If you’re just starting college at the end of January, you may feel like you’re late to the party. Most of your fellow students have been there since the beginning of fall and have already fallen into a rhythm with the campus, their teachers and classes, and their friends. It’s natural to feel like an outsider.
There are many reasons to begin school spring semester. Taking time between high school and college gives students a chance to take a breath and reassess what it really is they want to learn and where they want to be. Many freshmen who start in spring do so because they were meticulous in choosing the school they really want to be at, or ended up on a wait list and decided to work or travel in the meantime. In fact, more and more schools are starting to encourage starting in January to accommodate drop-outs, transfers, and students deciding to take gap years or gap semesters, or study abroad.
Although starting in January is becoming more and more common across the board, this is not true campus to campus and students starting in the Spring semester face a different set of challenges and a different college experience than students who began fall semester.
If you’re just about to start college here are some things you should know:
First, while instructors tend to give students some leeway to ease into their classes at the beginning of the fall semester, this is not the case come spring. Remember, they’ve been here since fall semester too, and they’re ready to jump right in. That means, you’ve got to be ready too. Be sure to have ALL of your textbooks and materials ready for the first day of class. Review your syllibi and be familiar with the content of your textbooks and materials to get a jump on the class. That means going over the table of contents, chapter descriptions, and introductions.
Second, meet with your advisor to make sure you’re on the right track to graduate on time. Find out which courses you will need and when they are offered. Remember, your classmates have already had a whole semester to start thinking about their majors, so don’t feel rushed to catch up without first taking a variety of courses. Concentrate on what you know you will need to graduate, and take some courses in areas you are interested in. With a roadmap of what you need to accomplish over the next four years, you’ll be better suited to relax into your college experience right along with your classmates.
If you’ve already taken some courses at a local or community college, or spent what would have been your fall semester at work, you may have already earned college credit that can be counted towards your bachelor’s degree. To find out more, visit thecareerpeople.com.