CWRU | First Year

Five steps for a strong start to spring semester

Now that you’ve had a full semester’s experience and time away to process, it is time to think back on the experience of fall semester and extract some lessons that will be of value as you move forward.

Consider these five steps:

1. Assess your academic performance
11052015_CWRU_Ten_0122Did last semester’s performance meet the expectations you had set for yourself?

Nice work! What are you going to do to ensure that you’re able to maintain this level of performance? Looking at your schedule, you might notice many of the courses you are taking are more challenging than those you took last semester and include topics and knowledge that are less familiar to you. What kind of adjustments will you need to make to your approach so you are able to achieve the same outcomes as last semester? Remember that the Office of Undergraduate Studies recommends a course load of 14 to 17 hours per semester.

Take some time to think about some areas in which you believe you may have fallen short.

  • Were your study methods ineffective?
  • Did you have challenges managing your time and balancing academic and co-curricular or other obligations?
  • Were there personal matters that interfered with your academic performance?

Once you’ve identified the opportunities for improvement, your next step should be to develop a specific plan for addressing these opportunities, which may include the use of campus resources, like your advisor, residential college director, faculty or other university staff, such as ESS or UH&CS, with whom you feel comfortable.

2. Explore your academic interests
Based on your experiences from the first semester, you may find yourself more committed to the major you had intended to study, considering other options in addition to or instead of the major you had intended to study, completely reconsidering your academic goals or anywhere in between.

Regardless of where you are, there are many people who are here to help you make the most of the opportunities that your first year at CWRU provides. Each department has one or more academic representatives with whom you can consult on a range of questions regarding majors, minors or courses of interest. Whether you’re looking to participate in experiential opportunities, such as research or an internship, get more involved in campus activities, or need some help exploring the many academic programs and associated future opportunities, talk with someone who can help. If you’re not sure where to begin, talk with your advisor. Your residential college director or dean in Undergraduate Studies can also help you get connected with the right people and resources.

3. Set goals
As you reflect, you may identify areas in which you have grown since coming to CWRU. It is also likely that you will identify areas in which you would like to grow or grow even more.

Challenge yourself and set at least one new goal for this semester. Will this be the semester that you:

  • Break out of your comfort zone and get involved?
  • Stop procrastinating and improve your time management?
  • Find an internship?
  • Explore beyond the boundaries of campus?
  • Refine your academic interests?

4. Get support from campus resources

The CWRU campus is brimming with energy and opportunity. In addition to your advisor, residential college director and staff in the Office of Undergraduate Studies, CWRU provides an assortment of professional staff available to help you on your academic and personal journey.

5. Go to faculty office hours
Take the time to introduce yourself and discuss any challenges you’re facing in the course, or simply have a discussion about course content that is interesting to you. Based on your needs, your faculty can recommend a range of strategies to make the most of your learning experience.


Educational Services for Students (ESS)
Sears Building, Room 470 
Get help with time management, study skills, tutoring and exam preparation. ESS also manages services such as peer tutoring, supplemental instruction (SI) and Spoken English Language Partners (SELP).

Career Center
Sears Building, Room 207 
Individual counseling can help you better define your interests and strengths, and clarify academic and career interests.

University Health & Counseling Services
Sears Building. Room 201
Develop strategies for managing test anxiety, concentration, procrastination, stress reduction and a range of personal issues.