang out with friends.

Finances: Keeping track of money can be a difficult task during college as there will always be unexpected expenses which will pop up during the year. To help keep track of these expenses why not open a St Anthony’s & Claddagh Credit Union or St Jarlath’s Credit Union account today to help you be prepared for these unexpected expenses by having savings. The credit unions also have dedicated student loan officers to talk to about the CU4 Education loan when things get tough financially and avail of an excellent loan rate of 5.5 per cent (5.66 per cent APR ).

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