11 Life Hacks for Success at University of Denver (DU)




Get connected as soon as you arrive

After you step foot on the 125-acre DU campus, your first priority is to find your dorm or campus residence. Once you’ve found where you will be living, connect to the DU guest Wifi network. Once you’re connected, grab a campus map and report to the I-House for check-in. Here you’ll be greeted by fellow students and guided through the paperwork process. A staff member will then show you to the basement of Driscoll North to receive your student ID card. The next step is to get set up with a debit card from US Bank at the student banking center (see #11 for more info).

From here you’re ready to get a hold of your orientation schedule. Go to campus events, register for classes, and get an RTD transportation card from the ID office. Now you can explore Denver for free! Use your RTD card to go to the mall (see tip #7) and get a cell phone or SIM card. Most international students choose T-Mobile as their service carrier.

Get yourself organized with a planner to pencil in class times and events before school starts. Familiarize yourself with campus buildings and local hotspots, like nearby restaurants and coffee shops with help from an app called: Yelp (it is similar to Chinese’ 大众点评).

Understand campus living options and requirements

At DU, it’s typically required that students live on campus for 2-years in one of the five dorms for undergraduate students. Apartments are available after the first two years on campus. Shared housing options with other students and local families are also available. Check out the end of this post for a survival guide to each dorm.

Find resources for international students

The I-House is the best resource for any immigration or status-related information. The staff offers 10-minute information sessions every day during drop-in hours. Here’s a look at their current drop-in schedule:

Monday: 10am – 12pm, Tuesday: 1pm – 4pm, Wednesday: 10am – 12pm, Thursday: 1pm – 4pm, Friday: 10am – 12pm

If you need more than 10 minutes with a staff member, you can also schedule an appointment here.

Find options for Daniels students

DCB runs a lot of things separately from DU. For advising, students can only visit DCB advisors. Undergraduate and graduate departments are separate along with academic advising and career advising services.

Get involved with some of the many student groups on campus. Undergraduate students studying business might be interested in joining a business fraternity like Delta Sigma Pi or Alpha Kappa Psi. If numbers are your thing, join Beta Alpha Psi a group exclusively for accounting majors. Graduate students have opportunities such as the Graduate Business Student Association and more. For a full list of events and groups, visit the student organizations page.

Get familiar with the DU website

All academic and school-related information for DU students can be found here. Upload your current address, view grades, and print transcripts under the “Myweb” tab. Pay tuition under the “Student” tab and choose your classes for the following quarter all from this website. Take some time to get familiar with the website and its features.

Understand academic life online

For international students, this might be new, but this is a required website that is used every day by students at DU. Almost every class will post school-related materials on this website. Professors typically upload class PowerPoint presentations, reading materials, and exams online. Most importantly, you’ll find the class syllabus.

The syllabus is the key to your academic success. It is a contract between you and the professor. It includes the class schedule, objectives, due dates and more. In order to be successful in each class, read the syllabus very carefully because each professor is quite different, and they list their requirements clearly in this document.

For help choosing professors, visit Rate My Professors. This website allows you to read professor reviews from other students.  Students provide helpful insight regarding classes, requirements, and course difficulty.

Use the Morneau Shepell app

DU recently partnered with a mental health organization called Morneau Shepell. For 24/7 access to counselors, students can download their app “My SSP.” If you’re homesick, overwhelmed by the new culture, or stressed from school, talk to a professional for help. The app is available in many different languages, so you can talk in your native tone.

Master public transportation

The DU campus is located in South Denver about 15-minutes from downtown. As a student, you will receive a free RTD pass to ride any form public transportation. In addition to busses, there is a light rail station on the north side of campus with 3 different lines that go downtown, in under 20 minutes.

Just remember that Northbound takes you downtown. If you get on a Southbound bus, you’ll head toward a movie theater and an arcade. If you keep going South, you’ll end up at Park Meadows Mall. Bus #24 goes north and south on University Blvd and the Northbound line will take you to Cherry Creek mall. Bus #21 goes East and West on Evans Ave, and can be used to get to Safeway. With all of the transportation options available, you have convenient access to everything you need.

Get involved with international student organizations

International students can join several different organizations. Chinese students can join Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA). Asian students can join Asian Students Association (ASA). Also, DU Programming Board (DUPB) hosts several fun events for students throughout the school year. There are over 100 organizations on campus to explore. Find a group that matches your interests. Click here to view all of the clubs at DU.

Be a part of student events

Homecoming, Winter Carnival, and May Days are three of the biggest traditions at DU. Homecoming is hosted in Fall Quarter with a big celebration, including alumni and parents. There is usually a parade, food, a hockey game, and more. Winter Carnival happens in Winter Quarter. During a weekend, more than half of the campus goes to the mountain to ski and snowboard. There is a music concert in the mountain village center, tubing, and even an ice rink with hot chocolate at the event. May Days is hosted in Spring Quarter and usually includes a whole week of events across campus. There are food trucks, themed days, and movie nights.

Study this dorm survival guide

Centennial Halls holds two 10-story-buildings, has the most active lifestyle and events for freshmen and has a dining hall with great food options. It’s located on the edge of campus, far away from most buildings except the gym and art building. It’s also conveniently close to the light rail and bus stations. Fun activities are held by RAs and students can choose between female, male, and mixed gender floors. Each floor has shared bathrooms.

Centennial Towers are similar to Centennial Halls. The towers hold a lot of students, some freshmen, and sophomores. It’s a quiet community with a lot of athletes since it doesn’t completely close during winter break. The rooms themselves have bathrooms in the towers. Shared kitchen space is also available because there is no dining hall. Students usually go across the street to Centennial Halls for dining.

J-Mac holds fewer students and is home to the living-learning communities. Since it doesn’t have a dining hall, students usually go to the Nagel building or Nelson Food Court. It’s located close to the center of campus near the science buildings next to Nelson.

Nelson is a second-year student dorm with a much smaller dining hall. Students advise avoiding the 6 o’clock crowd to skip long lines at each station. Nelson isn’t as fun as Centennial Halls and fewer activities are available with your RA and hall mates. Students live with friends in a suite with shared bathrooms and there are usually one or two shared kitchen spaces on each floor. The fifth floor is the coolest floor with two suites that have a balcony. It’s located at the center of campus, in between J-Mac and Nagel.

Nagel has second-year students in addition to juniors and seniors. It has a food court that’s different from the dining halls. Many different types of suites are available as well. Rooms may share a living room, bathroom, and kitchen. This building is located near the center of campus next to Nelson.


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