7 Things Every New Student Should Know
We’ve compiled some tips to help both new and returning students kick off the fall term. Share your own in the comments below!
1. Prime study spots
Open to all Extension School students:
- For group work, the second floor of Cabot Library in the Science Center offers rooms to engage in discourse until your heart’s content, just not past midnight. The building closes until 6 am for students who don’t have a Harvard ID card.
- Closer to home, there’s 51 Brattle Street’s own Grossman Common Room, as well as the computer lab at 53 Church Street.
- Or head over to Grossman Library in Sever Hall and study in Harvard Yard.
Open to students with a Harvard ID:
- For that “I can’t believe I’m studying at Harvard” feeling, you can’t miss the majestic Loker Reading Room in Widener Library.
- For comfy chairs, check out the second floor landing at Widener or the third floor of Lamont Library.
- For “I can hear a pin drop” quiet, you might try the Child Library on the third floor of Widener. (No, it’s not full of picture books and story-times; it’s named after Harvard’s first professor of English, Francis James Child.)
No ID card? No problem. Extension School students without a Harvard ID can get a Widener Library reading room privileges card. See the Widener website for more information.
2. Dining out and on-the-go
Now that you have extra time between weeknight classes this year (we moved the second start time from 7:35 pm to 7:40 pm), those extra five minutes just might be enough to grab a sandwich from the Market, a slice from ’Noch’s, or a pumpkin spiced latte from one of four Starbucks in and around Harvard Square. With weekly farmer’s markets and nearly 100 restaurants, Harvard Square is a mecca for foodies of all flavors. Before class or after, you’re sure to find a place to satisfy your appetite and meet up with new classmates.
3. Pahkin’ ya cah in Hahvahd Yahd
Parking is scarce in Harvard Square. Meters are in effect until 8 pm. And if you find one, it’s a steal at $1/hour. Just remember to keep a roll of quarters in your car, although some do take bills or credit cards. There are also a number of parking lots, but be prepared to take out a second mortgage on your house if you park in them each week.
Your best bet is to take the T or a bus into Harvard Square. Harvard Yard, 51 Brattle Street, and most classrooms are less than a 10-minute walk away.
Better yet, why not bike to school like when you were a kid? Hubway, the latest intercity transit system, now has multiple bike-sharing stations in Harvard Square. With the first half hour free, it’s good for you and your wallet. Come one, come all, from Boston, Brookline, and Somerville!
Lastly, Harvard University offers several transportation options and services, such as an evening shuttle and first-come, first-served parking permits that you can read more about on our Transportation and Parking page.
And of course, don’t forget to check out the campus map before the first day of class to locate your classroom(s).
4. Getting the
write right academic and career advice
Two of the best resources for on-campus and online course takers and degree candidates? Access to the Writing Center and the Career and Academic Resource Center. Whether it’s your first time back in the classroom after 10 years or after a long summer vacation, the tutors at the Writing Center can help you start and finish that paper. Schedule an in-person, e-mail, or Skype appointment.
Taking it a step further, the Career and Academic Resource Center offers dozens of free study skill resources and on-campus and online workshops running the gamut from time management and positive psychology to acing your interview and pursuing a PhD. Linda Spencer, assistant director of the Office of Career Services, also offers drop-in and call-in career advising. You can meet her and pick up a few tips in this short video, How to write a great résumé and cover letter.
5. Faculty and courses to follow
Find out what’s happening in the Harvard community via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more. We’ve started a growing list of Harvard faculty, classes, and groups who tweet and blog. They’ll keep you informed about the latest school news, upcoming events, and faculty and student highlights in 140 characters or less. Check them out!
6. Getting involved
Full-time life, part-time school, right? It’s hard to balance all of your priorities—work, family, school, friends—but while you’re here, try to take advantage of the numerous student clubs, activities, and events. The following resources are a great place to start:
- The Harvard Extension Student Association provides a variety of social and educational events and forums throughout the year. They also serve as the umbrella organization for student groups such as the Business Society and Environmental Club.
- Phillips Brooks House Association is a nonprofit, student-run public service organization serving the needs of the Greater Boston community. They offer hundreds of volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
- Common Spaces is a University-wide initiative to build a sense of campus community. The program provides several venues for outdoor performances, arts exhibits, and fun activities open to all.
- HarvardEvents, an application created by Professor David Malan, aggregates all of the Harvard University event calendars in one place. You can filter the calendar by school from the drop-down list or search by topic (and by which ones have free food!). The University hosts hundreds of free, enlightening, engaging, and entertaining events throughout the year; if only there were enough hours in the day to attend them all.
7. Important dates and information
The answers to many of your questions (Is it too late to add/drop?, How do I get a proctor for my exam?, What’s the difference between my DCE ID and my HUID?) can be found right here on our website. Familiarize yourself with the Exams, Grades, and Policies section, as well as the Registration Guidelines. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, our friendly and helpful Information Services staff on the first floor are happy to help. Call (617) 495-4024 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.