On Thursday March 31st from 4:30 to 6 pm in Albritton 311, Res Life and Student Academic Services will be hosting a First Generation Panel and Discussion which will feature several resources that have been determined by First Generation students as helpful in navigating the difficulties of academic life as well as some students who have experienced and overcame such difficulties. Representatives from the Career Center, Writing Workshop and Student Academic Services will be present. There will be opportunities to ask questions to both students and on-campus resources. Light refreshments will be served.
In high school, if you took a tour of Wesleyan then you likely heard your tour guide talk about how they were great friends with their professors. Maybe they mentioned having lunch with professors, working in labs with faculty, or just visiting office hours regularly.
So, now that you’re at Wesleyan, you may be wondering:
how do I get to know my professors?
1) Office Hours
Going to office hours may be daunting, but it’s also the easiest way to start talking to faculty. You know your professors are going to be there, and they are waiting to chat with YOU. If you want to go but can’t think of any questions to ask in office hours then make a point of writing down questions that you have during class. Have a question that you want to ask but it seems a little off-topic? Office hours!! Struggling to understand a classmates comment because they reference a text you weren’t assigned for the class? Office hours!! Interested in the faculty’s field as a potential major? Office hours!!
Even if you’re really nervous about talking to faculty, make it a goal to visit office hours for each class once a semester.
2) Lunch with Professors
Dean Mike’s office (located on the third floor of south college) gives out vouchers for students and faculty to have a free lunch in the DFC (3rd floor Usdan) together. The voucher program is aimed at increasing faculty-student connections and conversation. If you visited office hours and had a great conversation with the professor (and they seem like they probably have time for lunch) then certainly feel free to ask if you could take them to lunch at the DFC.
Hint: if you’re nervous about having lunch with a professor, see if you can go with another friend from class as well. That way the conversation is dispersed and you may feel less pressure to come up with lots of interesting questions.
To get a lunch voucher: go to the third floor of north college and ask the receptionist by Dean Mike’s office for a lunch voucher to take faculty to the DFC. It’s totally free for you and the professor.
3) Working with Professors in Labs
First, it helps to have taken a class with the professor and have done well in that course. From there, you can explain your interest in the class and ask if there are any opportunities to continue learning about the subject area or continue working with the professor in a lab. Some professors have an application process for lab positions while others offer positions through more casual conversations with students. Asking about working in the lab ensures that the professor knows of your interest and can direct you to the according application processes.
If you haven’t taken any of the professors courses before then know why you’re interested in working in their specific lab. Professors are much more likely to chose students who are interested in the lab work as opposed to students who just want to work in any lab. Also, have a list of professors that you have worked with in the class who can vouch for your work in the classroom. (you can do this by asking a few of your favorite professors – preferably in the same departments as the labs you’re interested in joining – if they would be willing to be references in your search for lab work.)
No idea about lab opportunities available in the department? Ask a few of your favorite professors, visit the department char’s office hours, or get in touch with your department peer advisor to ask!
With summer quickly approaching, many of you may be thinking, “what are you going to do this summer?” Some of you may be inclined to pursue an internship in particular industry or field. Well here are a few tips to help you find an internship.
- Drop in hours at the Career Center
The Career Center offers drop in hours for all students in the spring semester. In order to make an appointment, you must call ahead of time. Currently, the drop-in hours are Monday – Friday: 12:30pm – 4:30pm and Tuesday Evenings: 4:30pm – 6:30pm. During these hours, you can workshop your resume/cover letter or get help searching for opportunities!
- Make a LinkedIn account
A LinkedIn account basically presents your cover letter and resume to many people. On your profile, you list your past experiences, skills, awards, education and much more. A great feature of this website is your ability to search Wesleyan alumni in particular fields. Through the “Find Alumni” page, you can find alumni in law, theater, academic and much more. Reaching out to alumni in a particular field may help you find an internship or just learn more about a particular occupation.
- The Career Drive
Wesleyan’s Career Center post a number of job opportunities, fellowships and internship on their Career Drive. You can access this database through the Career Center website. On the Career Drive, you can read about a number of opportunities for the coming summer and even apply to such positions through the Career Drive.
- Asking your parents
This point may seem obvious or inapplicable, but your parents know a lot of people and may be a good resource/connection to get started.
I hope these few tips were helpful in your search for summer opportunities! Below is the link to the Career Center website: http://www.wesleyan.edu/careercenter/index.html
When do I have to declare my major?
Students normally apply for acceptance to a major in a department or program after the close of Drop/Add in the spring semester of their sophomore year (around February). Exceptions are the College of East Asian Studies (CEAS), College of Letters (COL), and College of Social Studies (CSS) which accept applicants at the end of the first year. You will receive information from your class dean outlining steps and instructions for major declaration.
