How to be a Fresher: An Academic Troubleshoot Guide for UCD
So, you’ve made it this far! Through the CAO, PLC or getting on the wrong bus on Nassau Street, you’ve found yourself in UCD. Whether you’re doing Law, Zoology, Classics or Engineering going to college can be a big change, especially when it comes to the work you’re asked to do and the way in which you have to do it. This page will serve as a one-stop shop for any resources you might need to help you get the best results in college as well as listing the supports available to you if you might be falling behind.
These students have been around the block. You’re assigned to your Peer Mentor Group from your first Orientation week in UCD so that they can help you with any questions you have about how UCD works. Even if all of your mates from secondary school are in a different group and you’d rather be doing anything else than another icebreaker, your Peer Mentor knows a lot about campus and your course, and if they’re unsure about anything they can find it out for you from our next resource!
Programme Office and Student Advisers:
Your Programme Office should be your go-to for finding out info about the nuts and bolts of your degree. Whether you’re concerned about credits, timetables, electives or if your course is the right fit for you. There’s a Programme Office for every major College and contact details for each can be found here:
As well as Programme Offices to help you with the nitty gritty of your course, there are also Student Advisers who can offer one to one support in times of need for every academic programme in UCD.
Whether you’re dealing with personal, emotional or academic issues, the Student Advisers can point you in the best direction regarding UCD procedure, policies and support services. The list of current Student
Advisers for each course can be found here:
Deadlines, Late Submissions & Plagiarism:
Now that you’re in UCD a few things will change about the work you have to submit and the conditions you have to submit it in. Unlike secondary school, the deadlines for assignments in college are pretty airtight. Bar something catastrophic happening, which we’ll get to later, submitting something after the deadline can have consequences. In general, you might find your work marked down from a B- to a C for one week, or to a D+ for two weeks. UCD’s policy on the late submission of coursework can be found here:
One of the biggest pitfalls faced by new students in a university setting is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s ideas or work without due credit being given to them through proper citation.
While it can happen unintentionally for most students, UCD defines the act of plagiarism not by the intention, but by the committing of the act itself. UCD’s policy on plagiarism can be found here:
An excellent guide on how to avoid plagiarism through proper citations from UCD Library can be found here:
Your Students Union:
Whenever you have a problem or question in your first few weeks in UCD, UCDSU always has you covered. From issues with your education to concerns about your welfare, at undergraduate and postgraduate level, we have democratically elected and trained officers to support and represent you! If you ever have a question or an issue that needs solving, come into the SU corridor located in the Old Student Centre and we’ll sort you out with an appointment. For more info on your UCDSU officers and what they can help you with have a look here:
UCD Library Writing and Maths Support Centre:
Two things UCD students may find difficult when they move into 3rd level education are maths and essay writing. Most students find themselves having to do some form of maths or statistics, even in courses where it might not be expected such as Politics or Psychology. UCD’s Library has a dedicated Maths Support Centre which can provide a group for a huge number of modules. Similarly, getting used to academic essay writing can be difficult for new students. UCD Library also has a Writing Centre which provides tuition on all aspects of writing, whether creative, research-based or as part of a formal presentation.
For information on both the Maths Support Centre and the Writing Centre respectively you can look here:
Final Year Students:
How to be a Final Year: Going Forward After UCD
So, this is it! Your last few months (hopefully) in UCD as an undergrad. You’re probably scrambling to find something to do for the summer like a J1 or a part-time job in your local. UCDSU has your back when it comes to guiding you in the right direction for when you enter the big bad world of being a “Recent Graduate”, and this page serves as a quick pitstop for when you’re struggling about where to go next.
Did you know that UCD has a dedicated centre for career development and that you can use this service for up to two years after you officially leave UCD? Just use your UCD Student Number and password to access their Careers Connect service if you’re a current student or give the centre a call on 01 716 7574 if you’re a graduate. This will give you access to one on one consulting where you can get help on your C.V, interview technique and anything else career related. For more info on the Career Development Centre have a look here:
Students Union: In your last few months in UCD you could run into new issues or have questions you might never have needed to ask before and UCDSU always has you covered. From issues with your final exams or assignments to concerns about your welfare as you leave college, at undergraduate and postgraduate level, we have democratically elected and trained officers to support and represent you! If you ever have a question or an issue that needs solving, come into the SU corridor located in the Old Student Centre and we’ll sort you out with an appointment. For more info on your UCDSU officers and what they can help you with have a look here:
Much like the Career Development Centre, your use of the UCD Libraries doesn’t stop when you graduate. For just 30 Euro a year you can get access to all of UCD’s Libraries. With a huge amount of books and journals, as well as being an excellent study space, getting year-round access for less than the price of four drinks in Dublin is a bargain. Whether you’re studying for your FE1’s or just like the peace and quiet it’s well worth a look. More info can be found here:
Now that you’re about to have a degree from the largest university in Ireland, you also get the right to vote for your representation in Irelands Upper House, Seanad Éireann. UCD Graduates have 3 senators representing them, able to vote alongside graduates of the other N.U.I programmes. In order to be able to vote you will have to fill in a registration form which can be found here:
The form should be returned to the National University of Ireland offices using the address provided. If you ever have any questions about how or why to register then send an email to our UCDSU Graduate Officer at email@example.com
After you’ve spent three or four years in UCD, you probably have a few favourite lecturers and modules or an area of your degree where everything just clicked. As you enter your final few months in UCD it can be a good time to start thinking about asking those lecturers for academic references. Much like professional references you might already have on your C.V, having a lecturer who can stand over your work after you leave UCD can be a great help when getting into graduate employment programmes and postgraduate degrees. The two biggest rules when asking for an academic reference is to be polite and to be patient. Your lecturers are under no obligation to give you a reference and will always appreciate someone who asks in person, provides all the information as to why they would like a reference and, most importantly, thanks to them when they do eventually get a reference!
Conversion Courses/Going Back to School:
One of the most daunting things students face as they come close to graduation is doubt around what they want to do later on in life or if their course is really relevant to their career goals. Rather than feel stuck, there are a number of opportunities available to students from every course to be able to re-skill and enter nearly any area of work. From Computer Science, Law and Business conversion courses to Professional Masters in Education there are plenty of ways you can make your degree work for you and to branch out into areas you might not have thought of before. When looking for advice on where to go after your undergrad degree you can chat with your programme office, a list of which can be found here:
and it never hurts to have a chat with your Student Adviser, whose contact details can be found here: https://www.ucd.ie/studentadvisers/about/staffprofiles/
Final Bit of Advice:
Getting this far and completing an undergraduate degree is an achievement that anyone should be proud of. While the next few weeks *should* be filled with study and prep for your final exams, it’s always completely okay to take some time to yourself and enjoy your time in UCD. It’s also always okay to ask for help if you need it and to talk to someone. On behalf of UCDSU, good luck and have fun!