5 helpful tips for college freshmen

*This story was updated and edited for clarity and brevity by Trevor Bowden on January 18, 2023.

Attending college as a freshman means taking the time to organize your schedule, meet new friends, and discover how to make the most out of your time as an up-and-coming creative. This may seem daunting at first, however, since RMCAD operates on term schedules instead of traditional semesters, we help set you up for success as an art and design student.

Whether you are a first-generation college student, a virtual learner, or just looking to get the most out of your college experience, there are many opportunities to excel as a RMCAD student. We sat down with the Chair of Liberal Arts, Tom Keefe, who gave us five helpful tips for freshmen like yourself looking to develop successful habits during their first year.

1. Become involved.

Whether it’s the VASD Program, Wayfinding Series, Student Life activities, or gallery openings, the students that choose to get involved within the RMCAD community (online or on-campus) are often our most successful students. From interning at Disney to working as a commercial interior designer, becoming involved at RMCAD is a great stepping stone to grow your skills, build your network, and ultimately land your dream job.

2. Be engaged in class

Students who are actively engaged in their class curriculum are more likely to not only master their craft, but also find unique opportunities within RMCAD such as working with professors, gaining local industry connections, and developing a professional-looking portfolio for life after graduation.

3. Manage your time

Managing your time correctly is essential for staying organized, increasing productivity, and lowering your stress levels while in college. We recommend reading through your course schedules, mapping out your term, and noting important dates such as projects and finals in a calendar or planner.

4. Master your citations

Gaining skills in writing and research are a few of the many things that distinguish your RMCAD BFA from other degrees and certifications. Understanding proper research methodology and citations transcend all courses and help prepare you for a future MFA or graduate-level work.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication is key when it comes to being a successful student. Be sure to reach out to professors, classmates, friends, and clients to ask questions or get advice. During your time at RMCAD, you will get a chance to take your communication skills to the next level through a variety of classes and projects, so be sure to embrace these opportunities.

As you explore this new chapter of being a student, if you’re struggling in the classroom or your personal life, we have several health and wellness resources available. From campus counselors and professors, to student advisors and even our Dean of Students, there is always someone to talk to.

RMCAD is a place where you will grow as both a student and an individual, whether that is on campus or virtually from your home. For even more resources, please check out Six RMCAD resources parents should know about for their soon-to-be college freshman. Have a tip in mind that didn’t make the list? Share your advice with future RMCAD freshmen on social media using #RMCAD.

Note: Some of the questions in this interview have been edited for clarity and brevity.