Semester Checklist

Welcome to Wichita State University! We understand that beginning college can be a daunting task, and that's why we've compiled a comprehensive checklist to assist you in staying organized and well-prepared for your first semester. With a solid plan in place, you can confidently and enthusiastically tackle any challenges that come your way. Allow us to help you make the most of your college experience!

Access to your online tools

You will use your myWSU ID and password to access all your academic information.

  • myWSU ID Location: You received an email with this information along with how to set up your password. If you have forgotten your myWSU ID, please contact OneStop at 855-978-1787.
  • myWSU Portal: Once you have logged in, you will be able to view your classes, financial aid, & grades.
  • Check your school email regularly.
  • Blackboard: This is our learning management platform. You can access course information, syllabus, and communication here.
  • Familiarize yourself with apps and software that will help you accomplish your school work.
  • Contact the Help Desk at (316) 978-4357  if you run into technology issues such as managing your password and email access.

Breaking Down Your Syllabus

Live by your syllabus. Why? The syllabus is a powerful tool, it tells you absolutely everything you could ever want to know about your course. Reviewing your syllabus reduces stress later in the semester. The tasks below barely take any time at all and they will boost your productivity

Step 1: Read

Sounds obvious right? However, after a quick glance at the coursework load, most students set the document aside without checking policies for late work, how and when to contact the instructor, what to do if you have a family/personal emergency and need more time or an incomplete, etc. Read the entire syllabus from the beginning to end and you won’t have any surprises down the road. You will know what is expected of you and what you can expect from your instructor.

Step 2: Decide

Ever taken a course where most of your grade is determined by a larger exam or research paper at the end? If this is a format or style you don’t jive with - the syllabus will tell you ahead of time. Again, reading your syllabus gives you the power by clearly explaining course expectations. If your course seems impossible to do well in, you can immediately look into other options

Step 3: Plan

After reviewing the layout of your course and deciding it’s a commitment you can make – start planning. Write down every due date offered in your syllabus where ever you enjoy planning your week. This can be a paper planner or calendar, it can also be a digital calendar on your phone. As you do this, you’ll begin to get a very clear idea when to begin studying or devoting time to an assignment.

Step 4: Check

The syllabus will list multiple ways you can communicate with your instructor such as email, phone, and office hours. If you need to make an appointment or wanted to verify information you’re unsure of, always refer back to the syllabus for the best ways to connect with your instructor. 

Step 5: Refer

Around midterms, or if you want to calculate how an assignment would influence your grade, keep your syllabus on hand. Sometimes your instructor might alter an exam date or move assignments around. When this happens, keep your syllabus near so you can update it along with your calendar. If you have your syllabus with you, you won’t have to wait to make note of any changes.


Establishing a connection with your instructors at the beginning of the semester will streamline communication in the future. Email your professor to introduce yourself and ask your questions about the class syllabus. You may think a small interaction like this might not mean much, but research opportunities are offered or a letter of recommendation is needed, these small interactions can put your name at the top and make a difference.

Parts of an email

Understanding the parts of an email:

TO: Place the email address of the individual you wish to send a message to

CC (Carbon Copy): Use this to add individuals who need a copy of the email. the original receiver of the email will see these additional email addresses.

BCC (Blind Carbon Copy): Use this when you want another individual to get a copy of the email and they only know they got a copy. BCC means the original receiver does not know anyone else is getting a copy.

Subject: Your subject line should contain 2-5 words summarizing the content of your email. This could include the course name and section.

Body of the email:

  • Begin your email with a greeting such as 'Hello' or 'Dear'
  • Be direct and to the point. Use short simple sentences to make your note easier to read
  • Closing lines:  You may reiterate any requests you’ve made at the end of your message
  • Sign Off: Sign off with a professional phrase like 'Sincerely', 'Many Thanks', or 'Warm Regards'
  • Signature: First and Last Name along with important information such as your Student ID, Course Name and Section, and how to contact you (email and phone)


Format & Tone*


  • Be mindful of formatting. Special characters, images, fonts, etc. may appear differently on the intended receivers end.
  • Watch out for run on sentences and long emails. Emails are meant to be concise and to the point not dissertations.
  • Leave out the abbreviations and emoticons. The receiver may not understand or be aware of the meanings behind these two things. When in doubt, it is best to leave it out.
  • Use proper structure and layout. Reading from a screen can be difficult, ensuring your email has a structure and concise layout is important. Make sure you have short paragraphs with spaces in between and use numbers or tick marks when making points.


  • Don’t email your professor asking and/or complaining about grades. If you have inquiries, schedule an appointment to meet in person to review areas of improvement.
  • Think about the impression your tone will make in the email. If you are emotionally charged, it is best to wait 24 hours before emailing or responding to emails
  • Do not write in all CAPITALS. This makes it seem that you are shouting at the receiver.
  • Treat faculty (and other students) with respect. Refrain from bad-mouthing or calling unnecessary attention to situations. Golden rule- treat those how you want to be treated.


*Source: Email Etiquette


Follow up guidelines

When do I need to follow up?

Allow the proper amount of response time of 24-48 hours before following up. This applies to both senders and receivers.


Designated Workspace

Everybody works and thrives differently. Find a space that both stimulates and motivates without pulling from your studies. Does your workspace look comfortable and organized? If it's not an area you would want to be in, take the time to clean before the start of the new semester.

If you are studying on the go, prepare a bag with homework, study materials, school supplies, and snacks. Find a place that will allow you to spread out and focus. When you block out times to do school work, have a goal in mind on what you need to accomplish.

Textbook rental or purchase

Gathering and purchasing textbooks are one of the most beneficial things you can do early to remove the stress from your plate before classes begin. You can also check and see if your course is part of the Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative (OAT). It is designed to expand the use of freely-available resources in our classes in an effort to address the rising cost of textbooks. Courses with an OAT designation are visible to students in the course schedule.

You have the option to purchase your textbooks through the Shocker Store. It's important to have your CRNs for the courses you are taking on hand. You can find this information on your class schedule. Double-check your syllabi for required course materials before purchasing. If you have questions about alternative textbooks, please contact your instructor.

Shocker Store: Order my textbooks