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Archive for Sunday, August 13, 2006

Successful freshman year within students’ grasp

August 13, 2006

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Sit in the front row. Open your books. Lock your doors.

Do something other than play video games.

More than 5,000 freshmen will begin their college years at Kansas University this week.

To help them navigate their first year of college, KU employees and students dispensed their sage advice.

"Sit at the front of the class," KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said. "Get to know your professor. And remember you should spend two hours studying for every hour that you're in class."

Grades are important, many say, so get in the studying habit early. Some students get the message, and some don't.

Last fall, the average GPA for KU freshmen was 2.59, while the average for seniors was 3.16.

For many, the start of college is the beginning of an unforgettable era.

Some will meet their life partners or find their calling. Nearly 24 percent of graduating seniors in 2005 said they took time off from KU to get married or take care of family matters, according to a survey of seniors.

But college isn't always a good time. Some may become the victims of crime. Thefts are the top crime at KU. Nearly 300 thefts were reported to the Public Safety Office in 2005. And freshmen are the top victims of theft, KU Public Safety Chief Ralph Oliver said.

Oliver's advice to freshmen: lock your doors and don't leave your belongings unattended in public places.

"We'd like for them to understand that they're not at home," Oliver said.

He added that students should choose their friends carefully and, when out at night, travel in pairs.

Limit your partying, and don't try to use fake IDs, those who work behind the liquor counter warn.

"The only advice I would give is not to use a fake ID," said Colin Halliburton, cashier at Jensen Liquor, 620 W. Ninth St. "We've got a gigantic stack."

KU student Adam Hurly, executive secretary for the student senate, urged freshmen to get involved.

"Don't just sit in your room and play video games," he said. "Give back to the campus. KU is giving you a lot, so you need to return the favor and join a student group."

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KU incoming freshmen

There are groups for trumpeters, Turkish students and table tennis aficionados - more than 500 student groups in all. Some students may join multiple groups.

KU's Student Involvement and Leadership Center reports more than 50,000 student contacts for the hundreds of groups.

Aaron Quisenberry, associate director of the center, suggested students live on campus in their early college years and meet as many people as they can.

More than 3,000 students live in KU's residence halls, and more than 500 live in the scholarship halls.

And then it's back to the books.

Graduate student Amanda Sesko said her advice to students is get the books early. But buying them isn't enough. Don't put off unwrapping the books from their plastic coatings, she said.

"I'd also recommend not waiting until the first exam to start studying," she said.

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