As a new school year begins at SMU, it is a particularly exciting time to be here — the University is commemorating the 100th anniversary of its founding and opening with The Second Century Celebration.

Classes started Monday, August 20, and it’s a good time for first-year students to consider their first lesson — college is different. And for more experienced students to remind themselves that each new school year brings a new beginning.

High school students typically study outside of class as little as two hours a week for frequent, small tests. In college, they need to study at least two to three hours outside of class for each hour in class, for just a few big tests each term. And in high school, students could count on parents and teachers to remind them of their responsibilities. In college, they must set their own priorities.

SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center offers free tutoring and workshops throughout the academic year, including time management, learning styles and test preparation. The center offers 10 study tips for new college students; read more.

SMU Director of Parent and Family Programs Deanie Kepler regularly offers advice for both parents and students.

“Certain times in the academic year tend to be more challenging than others,” says Kepler. “Parents who understand the ‘ups and downs’ of their student’s first year will be better equipped to help them negotiate the challenges they will face.” See a month-by-month list of what to expect the first semester.

Don’t miss Kepler’s list of friendly reminders for the start of school.

And don’t forget the community side of SMU:

While it is possible to spend the school year without leaving the campus, the yearning for a change of scenery may find you looking for something new to do. Even if you don’t have a car, there are options — SMU’s free 768 Mustang Express travels near the campus; a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) pass costs $5 and reaches across the area; and the University is experimenting with Zipcars. Read more.

For information about religious holidays, please visit the Office of the Chaplain’s information page.

Convocation, a tradition dating to 1915, was celebrated Sunday, August 19, with professors and administrators formally welcoming students to a new academic year. This year’s principal speaker was SMU President R. Gerald Turner. As part of that tradition, first-year and transfer students participated in Rotunda Passage by walking through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall, SMU’s first building and a historical landmark.