10 tips for RMCAD freshmen

*This story was updated and edited for clarity and brevity by Jenna Heil on August 17, 2022.

So, you’ve been accepted to attend RMCAD, congratulations! This is an exciting step in your life and we can’t wait to have you join our incredible community. To help you feel prepared for your first term at RMCAD, we sat down with student ambassador and illustration major, Alexandria Caldwell, to get her advice and answers to some commonly asked questions so you feel prepared and ready to take on this exciting new adventure.

1. How do I decide what’s the right major for me?
I would try to think about what you want to do after you graduate, (I know it’s hard) and pick the major that best fits your career path. If you are unsure of what you want your career path to be, pick the major that most appeals to you. You can also schedule a meeting with your academic advisor, who can give you insight into each major, or reach out to students of majors that interest you to ask about their experiences.

2. How much time can I expect to spend on homework?
It really depends on the class. For your liberal art classes, you can expect to spend a few hours a week on discussion posts, smaller weekly writing assignments and larger research projects. Your studio classes on the other hand will take up more of your homework time, as you could spend many hours on one assignment.

3. What clubs are available on campus or online?
There are many different clubs and extracurriculars available to students, both on campus or online. Check out the current list of clubs and organizations! If there are no current clubs that interest you, you can email studentactivities@rmcad.edu to create your own.

4. What events do you recommend for first-year students?
There are all kinds of educational and fun events that would appeal to first-year students, but my best advice would be to just go to as many events as possible. Events are a great way to make connections with other students within and outside of your own major. Not only this, but events are a nice way to take a break from classwork, especially as an online student. Just pick an event that appeals to you and sign up!

5. What’s the best way to make friends?
I would say the best way to make friends at RMCAD is by attending events, joining clubs and opening up to others. It can be difficult sometimes to connect with others due to busy schedules, jobs or other commitments outside of school, but by attending these events I’ve been able to make connections with new people. There are also many galleries, museums and other fun things to do in Denver to meet even more people. As an out-of-state student myself, I can safely say that you will make plenty of friends at RMCAD!

6. How many classes will I take during the semester as a full/part time student?
As a full-time student, you will take two classes every term, which is four classes every semester. As a part-time student, you will take one class every term, which is two classes a semester. I usually go full-time all year with the exception of the Summer B term, which I take part-time as a break and opportunity to work extra before Fall A.

7. Can I apply for work study positions on campus?
Yes, there are a number of work positions available on campus for students, such as the TechBar and FabLab.

8. What piece of advice would you give to incoming students?
I would say to stay organized and on top of your classes, and enjoy your time as a student! Be sure to keep a planner and schedule your work time. It can be difficult to work on assignments from home with the distractions of family, roommates or pets, so scheduling your projects can make this a lot easier. In addition, remember that your professors are always willing to help you as long as you communicate with them!

9. If you could go back to your first semester at RMCAD, what would you have done differently?
I wish I would have expressed myself more in my studio seminar class. It was my first class at RMCAD and definitely an opportunity with my art to explore new mediums while also forming connections with other new students at RMCAD. My advice to others would be to speak up, make connections and enjoy your studio seminar class!

10. Who can I go to if I need help with my major/classes?
RMCAD has a great academic advising team that is more than happy to help answer questions about your classes and schedule. Other than that, if you ever need advice, want to join an event, or just want to make a new friend, reach out to one of your student ambassadors. We are here to help make your experience at RMCAD as enjoyable as possible!