Engineering Student Survival Guide

Welcome to the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology! It’s a brand-new year and you’re excited to get started, right? Here are some tips from real NIU engineering students on how to keep that positive attitude and how to make the most of your time at NIU.

1. Go to class!
This may seem obvious, but going to class is crucial for keeping up to speed. Even if your instructor doesn’t mark attendance it’s important to know what’s going on, and you can’t count on everything covered in class being posted on Blackboard. If you’re there, you also won’t miss out on any pop quizzes or in-class extra credit opportunities.
2. Don’t wait until the night before to study for an exam.
Most exams cover a couple of chapters of material. The volume of content can be overwhelming if you sit down the night before to study. Start looking over notes and working problems a few days in advance; that way, if you have any questions you will have time to get answers.
3. Read the syllabus.
Your instructor will appreciate it. The syllabus has everything you need to know about your instructor, TAs and class guidelines. It has the grading breakdown, attendance policy and contact information. It’s honestly one of the most important documents you’ll receive. Don’t be that student who finds out at the end of the semester that missing more than three classes costs you 5 percent of your grade!  
4. Make a friend in every class.
Keeping in contact with a classmate can really help in the long run. They may become a study buddy, help you figure out material you didn’t understand and can give you someone with whom to compare homework results. If you couldn’t make it to class one day, your friend can update you on what happened. Engineering involves working with people; make a habit of it now.
5. Develop good time management habits.
College can be really overwhelming, especially when you’re juggling multiple responsibilities. Keep a schedule of upcoming due dates and deadlines. Make time for work, studying and fun. Procrastination can make you fall behind very quickly, so it’s better to stay on top of everything.
6. Join a club.
You can make friends and apply classroom knowledge by getting involved in an engineering organization. It’s also great for networking and gives you an interesting talking point when interviewing for an internship or job. Overall, it enriches your college experience. The College of Engineering and Engineering Technology has more than 20 student organizations you can join.
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