If you go to a State Fair this summer, like the one in Indiana pictured with this article, have a ball experiencing centrifugal force. This may even qualify as “experiential learning” of Physics! But after you recover from that, you may want to take some down time to reflect on college so far and what you can do to make the coming academic year successful.
[Photo credit: Just Jefa on Wikimedia Commons]
Here are FIVE key questions to contemplate along with some resources for further exploration.
1. Did you get the grades you hoped for? Did you complete as many credits and courses as you wanted to?
Academic Progress Resources:
Check out how you are progressing toward completing all the elements needed for a bachelor’s degree by reviewing your degree audit on myUMBC (under the topic “Advising and Student Support”).
If you performed poorly in a course, consider enrolling in it for a second attempt in the summer session or in the fall. Only the higher grade will count in your UMBC GPA. Also, you may need to adjust your fall schedule if you earned less than a “C” in a prerequisite course.
For additional academic support, consider enrolling in LRC 105 (formerly LRC 101) Academic Success for Lifelong Learning (for students in good academic standing) or LRC 101A (for students with cumulative GPAs under 2.0). Learn more here.
2. How are you feeling about that major you picked? If undeclared, what is your current thinking about picking a major?
Choosing a Major (and Career) Resources:
Consider using the “What if…” feature of the UMBC degree audit to see how your completed and planned courses would fit into a potential new major.
Review the “What Can I do with my xxxxx Major?” sheets on the UMBC Career Services web pages here. While you are there, check out Career Path and listen to videos recorded by UMBC alums about how their UMBC degrees led them to a career.
3. Did living in the dorm work for you? Did commuting from home work for you? Do you need to consider a different living or commuting arrangement? What options do you have?
Housing and Commuting Resources:
Learn more about off-campus housing options here.
Learn about public transportation and carpooling options here.
4. Did you strike a good balance between focus on academics and focus on “extras”? What do you need to do more of and what do you need to do less of?
Social Connections and Extracurriculars Resources:
Read about all the many extracurricular organizations at UMBC here.
Learn about how to create an effective study group here.
5. Did you live up to the academic standards of your scholarships and financial aid? Will this aid continue into your next year of college? Is your account with the university in good standing or is there an unpaid balance?
Financing College Resources:
Read about Satisfactory Academic Progress rules for financial aid here.
Check out the status of your student account on myUMBC (under the topic Billing & Personal Finances ) to be sure everything is in order.
Consider signing up for the monthly payment plan to spread out the costs for next semester. To learn more, click here.
Taking inventory of where you stand on all these key dimensions of college life during the summer gives you a chance to get your ducks in a row for the fall. Making sure that you are “on course” for success in every way will improve your chances of:
• Graduating “on time”
• Having a competitive GPA for admission to professional school or for employment
• Finding a meaningful job after graduation
• Being able to work in a field that fits your interests and abilities
WARNING: PITFALL TO AVOID
Don’t self-flagellate or recriminate! Instead, study your situation with analytical detachment and give yourself credit for making some good choices as well as a few less good ones. Get yourself in gear to make improvements and adjustments that will pay off next year.
EXTRA CREDIT DISCUSSION QUESTION
What are some of the issues you will be reflecting on this summer as you plan for the upcoming academic year? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.