To ensure major preference in April course registration, students are generally advised to declare their majors by March. If you are worried about not meeting this deadline, you can certainly meet with your class dean!
How do I submit my request electronically?
You are able to submit a major request via EP>Student>Academic Career>Major/Minor/Cert Declaration. You can select your major of interest in the dropdown menu. Clicking the “Submit Major” button sends your request to the department and you will receive an automated email which may include additional information and/or detailed steps to declare the major. The e-portfolio tool does NOT replace any declaration requirements that may also be required.
When will I know if I get admitted to a major?
If the department approves your request, you will be able to view it on the “Major/Minor/Cert Declaration” page in your e-portfolio.
What are my options?
Wesleyan offers 45 majors, 14 minors, and 12 certificates. The complete list can be found here.
Some majors are interdepartmental, including the University Major Program which allows students to design a program that responds to their individual interests and aptitudes. More information can be found here.
If you are still unsure about what you want to pursue academically, the University has compiled a guide to choosing and declaring a major.
What are the requirements to declare a major?
Eligibility requirements are set by the department, program, or college, so you must consult the specific department, program, or college website before declaring a major. You are also strongly encouraged to consult faculty members and Department Peer Advisors. Major requirements are usually explained in terms of necessary credits and necessary courses or distribution of courses.
Do I need to complete the Gen Ed expectations before declaring a major?
Prospective Government and Psychology majors must satisfy the Stage I of Gen Ed at the time of admission to the major.
Prospective Music majors who have not taken enough courses outside of the Music Department may be refused entry into the major.
Art Studio and CSS majors are expected to fulfill Gen Ed expectations by the end of the junior year.
German Studies Department strongly recommends majors to fulfill Gen Ed expectations.
I’m still completing my prerequisites/Gen Ed expectations for my intended major, what should I do?
You can submit a major deferral form.
Can I declare more than one major?
Yes, but you should consider how this will impact your academic career at Wesleyan. A student with multiple majors may not be able to pursue additional interests within the diverse Wesleyan curriculum. Note that you can only declare a combination of up to three majors, minors, and certificates.
When can I declare a minor or certificate?
Once you have an approved major, you may submit a minor/certificate request via your e-portfolio. You can do this any time before graduation. Many students choose to declare a minor/certificate once they have fulfilled all the requirements. However, by declaring a minor/certificate, you will get assigned an advisor who can help you plan your course of study.
How can I declare a minor or certificate?
Minor and certificate declaration process is also handled through the Electronic Portfolio. You will be able to submit minor/certificate requests by navigating to the “Major/Minor/Cert Declaration” link (under the “Academic Career” bucket). Clicking the “Submit Minor” or “Submit Certificate” button sends a message to the department and you will receive an automated email message. Note that you may be required to submit additional information in order to gain approval from the department.
Thinking about doing an Honors Thesis?
And Then What?
Come to a panel Q&A with
Marguerite Nguyen (H&A–ENGL)
Suzanne O’Connell (NSM–E&ES), and
Sarah Wiliarty (SBS—GOVT)
and with Kevin Winnie ’16, peer advisor and thesis writer
Wed., Feb. 3 — 4 p.m. — Usdan 110
Note: There will be another meeting in April about the logistics of doing an honors thesis.
Throughout my four years here at Wesleyan, I have always been thinking about how to make my coursework reflect my future interests and goals. With this thought in mind, I worked to create a semester schedule that reflects my academic as well as personal interests. Realistically, some classes require much more work than others, and there is so much that you may want to accomplish in the short amount of time that you have left. Thus, the question that often pops up in the minds of many students appears: Should I take more than four classes this semester?
As mentioned in one of the earlier blog posts, balance is the key to success! Without balance, life as a student can be much more stressful than a life with balance. Here is where the idea of taking more credits comes in. In some cases, students with already heavy semesters take on 5 or more credits with the purpose of creating less work later in their Wesleyan careers. By taking more credits, a student may be placed on the fast track of completing their major as well as graduation credit requirements. Sounds great right! Not necessarily.
If you are considering taking more than 4 credits for a semester you should first ask yourself some questions. How much work is required of you over all of your classes? Will you have enough time to do your due diligence in completing all of your assignments well? What about extracurricular activities? Can you take a minimum of 4 credits and still complete all of my major requirements?
If you are considering or need to take more than 4 credits to complete major requirements, consider balancing your schedule with reading/writing intensive and exam based courses. Also, consider taking classes that you may find easier to balance the more demanding courses. If you are considering taking more than 4 credits to get ahead on the 32 credit graduation requirements, there are physical education, dance, and QAC classes that may not be worth a full credit, but they do help you to increase your credit count faster.
Ultimately, you should do what is best for you and make sure you have an ample work/life balance. Also, should need be, you always have your peer advisors here to help!
