You’re finally in college.
And now they keep sending you stuff. Lots of stuff. Printed-on-paper stuff. There’s a corner of your bedroom that’s starting to look like a shrine to your university: letters from your indicated major’s department to invitations to send-offs to new student orientation packets to reminders about sending your AP scores and transcript.
They also send you emails…tons of emails. At least you can sort those into folders and quickly search through them online!
But the holy grail of it all? It’s your one-stop for everything prefrosh: your college portal.
University To-Do List
Did someone say something about ID photos? Wait, I need immunization forms done? What’s this about placement tests? And summer reading?! Are all the sporadic emails from the university and frantic posts in the Facebook group putting you in a frenzy?
Don’t get overwhelmed with school before it even starts again. Your school is not intentionally driving you crazy with all the requirements and reminders, but they do want you to get everything done. Usually in the “New Student” or homepage of your portal will be a neat, centralized checklist of everything you need done before you get on campus.
Check out your classes and teachers early! If you’ve already registered (or been registered by an adviser) for your classes, signing into your Blackboard account via your portal can provide information about you classes – from time, to professors. Some professors may have already uploaded class information, like the syllabus or required textbooks, that you can use to get a jumpstart on getting what you need.
Frequently, if you need to take a placement test (usually, math or language) and need to do it online, Blackboard is how your school will host the test.
Yes, registering for classes is stressful. Yes, your parents and advisers have been on you about it forever. Yes, you have to go through it. And if it’s not during orientation with an adviser…yes, it’s in your handy dandy portal.
Before you haphazardly start emailing your adviser, check through your portal for other things to look for that you’ll be registering for; summer orientation, placement tests, housing, work-study, and a majority of the prefrosh tasks the school requires will also be online.
AlcoholEdu is the online class typically due for all resident students before classes start. Prospect editor Jillian Feinstein gives you your alcohol education primer here!
Coming home after summer orientation, I couldn’t be more antsy to go back! Because the portal hosts updates for students throughout the school year, it also hosts archives from the past year. Probably not much has been published this summer, but reading the most recent newsletters and stalking through the “Current Events” channel not only get you excited about what the upcoming year holds, but also informs you of what clubs and programs on campus have been doing – things you can get involved with soon!
Check out the advising for your major or pre-professional program as well: you can often find advisers’ contact information if you have questions, or see more concrete examples of what your program does and has. Do they host guest speakers? Trips? How are the research and study facilities?
Your .Edu Email Address
Be honest: seeing YourName@_______.edu makes you free pretty good, doesn’t it? Now, if you haven’t gotten that warm fuzzy feeling because you haven’t set it up yet, check your portal, or personal email address for an email from the university about how to get started. Some schools partner with GMail, some host their own service, some have other partnerships.
Feel Good, Then Make the Most of It
After paying that tuition bill, “Welcome to college!” sort of sounds like, “Now you’re broke!” am I right?
Right on cue, many companies host student offers or discounts when you use your .edu email address to sign up. Just a few are:
And Speaking of That Tuition Bill…
Your college wants to make it as easy as possible for you to fork over the money (They won’t admit it, but we all know it’s true.). Under titles like “Make a Payment” or “Billing”, you’ll be able to check how much of your soul – I mean, how much money – you need to pay for the initial billing period, how to do it, where to send it, and all breakdown of all the fees.
Go ahead and wander around wide-eyed at orientation, show off that new student ID, buy all the school gear, and relax as a prefrosh: your trusty portal will still be here with everything you need to get set up as a real college student.