New to Newhouse? Five Tips for First-Year Students  

The Newhouse School welcomes nearly 600 first-year and undergraduate transfer students this fall. To help them get accustomed to life at Syracuse University, Newhouse offers an introductory course that aids students in learning the ins and outs of life at the school, covering everything from getting involved in extracurricular activities and where to go for help, to recognizing their responsibilities as students.  

Karen McGee headshot
Karen McGee

“One of the main goals of the COM 100 intro class is to get students to think about what they need to do to succeed in college,” said Karen McGee, assistant dean of student success. “What new skills or challenges do they need to learn or experience that they didn’t have in high school?” 

With the Fall 2023 semester starting Monday, McGee offered some tips for incoming students as they take their first steps toward a career in communications.  

1. Read the syllabus 

The blueprint of a college course, the syllabus outlines goals and often provides details of what will be covered each class, along with assignments and other important academic information. It’s important to read a syllabus carefully and ask questions of instructors if you’re not clear on deadlines and expectations.  

“It’s a simple way to get started on the right track: read the syllabus and check with your professor if you’re not sure about something. Sync important dates with the calendar on your phone,” McGee said.  

2. Manage your time 

Successful time management makes for successful students, McGee said. Keep virtual calendars up to date and set reminders on your phone, or maybe a planner or wall calendar is your time management strategy of choice. If you’re looking for other ideas, talk to classmates or ask advice from your peer adviser.  

The Syracuse University Center for Learning and Student Support also offers “Maximize Your Learning” one-on-one sessions for students to help them  organize their work for the semester.  

3. Visit faculty during office hours 

This is the one of the most important things that a student can do to help themselves succeed, McGee said. A faculty member’s office hours are usually listed on the syllabus. “Even if you have no pressing concerns, it can be helpful to meet your professors at least once during the semester and give them a chance to know who you are,” McGee said.  

4. Ask for help

It’s OK for students to feel anxious before tests and stressed when project deadlines are piling up. It’s understandable to feel lonely being away from home and familiar support structures. Resources are available at Syracuse to help. 

One step a student can take is to contact their academic adviser. The Newhouse Academic Advising Office helps students navigate their new environment while making sure they’re on track to achieving their academic goals. 

The University also offers many options to help address the health and wellness of students, including mental health counseling at the Barnes Center at the Arch

“There is ‘normal stress’ during the academic year. Stress or anxiety can become a problem if they prevent you from handling day-to-day responsibilities,” McGee said. “The important thing is to speak up, because help is available.” 

5. Get involved!

One of the easiest ways to meet new people and start making connections is by getting involved in extracurricular activities. Newhouse students can connect with more than 30 organizations across campus that cover the communications spectrum, from The Daily Orange, the independent campus newspaper, to Hill Communications, the award-winning public relations firm based at the Newhouse School.   

Get a head start on getting involved at the Campus Media Fair to be held outside Newhouse 1 on Friday, Sept. 1.