Link to post on Balance: http://peeradvisor.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2015/07/23/balancing-your-first-semester-schedule/
Looking for a summer internship or a full-time job can be a daunting task, especially if you are an international student. All those terms and abbreviations, including, OPT, CPT, and H1-B, might even throw you off. In order to help you navigate the American job market, Student Academic Resources is partnering with the Career Center, Office of International Student Affairs, and PANGEA to organize a series of career workshops designed specifically for international students. There will also be ~free~ food!
|Thu, Feb 11||5:30 – 7 pm||41 Wyllys, Rm. 112||OPT: Get A Job in the US after Graduation||An attorney will come and discuss the ins and outs of the OPT work authorization process. Event is open to seniors only.|
|Tue, Feb 16||5:30 – 7 pm||Usdan 108||Working after Wesleyan: Options for International Students||Learn from a panel of young alumni about what it’s like to conduct a US job search and handle the conversations about Visa status with the employer.|
|Tue, Feb 23||5:30 – 7 pm||Usdan 108||CPT: Internship Search for International Students||Program for underclass students to learn about CPT work authorization directly from Janice Watson (OISA)|
|Tue, Mar 1||11:30 am – 1:30 pm||Usdan 108||Internships with US Companies||A panel of international students will discuss their internship experience at American companies. Learn more about strategies to find an internship as well as benefits and challenges of working in the US.|
Whether you are looking to work in the US, back home, or another country, the Career Center has plenty of resources to support your career and development goals. So, I would encourage you to set up an appointment with one of the career advisors. You can do this by calling 860-685-2180 or stop by the office front desk. More details can be found on the Career Center website.
If you are looking to launch an global career, you might also want to talk to Kate Smith, Associate Director of Fellowships, Internships, and Exchanges at the Center for Global Studies.
We hope you enjoyed your semester abroad! While you are probably happy to be back on campus, you may also be feeling somewhat disoriented. To help you with the transition back to Wes, here are some suggestions for your first couple weeks on campus!
Things to Keep in Mind When you Return to Wesleyan:
- It is likely that your academic experience abroad was very different from your academic experiences at Wesleyan. Therefore, if you find yourself incredibly stressed at the beginning of your spring semester, remind yourself that it will be an adjustment, and you will eventually fall back into the normal rhythm of things. Remember, there are many academic resources available on campus that can help with the adjustment!
- For those of you who are home already, you may have already begun to experience culture shock. This is normal, but it can also be very frustrating. Even when you return to Wes, you may be bothered by a lot of things that you never noticed prior to going abroad. It can be very helpful to stay in touch with the people on your study abroad program, because they are undoubtedly feeling the same way you are. This may also be an opportunity to become involved with an organization, perhaps relating to hunger, recycling, etc. Eventually the culture shock will wear off, but the lessons you learned while studying abroad will likely stay with you for a long time.
- There are probably a lot of people on campus who are excited to see you again! It is wonderful to be back in a place where you recognize so many faces, but it can also feel a little overwhelming. Everyone will ask you how your time abroad was, and while you will have opportunities to have long, one-on-one conversations about your experiences, there will also be a many very quick interactions. Condensing your entire experience into one 30-second anecdote is very challenging, but you may find yourself having to do so a lot, so I would definitely recommend thinking about what you might say in advance. This way, you won’t be caught off guard when ten people stop and ask you about your time abroad on your morning walk to class!
Welcome back to Wes!
Thanksgiving is approaching and, if you’re like most students, you’re definitely ready for a break from classes and homework. However, right after Thanksgiving you probably have several finals, a handful of essays, and maybe even a semester research paper. While it’s tempting to just forget all about school for a few days, with some careful planning you can make sure you get some rest, eat lots of yummy food, and still prepare for the upcoming exam season.
Here are a few tips for staying stress-free from Thanksgiving Break to Exam Week:
1) Before you leave for Thanksgiving Break lay out a schedule of the upcoming month (right through to the end of finals). On your calendar mark:
• All major quizzes and exams
• All papers
• All finals
• All homework assignments due on the Monday and Tuesday after Thanksgiving Break
2) Think about the time you have over Thanksgiving break and aim to pick 3-4 chunks of time (a couple of hours each) that you will dedicate to work. Decide what you want to accomplish in each study session and remember to pack what you will need to finish that work! Knowing when you are working on means that, once you finish your work for the day, you can relax and enjoy your vacation.
3) Pick out the tasks that you want to complete in each chunk of time. This might include:
• The homework you have due on the Monday after Thanksgiving Break (nothing is worse than having a relaxing vacation only to stay up all night on Sunday to be ready for your 9am on Monday).
• Outlines or preliminary research for final papers
• Creating a study guide for upcoming exams
Remember: you can refer to your end-of-semester plan (Step 1) to help you identify the most important assignments to focus on.
