Blog & Events

My Advice to Incoming Freshmen

July 1, 2013

By Allison Rich (Sophomore Mechanical Engineering Student)

Picture of Allison Rich smilingJoin a FIG! A FIG or First-year Interest Group is technically a class for a small group (25 max) of freshmen who typically have the same major.  In reality, it’s more of an advice hour with your FIG Mentor (an upperclassman who is in the same field).  The hour long class is an excellent way to meet people in your major, get advice from an upperclassman, and much more.

The nice thing about FIGs is that once you sign up for the FIG you are automatically enrolled in two or three classes (it makes registration a breeze).  Since everyone in the FIG is in those same two or three classes you already have a group of people to study with before you even go to your first class!  I personally was in the All About ME WEP FIG which, unlike other FIGs, is yearlong.  Joining the WEP FIG gets you access to scholarships, WEP events and more advice from your FIG mentor.   For more information about FIGs visit:

Go to Office Hours! I know you will probably hear this a lot but it is very true.  Go to office hours around the second week of class or whenever you get assigned the first homework.  Come up with a couple questions about either the homework specifically or something your professor was talking about in class.  By going in before the first test you are showing your professor that you care about learning and are making an attempt to really learn the material outside of class time.  If you are nervous about going to office hours then bring a friend, they probably have the same questions you do.

Go to Class! This may sound a little redundant but you’d be surprised by how many people do not show up to class after the first week or two, especially the TA sessions.  For the larger classes you will typically have class times with the professor and class times with the TA every week.  My first semester in M408C my TA sessions weren’t required and I had an  8:30am class time, after about three weeks only 12 (out of 50) showed up.  Since attendance was so low my TA worked with my professor to get extra credit opportunities for those that showed up.  While extra credit is very rare at UT you will not hear about it unless you show up to class!

If you have any questions about anything at UT stop by the WEP office (ECJ 2.108) and someone will be there to answer your questions.