Before you go:
1. Plan to get there early.
STAR staff begins check-in at 7:15 am. Trust me, you'll want to get there before presentations begin at 8:15. With navigating the State Street construction, finding the parking garage and getting to the Union, the extra buffer of time gives you some freedom from rushing. It is also nice if you need to pick up your PASE (Purdue Student Alumni Experience) welcome pack or open an account at Purdue Federal Credit Union. Get there as close to seven am as you can.
2. Go online and make a mock schedule in advance.
While this may sound intimidating, this will really help when you go in to see your advisor for your appointment. To get started, just Google "Purdue [insert your degree here] degree requirements" and it should be the first hit. You can also log in to your MyPurdue account, go to https://mypurdueplan.purdue.edu and click "plans." This will bring up your degree requirements for the 2017-2018 school year. From here you can look at each class and see when it is offered. You may not know every class you want to take, but this will at least give you an idea of how your schedule could look. Bring this mock plan to your advisor, and it will assist them in making a schedule that you like.
3. Know what interest sessions you actually need to attend.
If you're anything like me, you've already toured Purdue two or three times. Some of the interest sessions you just don't need to go to because you have already heard the information. Here is a description for all of the interest sessions. The STAR schedule will help you plan your day around the sessions you need to go to. If you already have seen a university residence, you probably don't need to tour them again. If you don't know how to transfer your prescriptions, attend the health and wellness seminar. Have a question about food already? Attend the university dining meeting. This day is about you, so tailor your schedule to meet your needs.
4. Know who is coming with you.
Some of you may be bringing parents. Others may bring significant others or just go by themselves. Regardless of who you bring, make sure they know your schedule for the day and encourage them to attend any parent and family meetings offered. Also, check your meal tickets and make sure you all have been assigned the same dining hall for lunch. It will either be Earhart or Ford.
5. Know your MyPurdue login credentials.
You'll need this for scheduling. YOU HAVE TO KNOW THIS INFO. Make sure you memorize it or write it down before you go.
On STAR Day:
1. Download the Boiler Guide app.
MAPS. This app is a life saver for getting around campus. Follow your dot on the map so you get to all of your meetings on time.
2. Attend your specific college session (and pay attention!).
I cannot stress how helpful these sessions are. While some of the information is repetitive or boring, there is very important scheduling information being presented. For example, I am a biology major. Until my STAR Day, I didn't realize I had three options for my freshman biology lab. Write down any class tracks or options that may interest you so you can bring them to your advising session.
3. Go see your advisor.
This person is going to help you decide the course of your future. They are going to be an essential resource for you on STAR Day. Seriously, they know what's up. Bring your mock schedule, any preferences and your language placement score if you get a chance to take the test before your appointment. Also be sure to mention any AP/IB/Dual Credit classes that may be transferring later, so they can make the best assumption for what you should register for that day. You can always change it later. Be nice to them, too! Their job is to help you, so get to know them.
4. Take a language placement test.
Literally a test for free college credit! Tests in Spanish, German, French, Italian and other languages are offered for a good portion of the day. Even if you only took one or two years of a language, it doesn't hurt you to try. The test is only for for 30 minutes (unless you take Japanese which lasts 60) and you could potential fulfill your entire foreign language requirement by earning up to 12 credits. I only took up through Spanish Two in high school and got placed in Spanish 201, earning 6 credits. Seriously, take the time to this. You'll thank yourself later when your schedule doesn't feel like a straightjacket.
5. Get to the scheduling lab early.
This will by far be the most stressful part of your day. Scheduling is tight and submitting on time is crucial. Get there early so you have time to log in, talk to other advisors and place your classes into the system. Know what you want your schedule to look like. Do you want gaps between classes or do you love power blocks? Are you in a group like university choir that has required rehearsals during the school day? Are you okay with doing a Saturday lab? All of these are personal preferences which you need to know to help make your best schedule. It may not all work out, but you can go back into the system in late July to try and move things if needed. Take a picture or print your schedule when you finish so you can have it as a reference.
After your STAR day:
1. Check MyPurdue and your Purdue email frequently.
These are going to be so important for your career at Purdue. Your university email is the official form of communication for your college and the university as a whole. MyPurdue houses all kinds of resources, including your newly made schedule. Check them often for updates, necessary forms to sign and payment details. Housing information will be released on or around July 15th through your Purdue email so you should definitely keep tabs on it.
2. Start looking for textbooks.
You don't necessarily need to buy anything just yet, but you should at least start comparing textbook prices and resources now that you know your schedule. Under the Registration tab in MyPurdue, there is a link that says "My Textbooks." Here you can explore Amazon @ Purdue options and get the IBSN numbers. Take advantage of the fact that we are one of seven universities in the United States with their own Amazon store on campus. Save some cash! You'll want it this fall.
3. Check out your professors on Rate My Professors.
With your schedule also comes your list of professors for the semester. Rate My Professors is a student-led forum where you can find student opinions on certain professors. WARNING: Angry students tend to exaggerate. Take everything said with a grain of salt. A professor that someone else hates may be a professor you love. Apart from the exaggerated opinions, this site is actually a good way to see what the professor's teaching style is. Don't get nervous, rather prepare yourself for some of the potential difficulties. From here you can ask current students how they manage.
4. Attend Boiler Gold Rush.
Some students will tell you that BGR is lame and not worth it. You only get to be a freshman once. Take advantage of the opportunity! Who cares if it is a lot of hype and a little corny? Besides, just because one person didn't like it, it doesn't mean that you have to hate it too. If nothing else, it will help you get to know your campus home better the week before classes. Get excited and embrace every moment. This is a new beginning for you, so don't waste it by coming in with a cynical attitude.
5. Move in and become a Boilermaker!
Move in is August 14th and 15th and classes start August 21st! Start planning with your roommate about layout and other amenities and finish up your shopping. The class of 2021 is ready to take on Purdue University and Boiler Up!
STAR is the beginning of the next four years of your life. Take it seriously but allow yourself to be excited. This is your time, your future and your choice. You're a Boilermaker now! Take on that name with pride. Wishing you a successful STAR Day and I'll see you August 14th!
Lead Image Credit: Pexels