4) Consider telling your family about your work plans and try to find quiet places to study. If you have a sibling who is in high-school or college you can set up a study time together to both do work or you can head to your local library for a quiet space away from home. If your family knows that you’re planning to study then they can encourage you to focus when you need to (and maybe even bake you some homemade treats as motivation!).
Planning your work is a great way to get ahead; you don’t need to finish every upcoming assignment but a few well-planned study sessions will go a long way. When you’re done studying for the day make sure to enjoy your Thanksgiving!
Are you passionate about science and math?
Still not sure what to study at Wes?
Why not consider engineering?
Yes, Wesleyan does not have an engineering department, but that does not mean that aspiring engineers must give up on their dreams! In fact, Wesleyan encourages all types of positive intellectual pursuits that students might have and the university has even produced its share of engineers who work all around the world (for starters, just check out this list on Wikipedia).
Some have chosen to study engineering after graduating from Wes. However if you want to get a head start, why not consider the 3-2 engineering program which would allow you to spend 3 years at Wes and then 2 years at a partner university (thus the name)? After finishing the program, students earn two bachelor degrees: a BA from Wes and a BS or BE from an affiliate engineering school.
Which engineering schools are affiliated with Wesleyan?
- California Institute of Technology
- Columbia University (Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science)
- Dartmouth College (Thayer School of Engineering)
I am interested in the dual degree option! Sign me up!
You should communicate your plan as early as possible with at least two faculty members:
- Dual Degree Program Liaison (currently Professor Lutz Hüwel of the Physics Department)
- Your own faculty advisor
It is advisable to talk to different science and math faculty members as well. After all, you will need letters of recommendation from them when you submit a formal application early in the spring semester of your junior year.
If I choose to do the engineering program, what should I major at Wes?
Please keep in mind that completion of a Wesleyan major is required by some engineering schools. Even though many students who pursue the dual degree have chosen to declare math or science related major(s), you can technically major in anything you want while at Wes! That said, you need to plan early and actively seek advice from professors because the course requirements for engineering are quite stringent.
What courses should I take at Wes?
Different schools have different requirements and you are strongly advised to consult the respective engineering school webpages. Typically, two semesters of calculus-based physics, one semester of chemistry, and calculus (including multivariable) are part of the necessary preparation.
For your reference, Columbia has compiled a list of required courses and their Wesleyan equivalents in their curriculum guide.
How can I get engineering research experience at Wes?
There are a number of courses, research, and other engineering-related opportunities at Wes. You can find the list here.
Are there any other dual degree engineering programs available for Wes students?
- Dartmouth offers a “2-1-1-1” option allowing you to return to Wesleyan for senior year, before finishing the program at Dartmouth
- Columbia offers a “4-2” option allowing you to spend four years at Wesleyan before transferring to Columbia
Nov. 11, 2015 by jkatzen
When you choose your courses this semester, keep in mind that you will have to declare a major this semester.
Know what your major(s) will be?
- Look at the department’s website for classes required to declare the major. If you haven’t taken those courses yet, take them this semester and prioritize them when ranking courses during pre-registration! If the requirements are not clear, ask a Department Peer Advisor or the head of that department.
- Even if you have completed the courses required to declare the major, you should still take a course in that department this semester. Look ahead at what your other requirements will be to complete the major, or at elective classes that look interesting to you.
- Look ahead at which courses are offered more frequently. For instance, if you know you want to go abroad next Spring and certain courses are only offered in the Spring, it could be a good idea to try to take the course now.
Still deciding on a major? That’s ok!
- If you are still deciding between a few majors, that’s ok – you can take courses in each of those departments and use that to help you decide. Just make sure you have the courses you will need to declare one or more of those majors when the time comes.
Tips for Choosing a Major
- Look ahead at the types of courses you will be taking in your next few years at WEsleyan if you choose a certain major. Are there enough courses that interest you? Are there requirements that will prevent you from studying abroad or doing other things that you would like to do? Does the major require a capstone project?
- You do not need to be a quadruple major! Even if you are passionate about four things, it does not mean that you have to major in it. Some majors allow non-major students into most of their courses, which means you can still take courses in a field without officially being a major.
- If you are considering double majoring, you can think about how feasible it will be to complete all requirements for those majors. Are there required courses that often overlap? Are there any courses you can take that fulfill both majors?
Don’t forget about Gen-Eds
- Some majors require completing the first round of general education requirements to declare the major. If your major requires that, and you have not already done so, get to it!
- Some majors require completing the second round of gen-eds to complete the major. It is not too early to get started on tackling those as well.
Balancing Major and Non-Major courses
- It is NOT necessary to take only courses in your prospective major. For most majors, you can take one or two courses per semester in that department and successfully complete your major.
- You are in the first half of your Wesleyan career. Just because you have declared a major does not mean that you shouldn’t continue to take advantage of your liberal arts education and take courses that interest you. Taking courses in other disciplines that your major help you increase the breadth of your knowledge and often help you look at approach major courses from new perspectives.
