10 tips to prepare new students for the Fall Semester

Two females looking at books at blue picnic table at Moraine Park

As Advisors, we get questions all the time from students who are registered but don’t know what to do next. And I can’t tell you how many phone calls we get that start off with, “I have a really stupid question…”  They aren’t stupid questions, they’re the same questions everyone asks and the reason that we’re here.  But for those of you afraid to ask, here is a list of things we want you to know/do before you start classes in August that will ease your minds:

1. Activate your MyMPTC account and email.

This is not the same as the VIP account you used to apply and has a different log in. You should receive instructions in your personal email on how to activate, but if you haven’t you can always stop in at the Student Services desk on any campus or the Library on any campus and ask for assistance. Check your email regularly, several times a week, for updates on your classes and from the college.  https://openaccount.morainepark.edu/open/Disclaimer.aspx

2. Buy Your Textbooks

I know what you are thinking, how on earth am I supposed to know which books? Well, the answer is simple.  Your schedule. Take a printed copy of your schedule with you to the bookstore or have it in front of you if you are ordering books online.  All textbooks are arranged by course number (ex. College 101 is 890-101), and then divided by CRN (20234).  Does every class have a textbook? Probably, but the only way to know is to look it up.

Want to charge your books to your financial aid? If you have already received and accepted your award online, you can charge your textbooks beginning August 8th so you don’t have to pay out of pocket.  There are also scholarships available for textbook rental.  You can find out more about the scholarships by logging in to MyMPTC on the Student tab and clicking the link.

The best time to buy books is early to mid-August for the Fall semester. For more information, log in to MyMPTC and click on the Services tab to see information about the bookstore.


3. Get Microsoft Office

You will be required to turn in your assignments using Microsoft Word. If you plan to work from a home computer and don’t already have a copy of Office, you can download a free copy as a student.  Go to MyMPTC Services tab and scroll down until you see Student Discounts.  In that section is a link called Microsoft Office 365. Follow the prompts to download.  Note: You must use your STUDENT EMAIL to get this download or it will not work!

microsoft 365

4. Get your Student ID

You can get a student ID at the Student Services Desk on any campus. This student ID is important because it gives you access to services on campus, for free!  Student Life will be kicking off the start of the semester with Welcome Back lunches on all campuses where students eat and play for free!  The catch? You need to show them your student id, so smile pretty.

5. Attend a New Student Meeting

In early August there are several chances for new students to come on campus and meet with staff that will help you acclimate to your new school. If you haven’t already signed up, you can do so using your VIP account or by asking Student Services to schedule you.

6. Take the Canvas Tour

Even if you aren’t taking an online or blended course, chances are your class will still use Canvas, our online learning system. You can take the Canvas Student tour to help you better understand how the system works, or you can attend an in person Canvas training in early August to help you navigate.  If you’d like to sign up for the in person training, contact student services for information on how to register (it’s free!).  If you want to try it on your own first, go to MyMPTC Student tab, scroll to Student Resources and click on Canvas Student Tour.

Canvas Student Tour

7. Don’t Try to Start Classes Early

You won’t be granted access to your classes on Canvas until the day they start, so all of you over achievers are just going to have to be patient! Often times your Instructors will email you the week before classes start with some instructions or just a general hello, but you generally won’t have access to the course until the day it begins.  HOWEVER, check your email in case your instructor has sent you information that will require you to log in early.  It is up to the instructor to grant early access to classes, so it is possible but rare.

8. Just Ask

It’s okay, we’re here for you. Literally.  During the first week of classes you will see information desks at most entrances and/or intersections of the school.  So if you come in and forgot where your classroom was, your teacher’s name, etc?  We’ll look it up and get you to the right place.  Remember, our motto is “Just Ask”.

9. You Have the Right to Change Your Mind

So you started your online class and decided that wasn’t for you? Took on a bit more than you can chew? Or even decided that your program isn’t the right fit?  We can help you fix that!  The important thing is that you contact your advisor right away to ask about a change, preferably in the first week of classes.  We can sometimes swap out courses that may work better for you, but we won’t know unless you talk to us.  The longer you wait, the less likely we’ll be able to help, and the more likely it will end up costing you money.

10. We’re Here to Help

Your advisor is your friend, and we know the consequences (or will find out) of every action you might take. So talk to us before you make decisions.  Withdrawing, switching classes and/or not showing up all have impacts on your eligibility for financial aid both now and in the future so let us help you decide.  Just remember to keep the communication lines open, check your email, and return our phone calls.  We only want to help.

We hope this helps you transition as a new student to Moraine Park Technical College and that it gives you a good start to what we know will be a great semester. Don’t forget to contact us in October to prepare for the spring semester, it will be here before you know it! 2015-2016 Advisors by Program

Written by Renae Fischer
Academic Advisor - NTO