First-Year Student Experience

Adjusting to College



College Costs and Paying Your Bill


Your First 6 Weeks at SUNY Plattsburgh

Photo of a group of SUNY Plattsburgh students studying together The first six weeks of your college career are extremely important. To help you adjust to college life we've put together this list of what to expect during your first six weeks as a college student.

If you are  living in one of the first-year residence halls - Whiteface and Wilson - your RA, CA, and RD have been specially trained to help you transition to collegiate life.  If you live in another residence hall or commute and you would like to talk to someone about settling in to life as a SUNY Plattsburgh student, please contact: Office of Student Affairs  Phone: (518) 564-2280. E-mail:

Week One

Welcome to Plattsburgh

We are thrilled that you are here at Plattsburgh State!  One of our goals is to help you transition into your college courses as smoothly as possible.  As you may recall from orientation, organization is an important key to success in college as your life will be very different then high school.

Purchase a planner/calendar.

Enter all class times and extracurricular activities as you learn of them. If applicable, enter in your work schedule as well.

Enter the due dates for all assignments, papers, projects, and tests/quizzes from your course syllabi (which you should receive in each class on the first day of that class).

Keep your planner handy so that you can enter events on campus or in the community that you would like to attend or even hang out times with your friends. Some great examples would be to enter in an RA program, an athletic event, or a Weekend with Burghy program!

Week Two

... Let's Talk About You ...

Now that you are settled in, one of the best things about college is meeting people who are different from you and making life-long friends!  You are an important member of our community.  We hope that you continue to build friendships and form relationships across campus throughout the year!

Below are some other important interactions and conversations you should make:

  • Introduce yourself to your professors.  The best times to do this are after class and during their posted office hours. 
  • Meet someone on a different floor in your residence hall.
  • Remember, now that you are away from home and meeting new people, don't forget where you came from. Make sure that you are keeping connected with friends and family from home.  Call, write, email, or hop on AIM and make sure you stay in touch!  They will really appreciate it!

Week Three

Making the GrAde

Surely, by now you are realizing the differences between high school and college in all areas of your life. Some of your classes are likely becoming more intense as the coursework increases. In other cases, you may not feel like you have as much work because you don't have weekly assignments.  But, BE CAREFUL - you are accountable for ALL assignments as well as readings.  For those classes which assign more reading, why not focus on more intent note-taking?  Stop by the Learning Center on the first floor of Feinberg Library where you can pick up handouts with helpful note-taking advice. 

Don't forget to:

  • While in class, sit in the front so that you can pay closer attention and so that the professor can see you.
  • Make sure you attend all classes!  It will be factored into your grade!
  • Have a desire to succeed!  That is where it all begins.
  • Use a free Academic Personal Trainer from the Learning Center.
  • Talk with others in your classes and form study groups where you can prepare for quizzes and tests together. 
  • Don't forget to also stop by the Learning Center and find out about other ways to succeed and thrive at college including structuring your time, successful study habits, writing tutors, and much, much more! 

Week Four

Just Do It!

Throughout your time here you have become an important part of our College!  If you are not already involved in a club or organization, we strongly recommend you do so to reap all the benefits that come along with it!  Getting involved makes you an even more valued member of our community.  It's a great way to gain skills that may help you in your future career.  Best of all, it's a great way to meet new friends and find your "niche" here at Plattsburgh State!

Check out the Student Association (SA) website where you can find out about services, activities, clubs and organizations that you can become a part of or even create!  There are tons of options out there!  For example:

  • Go to a club meeting that sounds interesting.
  • Attend a Senate meeting on Wednesday nights at 10:15 pm in the Cardinal Lounge to see what issues are discussed.
  • If you could create a club on campus that does not exist, what would it be?
  • Show that you care about your community by recycling or volunteering for community service.

Week Five

A Sound Mind and a Sound Body

By now you have faced, and possibly experienced, many of the challenges and pressures associated with college (academics, meeting new friends, developing a support system, managing time, and/or pressures to use alcohol/drugs, etc.) Always know that you have the support of your RD, RAs, CAs, as well as professionals, services, and offices on campus.

Keep in mind that if you are feeling overwhelmed; you should set up a meeting with your RD or your RA.   Remember it is very important to take care of yourself and don't be afraid to ask for help if you are going through a tough time. Here is some helpful advice:

  • Eat healthy by balancing your diet with fruits and vegetables.. ."An apple a day will get you an 'A'.'
  • Do an activity outdoors or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • If you think you may partake in alcohol and/or drug use, know the risks and consequences!
  • Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
  • Open a membership to our gym.  You can even get a reduced rate for the second half of the semester!
  • Ask an RA what resources are available at the Student Health and Psychological Services building.

Week Six


Congratulations! You have accomplished so much during your first five weeks!  Just think of all of the changes you have adjusted to. Some were easily navigated while others were much more challenging. The important thing is that YOU MADE IT THIS FAR!!!  No doubt that you will be able to go even further!  

Now that you have successfully completed your first 5 weeks, it would be a good time to think about the following:

  • Evaluate the goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of the year.
  • Check out your grades for each class.
  • Set goals for the remainder of the semester.
  • Reflect on the year thus far.
  • Think of changes you will make for the remainder of the semester to meet your new goals.