- To help you decide which courses to take this semester, it is a great idea to look ahead at major requirements and see when it will be most convenient for you to fulfill them. It is no way necessary for you to plan out all eight semesters of your college career at once, but it is helpful to make sure you are the right track.
Still have questions? Reach out to your peer advisors at firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer Advising Pre-Registration Guidelines for Freshman
- Now is a great time to use your gen-eds as opportunities to explore your interests! Look into disciplines that you’ve never taken a course in or could possibly be interested in
- NOTE: you do not have to finish your gen-eds by the end of your freshman year. In fact, you don’t have to finish them ever. That being said, you are at a liberal arts school for a reason and most people will choose to finish their gen-eds in an effort to ensure they get a well rounded education. ALSO–some majors do require you to finish your gen-eds and some require you to have finished the first stage before you apply to the major.
Have you given any thought to a potential major?
- Finishing up your first semester here at Wes, you certainly do not need to know what you will major in. However, if you have some ideas as to what course of study you would like to pursue, it is important to start thinking about courses you will need to take to be admitted into your potential major(s)
- This information is readily available on the wesleyan website (or you can search the wesleyan major on google to get the direct link)
Tips for Wes Maps
- Make sure you fill out all 7 slots! This is EXTREMELY important.
- YOU MUST FINALIZE YOUR SCHEDULE WITH YOUR ADVISOR (in person) BEFORE MONDAY AT 5pm
- Utilize the search function in the top righthand corner. This tool can help you find specific classes, classes at specific times, course categories, etc.
- This is also very useful during adjustment when you are bidding for classes in real-time
Questions about certain courses/departments?
- Reach out to faculty members and/or department chairs! These people can be extremely useful in helping you understand a field of study or get a better idea as to what a certain course will entail
- Added perk: establishing relationships with faculty members will help you in the future when it comes to choosing a major, to picking your major advisor, or to just have a mentor/familiar face on campus
Still have questions? Reach out to your peer advisors at email@example.com
What is Pre-Registration?
Over the summer, you studied WesMaps tirelessly, figuring out classes for your first semester of the school year. Now, you’re expected to do it all over again; but what is pre-registration, and how do you navigate through it? Well, fortunately your handy academic peer advisors (APAs) are here to help! Fall pre-registration, much like spring pre-registration, is a period used for students to plan their coursework for the following semester. You use the system to list 7 courses, in order from the class you want to take the most, to the other classes to fill out your schedule. To ensure the best schedule, keep a few things in mind.
As you rank your classes in order, keep in mind that there are some classes that are more competitive to get into than others. Small classes and classes that fulfill major requirements in the smaller departments often fall into the competitive category. Some things to take into account are past enrollment probability, the number of classes offered in the department, and total enrollment limit. There are other classes that may have a larger total enrollment limit, but are still very popular classes, like West African Dance for example.
In situations like this, ALWAYS think of your major requirements first. Is the core class for your major popular? What is the past enrollment probability? How many seats are available? After you have thought this through, rank away!
Balance and Fulfilling Major Requirements
Balance is key to finding success in college. As you are ranking your classes, think of the grading assessments. Is the class reading and writing intensive, or is it exam based? For more about balance, check out this blog post.
Many majors, not all, require that students fulfill at least their stage 1 general education expectations. This means, each students should take 2 humanities courses (HA), 2 social sciences (SBS), and 2 natural sciences and mathematics (NSM). When ranking your classes, look to work toward completion of your prospective major, while simultaneously fulfilling GenEd expectations. When it comes to choosing classes to fulfill major requirements, speaking to another person may be more helpful than reading the department website alone.
If you have any questions regarding pre-registration, the pre-registration page on the Registrar’s website and the Faculty and Student Advising Handbook are some good places to start. Academic Peer Advisors (APAs) are available if you have any questions about course selection, schedule planning, Wesmaps, and major declaration. You can always reach out to us via email.
In addition to faculty advisors, some departments also have Department Peer Advisors or DPAs. They are a group of students who have been trained to answer questions regarding specific requirements for departments which offer more structured majors, i.e. ASTR, BIOL, CHEM, COMP, ECON, MATH, MB&B, PHYS, and PSYC. These majors are the ones that require a set sequence of courses. In general, in order to take upper-level classes in these departments, you may be required to have taken a set of core courses and/or met some prerequisites.
