With the fall semester just starting, it may seem as if graduation is a long time away.

But with studying, activities, internships and other commitments, you may not even notice time whizzing by.

So what’s the secret to making the most of your time at UCF and graduating as planned?

Over the past 50 years, nearly 250,000 students have graduated from UCF, and we’ve gathered tips for academic success from across campus to help you on your journey to reaching that milestone.

Get involved in campus life. UCF is home to hundreds of student organizations, including Greek life, academic and cultural clubs, and intramural sports teams.

Don’t fret if you don’t know where to start. Each fall during the first week of classes, UCF hosts a welcome week called Pegasus Palooza. Social, academic and service activities are planned for each day to help new and returning students get acquainted with campus and meet fellow Knights.

Among the new student groups launching this fall is First Knights Organization, which will support first-generation college students as they adjust to campus life and help them get involved.

“As a first-generation student, involvement is a big reason why I have had much success at UCF,” said LaShaunda Hayes, the organization’s interim president. “Getting involved my freshman year helped me to surround myself with other leaders on campus, and that’s what I hope First Knights does for other students.”

Apply for scholarships. UCF awards more than $500 million in financial assistance each year, and there’s a piece of that pie out there for you, too.

Be aware of the grant and scholarship opportunities that are available. Many of them are listed online here.

If you’re aiming high, consider reaching out to the Office of Prestigious Awards. The office works with students in pursuit of major scholarships or fellowships funded by national or international foundations, and staff can help you determine which awards might be the best fit for your skills, talents and goals.

Get on a first-name basis with your advisor. Your academic advisor can help you navigate courses, guide you in changing your major and ensure that you’re on track to graduate on time, so don’t hold off on introducing yourself to them.

First-year students are assigned an advisor from First Year Advising & Exploration. Once you declare a major, an advisor from your college is assigned to you. Students who haven’t declared a major or are in the process of changing their area of study can visit the Sophomore and Second Year Center.

“Regardless of the questions students have, know that we can either answer them directly or point students in the right direction,” said academic advising coordinator David Oglethorpe. “As for schedule planning and academics, it’s very important that students review their planned schedules with their advisors at least once a semester – this way, we can ensure that everything is in place for success.”

Visit the Student Self Service tab on myUCF to learn how to contact your advisor.

Consider learning outside of the classroom. Nearly three quarters of all UCF students take at least one online course each year, and web, video and blended classes account for more than 34 percent of all student credit hours.

It’s no secret that web-based courses offer flexibility for students, but a study from the U.S. Department of Education also found that on average, students perform better in blended classes than they do in face-to-face classes.

Some UCF programs even offer fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees.

“Blended and online learning gives you options, and that’s why I find them so convenient,” said Joyce Jacobson, a junior business management major. “I have a job, but I can still watch lectures and learn lessons in a way that fits into my schedule. Those types of courses also teach you a lot about time management—you have to be responsible and watch lectures and take notes. The accountability falls on you.”

Remember that it’s never too early to think about what’s next. From resume critiques to mock interviews to career exploration, Career Services and Experiential Learning helps students plan their futures outside of UCF.

Whether you’re on the hunt for a job, internship or career, the office’s location near Memory Mall is a one-stop shop for students seeking assistance with achieving their academic and professional goals. There are resources to help you explore career fields, gain hands-on work experience and line up plans for after graduation.

The key is to think about what comes next early on.

More than 100 employers will gather at UCF on Oct. 3 for the Fall Career Expo, which is open to students and alumni looking for a way to connect with the job market. More information is available online, and the deadline to register is in September.