Connecting at college: Get connected, stay connected
That 'traffic cone' photo from Fresher's Week 2014 might seem hilarious, but less so if it forms part of your digital footprint in a few years' time says Lisa Flannery
One of the biggest changes facing students as they move from school to college is the shift towards managing your own learning.
This is a key skill for college life and is worth getting to grips with early on.
My advice to incoming students is to get connected with your college as soon as possible and to stay connected throughout your studies. Your college will provide you with a dedicated email address and a login to an online information portal as soon as you accept your place through the CAO. This email address will become a key point of communication between you and your college.
Although lots of preparation information is online (for example at UCD, www.ucd.ie/students/newstudents) it is through email that you will receive prompts and reminders for particular steps that you need to take during your orientation and early stages of first year.
- Registering for modules /classes
- Finding out the schedule of orientation events some are compulsory, some just for fun
- Connecting with your Student Adviser and student peer mentor group
- Attending IT and library services induction/ training
- Accessing your timetable of lectures
- Learning about the supports available and how to access them
- Familiarising yourself with academic and IT regulations
- Reminders about submitting coursework / assignments
The registration process might at first seem daunting, but there is always help available from your college student desk or programme office teams.
Once classes begin, you'll soon become familiar with your college's online system for uploading assignments, checking module requirements and even spotting occasional changes to class or tutorial times/locations. Getting into the habit of checking this information regularly means that you'll always stay on top of where you're meant to be and what assignments are coming up.
While email is likely to be the primary channel of communication, there are also many benefits to connecting with your college on social media. By following your college and its clubs, societies and students' union on channels like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin you may come across events or initiatives that interest you and that help you to discover a new side of college life.
Although you are only starting your college journey, it's worth keeping your career journey at the back of your mind. Nowadays, employers can use social media to form an impression of prospective candidates. As well as academic performance, your involvement in clubs, societies and volunteering can really set you apart. If your CV mentions that you captained a champion rowing team, it's natural to expect a twitter or instagram timeline full of photos of training and trophies. On the flipside, do consider the privacy settings on your social media accounts and how you tend to use them.
That 'traffic cone' photo from Fresher's Week 2014 might seem hilarious now, but less so if it forms part of your digital footprint in a few years' time. That's a type of communication you could do without!
* Lisa Flannery is Marketing Manager at University College Dublin (UCD)