The DPAs and their office hours during November pre-registration period are listed below:
|ASTR, PHYS||Girish Duvvuri ’17||ASTRdpa@wesleyan.edu; PHYSdpa@wesleyan.edu||Tue 11/10, 1:30-5 pm
Wed 11/11, 4-5 pm
Thu 11/12, 10 am-12 pm
Fri 11/13, 3-5 pm
|BIOL, MB&B||Anna Redgrave ’16*||Mon 11/9, 10 am-1 pm
Wed 11/11, 10 am-1 pm
Mon 11/16, 10 am-1 pm
|CHEM||Zarek Siegel ’16||CHEMdpa@wesleyan.edu||Thu 11/12, 8-10 pmSat 11/14, 12-2 pmSun 11/15, 3-4 pm||Hall-Atwater 56|
|COMP, MATH||Jack Reuter ’16||COMPdpa@wesleyan.edu; MATHdpa@wesleyan.edu||Mon 11/9, 5-6 pmThu 11/12, 2:30-3:30 pmFri 11/13, 12-1 pmSun 11/15, 10-11 pm||Math workshop (Exley 133A)|
|ECON||Margaux Sica ’16||ECONdpa@wesleyan.edu||Thu 11/12, 12-2 pm||ECON alcove (PAC)|
|PSYC||Natalie Booth ’17||PSYCdpa@wesleyan.edu||Tue 11/10, 4:15-5:15Wed 11/11, 4:15-5:15||Pi Café|
* in order to contact Anna, please send an email to her Wesleyan email address.
(Written by Sherrel Mike ’16 and Eki Ramadhan ’16)
Oct. 30, 2015 by rpeyser
Six Tips for Studying
- Create a schedule: Put all major assessments for the rest of your semester into a calendar. If you use an online or computer calendar, have it send you a reminder a week before the exam/paper is due. This way, exams will not come as a surprise and you can be as prepared as possible!
- A little every day: A huge part of studying should take place before you officially begin preparing for an exam. Everyday before class, review your notes from the previous class and the homework from the night before. Then, preview the topic for the upcoming class (look through the slides, read the syllabus, etc.) This process can take as little as five minutes. Once you’ve done that, you actually need to GO TO CLASS. For almost any course, the material that you’re going to be tested on is what the professor discusses in class. Furthermore, the ways professors describe concepts, the kinds of questions the pose in class, and the examples they give will all they way they will evaluate you on an exam. With this information, you can direct your studying in a manner that will parallel the way the professor’s exam will test you.
- Start “officially” studying a week in advance: This one doesn’t need much explaining. Begin organizing your materials and reviewing a week in advance. This will optimize the amount of material you can review and absorb. Some ways to remember to start studying a week in advance: set an alert in your phone or on your computer to remind you a week before an exam; write a note in your calendar, leave a post-it on your door; do whatever you have to do.
- Make a study guide Include the important material from class notes, slides, reading, and handouts. Draw diagrams. Come up with examples for concepts.
- Effective flashcards Make flash cards. Making 800,000 flashcards is not always effective. Most classes do not require excessive rote memorization, so make sure that your flashcards are of only key terms, not every word the professor has said all semester. When studying terms, don’t just memorize them: pick out two flashcards and compare and contrast those two concepts. In doing so, come up with a few examples that demonstrate each concept as well ones for their similarities and differences.
- Effective study groups: Sometimes study groups can turn into social hours. While spending time with friends is really important, make sure that if your planning on studying, that you actually do so. A good way to make use of this group work is to try to teach each other the concepts covered on the exam. This process benefits all group members: the listeners can learn/review important information, and the person teaching deepens hir understanding of the material and illuminates the areas where ze has gaps in hir knowledge.
Wesleyan is home to many historic and modern buildings. Some have been here since the founding and some just built a few years ago. You would be surprised on how many different rooms and spaces are accessible for students to use! Look at my list below for some helpful hints.
Olin Library is often thought of as a quiet space. This is mostly true. The higher the floor, the quieter it is. There are two exceptions to these quiet spaces.
- The Smith Reading Room – this room is located on the left side of the first floor. Here, you are expected to be absolutely quiet.
- The Art Library – this space is used for group study. You can generally talk in this room. It is located on the second floor next to the staircase.
Olin also may only appear to have 3 floors, but in reality it has 8 including the basement, first floor, 1a, second floor, 2a, third floor, 3a and the fourth floor. The floor in between often have space to study in groups or by oneself. Check them out!
Exley is usually regarded as a space to talk to friends while studying for an upcoming exam. Each floor in Science Library gets progressively quieter. There have been a couple new features added to Exley which are listed below!
- Lobby tables and couches- these can be useful for group projects, having lunch, meeting with friends or studying before class! They even have outlets for your laptop or phone charger!
- Group Study Space/ 24 Hour Space – this room is newly equipped with tables, dry erase boards, and carpet. Usually on weekdays, this space is used for class, but has a schedule listed for open times
- ITS Lab – Next to Pi is a room equipped with many Macs that are available to students
In addition to Olin and Exley, there are many more spaces to use:
- College of Letters Library (During the day) – Second floor of 41 Wyllys
- PAC – rooms on first and second floor as well as QAC center
- Allbritton – Top floor has a wonderful view
- Downey House
- Russell House
- Daniel Family Commons (Third Floor of Usdan)
- Resident Lounges – only if you live in those residences
You can also reserve a room using EMS in your student portfolio!
