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Ten Tips To Help New SUNY Students Get on the Path to Success

Diverse group of students walk outside on the SUNY Cortland campus.To all of the new students entering their first semester at SUNY, welcome!

This is just the beginning to an exciting journey, along which you will meet fellow students from over 180 nations across the globe and achieve a world class education with classes from over 4,345 subject areas. As a new student, you’ll be juggling new academic, social, and financial challenges in this world, and you probably have a lot of questions about how to prepare for this new endeavor. Don’t worry. Let us be the ones to bring you the tips you need to succeed.

1 – Plan ahead. Once the semester starts, it will go by very quickly. Organize your schedule in advance to ensure you have time for everything important to you, and take a look ahead at your finances for the year. 45% of all SUNY students graduate with zero debt. By using tools like SUNY Smart Track, you can learn more about the impact of your financial aid and income, and create a comprehensive budget for your time in college.

University at Albany fountain

The fountain at the center of campus at the University at Albany.

2 – Explore. There are 64 SUNY campuses, spread throughout every geographic sector of New York State. No matter which campus you attend, you will find unique characteristics reflective of the region and history of the college. Explore your SUNY campus and find your favorite cozy spot to hang out. Take a picture while you are there and share it with us to be featured on our social media!

3 – Think outside the box. Having invested $1.6 billion in total annual research expenditures, and secured over 1,500 patents, SUNY campuses are home to some of the most groundbreaking innovations of the 21st century. Don’t hesitate to pursue your passion – the sky is the limit!

SUNY Geneseo Saratoga Terrace Suite

A SUNY Geneseo townhouse.

4 – Create a space where you can relax. With a busy schedule of classes, work, internships, and student activities, it’s important to have a place where you can relax and decompress from the day. Check out your campus bookstore for fun decorations to put in your dorm or apartment!

5 – Be safe and informed. SUNY has programs like SPARC (Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Prevention & Response Course) and TRAC (Training in Reducing Alcohol Consumption) that are provided to campuses for support and as a way to help prevent acts of violence before they occur. Connect with your campus safety officers to learn more about these. And check out a SUNY’s Got Your Back event near you when it comes to town to stay educated and learn how you can be part of the response against violence across New Yorkers.

SUNY Suffolk County Community College

A culinary arts student at Suffolk County Community College shows her work in a bakery.

6 – Apply for an internship. Applied learning is an integral part of higher education at SUNY. Studies show that those who intern are more likely to land a job after graduation and have a better chance at higher earnings due to their learned experiences. 40% of all SUNY programs require applied learning experiences, and you can easily find one that benefits you if you enroll in one of the over 30,000 applied learning courses offered.

7 – Meet people outside of your comfort zone. Recent surveys suggest that as many as 85% of professionals obtained their jobs through networking. Take advantage of the large network available to you as a SUNY student, and make connections with people who have found success in your field. Your time in college is short- make the most of every second to prepare for graduation!

8 – Be active and engaged. At SUNY, your voice matters. You can participate in student advocacy initiatives through organizations like the SUNY Student Assembly, where you can promote the programs that you think are important for your higher education while learning how to be a change agent for the future.

9 – Don’t be scared to ask for support. Classes can be difficult, especially when balanced with work, family, and extracurricular activities. SUNY campuses are filled with support systems like tutors, accessibility accommodations, and counselors who can guide you along your journey.They’re here to help make your college journey a success.

Students at University at Buffalo sporting event

Students at the University at Buffalo cheer on their football team with mascot Victor E. Bull.

10 – Remember to have fun! SUNY campuses are home to vibrant student life. With over 750 athletic teams, and hundreds of clubs and organizations on every campus, there is always something to do, and often for free. Connect with your campus student life office or your student government to see all of the events funded by your student activity fees. And get out there to experience all there is to experience.

Written by Taryn Rackmyer

Taryn Rackmyer is a recent graduate of Mohawk Valley Community College, now attending the University at Albany for Public Policy. Taryn is a student assistant for SUNY's Government Relations & Marketing Department.

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