FIRST Tips and Tricks

First year program presents the first six weeks checklist

Opening Weekend AUGUST 18-20

  • Move into your Residence Hall Room (8/18)
  • Find your classes during Campus Class Roam (8/20)
  • Check Blackboard for any early instructions from your instructors
  • Purchase your textbooks from the Antelope Book Store in the Union

WEEK 1: AUGUST 21-27

  • Adjust your schedule if needed. This is the only week you can do this without written permission and for free.
  • Organize! Once you attend all of your classes look over your syllabi and figure out when papers, tests, and projects are due. Put these into a calendar or organizer of some sort so you don’t miss one of those important dates.
  • Decide whether or not you are going to be able to study in your room, or if you are in need of that perfect study hideaway. Now is the best time to find your new study spot and get into the habit of setting aside time in your day to go there and get some work done.


  • Watch your lopermail for your E-Bill notification. This is the only notification you will get about your bill.
  • It’s time to start meeting people if you haven’t already. Go to the student organization fair, to find student organizations that may interest you, so you can start connecting with people with like interests. Find at least three new students in your residence hall and introduce yourself to them. You can also try introducing yourself to someone in each of your classes.


  • Tests, Quizzes, and Exams may take place around this time and may be unannounced. Do what you need to be prepared for these. The second floor of Library (The Learning Commons), is a good resource if you are having trouble preparing.
  • You have probably noticed a hold on your MyBlue account. In order to remove this hold, you must speak with an advisor in Academic and Career Services (MSAB 140). You will not be able to register for your next semester courses until this hold has been lifted.
  • Attend a University sponsored event. 


  • Treat yourself to a night away from academics. Go out to dinner with friends, attend an athletic event on campus, or just watch Netflix with some friends for an evening. Having time to relax is as important as studying sometimes.
  • Struggling with a class? If you haven’t attended your professor’s office hours, now is the time to go see him/her for a little extra help. You can find your professors’ office hours and locations located on your class syllabus.


  • Don’t forget to pay your tuition and fees (9/20). Late fees will be added to your bill if you do not pay it on time. 
  • Begin to plan out the rest of the semester, look back and see where you made mistakes at the beginning of the year and make changes to help you succeed in the second half.
  • Set goals for the rest of the semester and into next semester. What do you want to accomplish? Change? Improve upon?
  • Get yourself ready for midterm exams.
  • Your academic advising appointment will be coming up soon.
  • Be sure to make a plan for your next semester before meeting your advisor. If you are unsure who your advisor is, come see us in First Year Programs and we will help point you in the right direction.
  • Don’t forget to participate in the Homecoming week activities!

First Year Resources

Getting to know UNK

  • Check out the Blue & Gold Welcome Schedule and plan to attend all events and activities listed.
  • Need to find the contact information for a faculty or staff member, go to our UNK directory.
  • Building's and their hours of operation.


  • Follow the UNK Academic Calendar to know about important deadlines--like when you need to pay your bill or drop a class!
  • Click here to find out the campus Building Abbreviations


  • Get hooked up the wireless Internet on campus
  • Setup your email on your mobile devices
  • Check your telephone numbers and email address in MyBLUE to be sure they are updated to receive emergency messages through UNKAlert.
  • Check out all of the services the Technology Help Desk has to offer to students


  • Did something break in your room? Air conditioning not working? Fill out a maintenance request to get it fixed. 

Advice from UNK's Professors on how to be successful

In order to help make your first semester as successful as possible, we reached out to some of UNK’s professors and asked them to provide some tips, tricks and advice for the First Year student.

Some of the suggestions may surprise you, and some may not, but all of them can help make your transition to the college life and the college classroom a little bit easier. The professors at UNK want their students to have a holistic experience in college. College is not just about the in class experience, but the out of class experience as well. Here are Dr. Carlson’s, Dr. Forrest’s, and Dr. Fleig-Palmer’s suggestions for a successful first year in & out of the classroom!

In Class…

1) Go to class. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I promise you, sometimes this is the biggest hurdle to jump. Just do it, roll out of bed, and make the effort—I promise it will pay off.

2) Don’t assume college exams will be like high school exams or even assume that exams in some college classes will be the same as in other college classes. College is different from high school and college professors test differently. Exams are not reprints of study guides. Questions are not always multiple choice (unless your professor says so) and you will probably not do well if you give your study materials a quick glance the night before. If studying for a college exam seems harder than what you’re used to, that’s normal.

3) Introduce yourself to your professors – they’re not as scary as they appear, and building relationships can really pay off.

4) Study with others. Some of your best studying can be done in the presence of others, regardless of whether they are better or worse students than you. If they are better, they can learn from you. If they are worse, you can teach them thereby increasing your own knowledge of the material. This is a win-win situation as long as everyone in the study group has the same goals (i.e., understanding the material and doing well on the exam). If you want a date with the cute guy or gal in your class, save it for the weekend. Focus, focus, focus. Work together to develop examples, compare and contrast perspectives, and understand the big picture.

5) Stake out a spot in the library that is your study space and do it now, don’t wait until finals week. Maybe even checkout the learning commons

6) Leave your cell phone in your res hall, or at least your backpack, when going to class.

7) Invest in a book bag and three working pens with ink. Seems simple, but you would be surprised how many people show up to class without a) a book or b) a writing utensil.

8) Read the text assignments before coming to class and keep up with the smaller amounts of reading before each class period so you are not reading a lot of information the night before. Take notes or outline chapter material and compare what you thought was important to what your professor chose to cover in class. If it’s the same then you are on the same page. If not then what you think is important and what the professor thinks is important is different and you may need to sit down with him or her and talk about getting the most from your reading.

9) Reread the text assignment (or the notes) after class. Now you have your professor’s examples or explanations to help you through those parts of the text that seemed fuzzy before. If you are still unclear on a concept after reading the material twice and looking at your notes see if your professor has provided activities, worksheets, quizzes, to help you learn. You look like a more conscientious student if you have taken advantage of all of the available activities before asking for help.

10) ASK FOR HELP! What can it hurt? You might feel silly, or it might make you uncomfortable, but isn’t knowing the answer worth the pain? We think so! We are here to help and WANT to help. We can’t do our jobs if students never ask questions.

Out of Class…

1) Experience serendipity! Go to something you’ve never tried before – a lecture on a topic that intrigues you, a theater production…it doesn't matter what it is as long as you meet new people and open yourself to discovery.

2) Don’t go home every weekend. It is on the weekends that you truly get to know the campus, community and the people in them. Stay the weekend and try something new. Go to the community theatre for a production, check out one of Kearney’s amazing parks, or just stay in and get to know your hall-mates, you will be glad you did.

3) Get involved. You will hear it over and over again, but college is not just about what you learn in the classroom. It is important to learn about yourself as well, and you can do that by joining different organizations around campus. Take on at least one leadership role. These opportunities will be just as valuable when looking for a career as the knowledge you gain in the classroom.

4) ASK FOR HELP! See Above J.