So, you probably don’t need a peer advisor to tell you that midterms season is upon us…but do not fret! Your peer advisors are here with some helpful tips to make sure that you stay mentally and physically healthy during midterm season.
- SLEEP! Just because you have midterms does not mean that you need to be working on them around the clock. Making sure that you get 7-8 hours of sleep a night will help you feel more productive and prepared during this time. Additionally, the extra sleep can help protect you from getting sick. If you are having trouble sleeping, WesWell can be an invaluable resource! Check out their page on sleep for more tips! –> WesWell Sleep Resources
- Eat healthy and exercise – These tips are easier said than done at any time during college. However, they are especially important during this time when stress levels are high and you are expected to be productive at all times. Eating healthy makes you feel healthy – and it doesn’t have to be too hard. Just avoid skipping meals, don’t forget about the salad bar at Usdan, and keep some fruit or other healthy snacks around if stress eating is your thing. Exercise also does not having to be daunting. You can use a quick workout at Freeman or a jog around campus as a study break, or a way to wake you up in the morning and leave you feeling energized.
- Reduce Stress – One of the worst parts about midterms, and college life in general, is the stress! It often seems acceptable that everyone around you is stressed at all times, but even for those who work best under pressure, too much stress is not healthy. Here are some ways to minimize stress around your academics:
-Be planful! Whether you use one of the nifty free planners available at Usdan, iCal, or some other tactic, keeping a calendar with all of your assignments is essential! Trying to remember everything you have to do without writing it down is stressful enough – and chances are you’ll forget about something. When you can visualize your assignments and responsibilities, it also makes it easier to prioritize, and figure out when you’re going to tackle each thing on your to-do list. Here’s a great blog post about how to study for finals, which totally applies to midterms as well! –> Finals Study Tips
-Remember your resources! Remember that you are not alone – and that Wesleyan’s campus is full of supportive resources to help you get through the toughest times. Some great academic resources on campus include – but are not limited to – the Academic Peer Advisors (us!), the Writing Workshop, the Math Workshop, the Quantitative Analysis Center, and the Scientific Computing and Informatics Center. Additionally, if you feel that stress is overwhelming, there is CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) and WesSupport, a student-run support group.
-Make the most of your study time so you don’t waste hours in the library procrastinating on Facebook. You can start by working when you feel most productive, which may mean utilizing hours in between classes or in the morning. It’s also very important to find study spaces that work for you, despite the attempt to stay in bed and avoid the cold weather. Here’s another great blog post highlighting some spaces you may not have thought of before. –> Cool Study Spaces
-Don’t forget to take study breaks! We are humans, not machines, and there’s no way anyone can be productive if they sit and stare at a screen for five hours without a break. So, everyone hour or so, stand up and walk around, have a snack, go outside, or talk to a friend. It’ll make studying easier and less isolating!
By Aleyda Castro
I’m a Latina from Downtown Los Angeles. I am the oldest child in my family and the first to attend a four-year college. As a first generation student I understand the excitement you feel about leaving home and becoming independent. I understand the anxiety and fear you feel regarding that independence, and about whether or not you’re prepared for college. I know about the happiness you feel about taking such a big step and bringing so much pride to your parents.
The first thing you must remember is that you are not alone; you are not the only person experiencing a roller coaster of emotions. You must also keep in mind that there is a reason you were accepted into Wesleyan so you do not have to be afraid of the academics. Will it be difficult? Yes, but it is doable. I understand that it can be difficult to seek help regarding college at home. Some students like myself may even face language barriers that make it virtually impossible to explain things like Financial Aid and the CSS profile to their parents. Due to this, it is always necessary to seek outside resources. These resources are available to you at Wesleyan, as long as you seek them out. You have to build your own support network, not just for academic purposes but also emotional. College can be lots of fun but also very stressful; you need people you can trust on your side, people that are willing to help you.
The following is a list of resources available to you at Wes:
Office Hours (Professors)
My first advice is to take advantage of your professor’s office hours. If you are having a hard time in a class, sit down and talk to your professor, discuss the material that you do not understand. The professors will not know that you do not understand the material unless you tell them. Even if you are not having trouble in a class but you really like the subject go to the office hours and learn more about the department, maybe by learning more about it you discover you want to major in that field. The professor may guide you and even become your advisor in the long run. For many mathematics and science classes, there are also TA sessions that you can attend to make sure you fully understand the material. Take advantage of these sessions, even if you feel like you understand the material double check your work.
