Going back to school is a big choice—one you’ll thank
yourself for time and time again. But starting off in your first semester can
be intimidating. Whether you’re earning your degree online or in person, you
might have some apprehensions about starting school.
There’s nothing to worry about. School is just one more
hurdle waiting to be jumped. Stick with us and you’ll not only survive your
first semester, you’ll thrive.
There’s a lot you can do to set yourself up for success
before your first semester even begins. First things first: enrollment.
Have you enrolled yet? If so, how many units (also known as credit hours) did you enroll in? Units aren’t arbitrary numbers. While most
courses are 3 units, some courses may be 2 or 4. Typically, a 3 unit course requires
3 hours of contact hours (hours spent in class) per week, and 6-9 hours spent
outside of class on homework or reading. Plan accordingly. If you’re working
full- or part-time while going back to school, make sure you don’t take on more
than you can handle. When in doubt, ask your advisor for guidance on
Financial aid is how you get school paid for—sometimes for
free. The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student
Aid (FAFSA). The sooner you do this, the sooner you find out what scholarships,
grants and loans you automatically qualify for. But don’t stop there. There are
thousands of scholarships that you can apply for. Check out your school’s
financial aid website for details and information on how to apply. One of the
best ways to be successful in your first semester is to make sure you’re not
stressed out about the cost.
Buy a planner, download a scheduling app, or make best
friends with your phone’s calendar. Whatever you choose, you need some way of
staying on top of your new school work load. When you’re juggling school, a
career and a family, you need to extra diligent in planning your time.
Get To Know Your Professors And Classmates
You’re not going through your first semester of college
alone. Your professors and classmates are right there with you and are often
the best people to go to if you get overwhelmed or don’t understand all of the
material. Try starting a study group or get involved on the class’s online
discussion board, and check out our tips on how to get to know your professor.
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