Keep copies of all official documents you send and receive [i.e. fee receipts, identification cards, advising worksheets, course outlines, petitions, financial aid information, etc.]. Document everything that is or could be important. If you're in doubt about whether you need to document your actions or conversations, keep track of it. It just might help you solve a big problem down the road.
Carefully read your Student Guide, department handbooks, course outlines, course schedule, receipts, and all other information you receive from the University regarding registration, courses, housing, financial aid, and loans etc.
You are responsible for knowing University policies and deadlines.
Be informed about your financial responsibilities and University deadlines, e.g. keep track of what you owe and why. This may seem self-evident, but it is easy to forget. Losing track of the debt you owe, the deadlines, and the reasons for your debt are a good recipe for increasing the debt itself unnecessarily.
Before you contact a University office, take some time to think about and simplify your complaint. Decide what the main issue is and what action you are seeking. Write down your questions in advance. Have the information and documentation available that you may need in your discussion.
Collect relevant information from a variety of sources (i.e. counsellors, professors, TAs, Student Services etc.). Be sure you communicate your needs to professors, staff, and administrators; they will not know what you need or what your issues are unless you tell them, so be specific.
If you do not know who to ask or how to find what you are looking for, ask the Ombudsperson Office.