You can now listen to Episode 9 of “Conversations with Student Affairs,” the podcast managed by the Student Affairs team at Penn State World Campus in collaboration with our many colleagues and partners across the University’s Student Affairs teams.
Title: Starting & Finishing the Semester Strong
Participating staff member: Andrea Buffone, Assistant Director for World Campus Academic Advising
Summary: Get tips for maintaining positive progress before, during, and at the end of the semester. We will share critical reasons for students to connect with their academic advisers and instructors and will also discuss the importance of planning and preparation.
Three interesting or helpful takeaways from this episode:
One way to finish the current semester strong is to have your next semester well-planned. Ending one semester while preparing to start another can be stressful, especially because some of the most important time periods can overlap. “The scheduling period to register for courses starts pretty early — many students are often surprised at how early you can register for courses for the next semester,” Andrea says. “Getting this done early will alleviate that stress way before you need to worry about final exams. The stronger you finish off any semester, the better prepared you will feel for the one that is starting next. This is a great time to reach out to your adviser, so they can help you plan for the next semester.”
Build strong connections with staff and faculty. Your academic adviser and instructors can be valuable resources and serve as an important support system. Among other things, your adviser can help with identifying, selecting, and registering for the courses you need, which can greatly alleviate a source of potential stress. Instructors can help you understand complicated topics, often serve as mentors, and may also be able to offer letters of recommendation if you need them in the future.
Understand how the syllabus can help you. The syllabus often gets a bad rap, but it can play a key role in helping students set up a successful semester. By studying the syllabus for each course at the start of the semester, you can be proactive in identifying any challenges you may anticipate — and you can plot out your schedule and deadlines far enough in advance to allow plenty of time to finish everything. This is also your opportunity to become familiar with the policies and expectations of the course and instructor.
Catch up on all episodes:
- Time Management: Five Essentials for Online Learners — these essentials can help you be as productive as possible.
- Infographic: Plan Ahead for a New Semester — check these important steps off your list as you get ready for the next semester.