The Fall 2012 semester will soon be nothing but a memory. Final exams are here – or will be soon – and students are anxious for winter break. In the midst of the traditional holiday hullabaloo and your much-deserved days of rest and relaxation, it’s in your best interest to slowly start preparing for Spring 2013, which will be here before you know it.
Whether you live at home or on campus or you’re a freshman or an upperclassman, your first week back to school will be hectic. Take a pro-active stance and help start the new semester on a good note.
Here are 10 things to do as soon as you can:
1. Make sure you are really enrolled. It may sound like a no-brainer, but make sure you are enrolled to attend next semester. Computer glitches and inter-office user errors do happen. It’s better to check now than be told, “Sorry, we don’t know what happened!” when you show up for classes on the first day.
2. Register for your classes. Likewise, ensure that you are registered for your classes for the Spring 2013 semester. If a class that you wanted to take was full at registration, there may be openings now if other students had to change their plans.
3. Pull up course information online. Once your classes appear to be in order, pull up the course information online. Depending on your college’s system and regulations, you may be able to find your class syllabi online. If not, you should still be able to find a basic overview of each course in your school catalog.
4. Make a tentative schedule. Map out a tentative weekly schedule so you have an idea of what your spring 2013 schedule will be like. Will you have time to eat lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays, or will be you running across campus from one building to another? Will your night class on Thursdays interact with the part-time job schedule you had last semester? If you were able to get hold of the syllabus for a class, you can even make a tentative semester-long schedule, making note of exam and due dates. They may change, of course, but having at least an idea can be helpful.
5. Research your professors. Websites that feature professor ratings are sometimes deemed controversial or inaccurate, but you can find out about your new professors by pulling up their profiles on your college’s website. You can also ask around your circle of friends—has anyone else had Dr. Brown or Dr. Jones? What are your friends’ opinions of them?
6. Price your textbooks now. Federal provisions require colleges to provide students with a list of required books and their ISBNs before class registration, so you can start to price your college textbooks now. You can most likely achieve substantial savings purchasing used books or buying them online as opposed to shopping at the bookstore on campus.
7. Purchase your basic school supplies. If you decide to wait on textbooks, make sure you have notebooks, pens, Post-Its, and any other basics that you know you’ll be using. These simple school supplies are also much costlier on campus than they are in discount stores and supercenters.
8. Double-check the school calendar for move-in day. Most colleges and universities require residential students to move out during the break between the fall and spring semester. If you live on campus, make sure your flight is not arriving prior to the day you’re allowed to move back into your room.
9. Organize your room and desk. Once you’re back in the dorm , unpack your things and organize your desk or preferred study area. It will be tough to accomplish anything with piles of clothes and books lying around. Yes, you will have reading to do and assignments to work on during your first week of classes.
10. Work on your FAFSA. Remind your parents to start gathering their financial and tax information as soon as possible. The FAFSA for the 2013-2014 academic year will be available online on January 1, 2013. Financial aid for eligible students is often awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so the sooner you file your FAFSA, the better.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
Have something to say? Feel free to add comments or additional information.