I know exactly how to get a bad grade in a college course, which is why i am supremely qualified to explain how to succeed. Trust me. If you want an A, follow these simple steps. I promise not to be sarcastic except in pipelinks.
The only thing you need on the first day is a notebook and a writing utensil which smears ink across paper. Or carbon, who cares. Do your math in ink or your English in pencil. No one cares anymore. Get up in class and go to the bathroom to smoke. No one will stop you, If this amazes you, you need to read this. Anyway, you don't need the book. But we aren't talking about passing, we're talking about getting an A. You want the A. You need an A. You are hungry for an A. Yes, you are. Everything will be better if you sacrifice the drinking and get an A. That's the spirit. Now, go buy the book and read the first chapter before you go to the class. Does this mean that you might have to read five or six chapters before you start classes? Boo fucking hoo, you're the one who wanted an A. You can always return the book in a week if you drop the class, but for now, do some reading so you know what is up and what is not.
Sit in the front of the class. Studies have shown that you will do better in the class this way. You will make the right kind of friends this way. You will hear better, pay attention better, and understand more this way. You will be more visible to the professor who is just itching to write you a recommendation, which you will need. Do it. Sit in the front of the class. This means different things based on differences in classroom geography, however. Ideally you want the professor to turn around from writing on the chalkboard and instinctively gaze directly into your eyes. Sometimes this means sitting a few rows up in a steeply sloped auditorium. Sometimes this means being front and slightly off-center. Eye contact is the goal here, just like it is going to be next Saturday night at the frat party (which you can go to because you did not procrastinate and did your homework on Friday night). I realize that not everyone can manage to coax up the discipline necessary to force themselves into an attention-getting position. To those people I say: suck it up and get your ass the hell up there. You will learn to appreciate it when you have the grades to pay the bills, assuming you have a major that pays bills.
Keep the syllabus. Laminate the syllabus. Light holy candles in a pentagram and worship the syllabus. The several syllabi are your holy texts and your TA's are your prophets for the months ahead. Study and love them.
Expect to do the homework and go to class. Stupid, I know. But seriously, if you go to class and do the homework, all of it, on rainy afternoons when you want to be playing mario kart, but which you know is worse than either (a) not getting an A or (b) getting an A because you are working on sunny, happy, fun afternoons when everyone is drunk, you'll be better off. I know you can't do much about this on the first day, but you can prepare yourself mentally for actually doing work, rather than preparing yourself mentally for dreaming.
Get to know the professor. This is a first week sort of activity rather than a first day thing, and everyone hates a suckup. You don't have to be a suckup. Just wait until the first occurance of office hours and go to them. Wait your turn, unless you go to a school where no one goes to office hours, and in that case, walk right in. Have a prepared question about the material. Ask it. Be openly hostile -- some professors love that sort of thing. In any case, get an answer. This is called establishing rapport, and you want rapport. It helps. E-mail will be good later on, but your first contact has to be personal.
Do these things and you will have an A, which is the point of going to class. At any rate, getting a date is what you can do once you're done with school and have a kickass job with lots of money, thus enhacing your sex appeal, right? Right. Get A's.