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How to Persist Past Your First Semester of College

Last updated August 17, 2023

How to Persist Past Your First Semester of College

Congratulations on completing your first semester of college! As you return from break and start your second semester, now is a good time to reflect on your experiences these past few months. While your first semester can be a fun and exciting time, it’s also totally okay if you struggled with your grades, experienced culture shock, or even felt a little homesick. Your first semester in college is a major life transition, which a lot of students experience! The outcome of your first semester doesn’t have to define the rest of your college experience, but there are steps you can take to set yourself up for a successful second semester and beyond.

Four friends having a great time at a cafe, sharing laughter and conversation while enjoying their coffee and working on their laptops/tablets.

Keep track of FAFSA requirements and deadlines

Studies show that one of the top reasons that students drop out of college is due to financial concerns. With the cost of tuition rising, it’s key to familiarize yourself with financial aid definitions, fill out the FAFSA, and keep up with important financial aid deadlines. You’ll also need to complete your financial aid forms each year; in addition to FAFSA renewal deadlines, grants and scholarships also have their own renewal processes. It’s well-worth the effort in tracking and preparing ahead of these deadlines, as it can give you the opportunity to access the financial aid you may need to stay in school.

Check-in with your academic advisor

At the start of your next semester, it’s helpful to check-in with your  academic advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate. Meeting with your advisor gives you a chance to review your course schedule with them and make any adjustments before the enrollment deadline approaches. Most importantly, if you have been struggling - whether it’s in your academic or personal life - they can help connect you to on-campus resources to help you cope with any issues and hardships you’re experiencing.

Connect with your campus community

Whether you’re living in a dorm or commuting from home, spending time on campus outside of your classes can help you connect with other students. Even if you had a difficult time making friends during your first semester, you still have the chance to find your community - through study groups, cultural clubs, on-campus events, or intramural sports.

Check out mental health resources available on and off campus

While it’s very normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed in college, it’s easy to find yourself alone and isolated in these feelings. Taking care of your mental health is essential, so it’s important to identify your stressors and find healthy ways to cope with them. Most college campuses offer free counseling services, or can connect you to free or low-cost services in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! 

Need some extra support during your second semester? We can help! Just text #Hello to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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