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End Your Semester Strong – A Guide For College Students

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By: Mariah Rogers
Nov 25, 2020 • 7 min read

End Your Semester The Right Way – A Guide For College Students.

The end is near! You’ve worked hard all semester, faced new challenges presented by the virus, and adjusted to difficult classes. Before you close your laptop for the next 3 months and bury your textbooks deep in your desk drawers, there are a few steps you should take to get everything in order. This way, you will be able to start the new semester in the spring with little stress and preparation. Here are a few steps you might overlook as the race to the finish line begins!

end your semester

Thank Your Professors 

First and foremost, it is crucial to email your professors with a well-written thank-you note. They have also had to do a lot of adjusting this semester. Whether it be changing their lesson plan, teaching style to adjust to the hybrid model, or shifting their class to an entirely virtual platform, the fall hasn’t been easy. So, show your thanks and re-cap on your great semester to tell them how appreciative you are. Educators have sacrificed so much during this time for our learning, and by sending a quick email, you might just make their day.

Sample email:

Hi Professor XYZ,

I wanted to express my gratitude for everything you have done for our History 232 class this semester. I know that this was a very challenging time for faculty, and your dedication made the learning process feel very natural and seamless for me as a student. It was a pleasure to be in your class this semester, and I hope to see you back on campus in the spring! Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the well-deserved time off.

Best,

Name

Organize Your Desktop & Backup Your Files 

You will likely be doing some traveling this break, even if that means just going home. College students are very familiar with the winter break packing struggles. Who knows how much stuff you’ll need over these two months, so why not bring it all home, right?! In the process of packing, transporting, and storing your belongings, you want to prepare for the possibility of laptop malfunctions. You’ll also want to organize your files systematically so that you can find them again if an employer asks for a portfolio or writing samples! Make sure to backup all of your files in at least two locations, and organize these documents so that you can locate them at a later date.

Steps to backup files and organize:

  1. Make a folder and label it with your year of study and semester, ex: “Junior, Fall.”
  2. Make subfolders and label each of them with the title of your classes, ex: “MGT 341.”
  3. Label your individual documents and place them into the corresponding folder.
  4. Backup your files on a flash drive and upload the main folder to Google Drive

end your semester

Return Old Textbooks and Order Your New Ones 

As the race to the end of the semester commences, you will likely have a lot on your plate. Ease the burden by returning your old textbooks after you complete each final. Make it a habit that after you complete your exam, you go to the school post office or town drop-off center to package up your books and ship them back. This way, you will avoid any late fees for keeping your textbooks past the deadline! Another tip is to go ahead and order your new textbooks for the spring before you depart from campus. Most schools have their students register for the next semester of classes a few weeks before finals, so you likely already know your schedule for the spring. Go ahead and order your books so that they don’t become unavailable or sold out. This will save you from a big headache in a few short months!

Where to rent/purchase affordable textbooks:

  • Chegg
  • Amazon student
  • Slugbooks

Pro tip: Avoid waiting until the last minute and purchasing your materials at the campus bookstore, as these prices are almost always higher than the rental sites listed above.

Meet With Your Academic Advisor

At the end of each semester, make it a point to meet with your academic advisor. Schedule the meeting a few weeks before your finals begin to avoid overbooking yourself. Bring your class list for the upcoming semester, and prepare to talk about your degree evaluation. This is a great way to make sure you are on track to graduate on-time and ensure that you are taking all of the courses required to complete your major. If there does seem to be an issue or you’re a bit behind, now is the time to register for winter session courses and catch up. Local community colleges offer most general classes, making it an affordable, convenient way to get yourself where you need to be. It’s better to catch up now versus finding out you’re a credit short during senior year. So, make sure that meeting with your advisor becomes a priority at the end of every semester.

Pro tip: Winter classes typically only last 3-4 weeks from the end of December into the beginning of January. Make sure to double-check that the course you enroll in transfers to your full-time college/university!

end your semester

Pay Outstanding Balances/Holds On Your Student Account 

Every so often, outstanding balances or holds can appear on your account unexpectedly. These can be charges such as involvement fees, technology fees, parking tickets, or housing deposits. Before you depart for home, make sure to pay your outstanding balances and address any holds on your account. This is an important step because come spring, some colleges/universities will not let you enroll for the new semester until these charges are taken care of. Plus, handling this ahead of time allows you to double-check each charge and make sure it is correct.

What are your tips for ending the semester strong? Let us know on social media!

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