Office Hours (Class Deans)
After you have settled in at Wes, take some time out of your schedule to look up your Class Dean’s office hours and drop by to introduce yourself. Talk to your dean about your academic interests and plans; your dean can provide you with other resources about where you can find help to achieve all the goals you have set for yourself. Further down the year, if you are having emotional, academic, economic or other problems that are affecting your ability to learn at Wesleyan, talking to your class dean is a big step to receiving the help you need. If they cannot provide you with the help you need they will always refer you to the people that can help you.
A big fear for many incoming freshmen is whether they are writing at the college level. A great resource available to improve your writing skills is the writing center. However, it is important to consult with your professors first whether they are fine with you having someone at the writing center check your work. Some professors prefer that all work you turn in is 100% your own; meaning no else has seen it but you. That way they themselves can guide you through what you need to improve.
If you think you already know what you want to study and want to make sure you’re on the right path, the career center is definitely a great place to start. They can connect you with alumni that studied the same field you want to pursue and even help you find internships in your hometown. It is never too early to drop by the career center. You can introduce yourself to the staff and make sure they know what you’re interested in, so they can keep you in mind when new opportunities present themselves.
Academic peer advisors provide an array of academic advice and support to all students. An Academic Peer Advisor will be assigned to your residence hall. This person will be able to provide you with the help, tips and advice you need and if they do not have the information you need they will refer you to the people that can help you.
There are also Department Peer Advisors who are available to those of you who already have an idea of what you want to study. They provide advise to pre-majors and can answer any questions you have about pursuing that specific field of study.
There are groups and organizations on campus that have different focuses and goals. The first generation group on campus was designed to provide support to first generation students. There are also other groups you can join if you seek a different kind of support or help. In order to become further aware of the groups and organizations at Wesleyan, I would recommend all of you to attend the activities fair at the beginning of the school year.
At the risk of sounding cliché in this last section, I will say that you need to surround yourself with friends that will rejoice with you during the good times and support you during the bad times. At the end of the day, these are the people that you will talk to the most about everything that’s happening in your life. I know it can be scary to think about the first few weeks at a new school where you many not know too many people or no one at all, but trust me you will find people that share your same interests soon after you arrive.
I hope this was helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck to you all. See you soon.
About three years ago, I remember how anxious I was the summer before college. My mind kept racing with thoughts on whether I would like college, would I fit in, where was I living, etc. As many of you embark on your four-year journey at Wesleyan, you should keep in mind some of these helpful tips to sooth your pre-college worries
- Talk to Current College Students
Whether it is your older sibling, your college friend, or a student at Wesleyan, you can always reach out to students that have been through the college experience. The WesAdmits 2019 Facebook page is great resource to post some questions and reach out to current Wesleyan students. Additionally, you can email your friendly Academic Peer Advisors or Orientation Interns. There are many resources for you to use so make sure you take advantage!
- Make a Plan
What clubs are you going to join? What are some goals you have for the upcoming year? What questions do you want to ask your academic advisor? Writing out your concerns or questions is a good way to find out what you need or want to know. The Wesleyan website has a list of all the clubs and activities available to all students. In addition, your Wesleyan email holds all the emails of Wesleyan students, advisors, faculty and staff. You can also contact your Academic Peer Advisors to help you write out a plan.
- Learn the skills for living away from home
Are you nervous about those housekeeping task you’ll have to do for yourself once you get to school? Ask anyone who knows those tasks such as laundry, cooking, cleaning to teach you. This is also a great way to bond with a friend or family members before shipping off to Wes.
- Learn the Wesleyan Fight Song
If you know all the lyrics to this song, you’ll be more prepared then everyone else. Find it here! http://www.wesleyan.edu/about/know/traditions.html
- Put it all in perspective
Hey, you were accepted into Wesleyan University. That’s a big deal. You are smart and ready for college life. Things are going to be different from high school and sure sometimes it is hard, but if you really want to be here, the Wesleyan community welcomes you with open arms.
I hope this blurb was helpful and if you have any questions for me or any other Peer Advisor make sure to contact us! Here’s the link to our info: http://peeradvisor.blogs.wesleyan.edu/about-us/
By Sherrel Mike
I remember when I was an incoming freshman at Wesleyan. I was so excited to choose my own classes and fill my first semester schedule to the brim with classes to get ahead! With all of the excitement of going to college, I forgot one key word: Balance. Oftentimes, many incoming freshman forget to balance their schedules, which ends up adversely affecting their first-semester experiences. Of the many possible rules about how to succeed during your first semester, I like to think that they can be summarized in 3 ideas: class scheduling, pacing, and class assessments.
Class Scheduling and Pacing:
With the many options available, you may want to take everything you can, however, know your limits and know what is required of you so you can better plan out your college career! Let’s do a little math! In order to graduate from Wesleyan, all students must have a minimum of 32 course credits. Course credits are measured on a scale from 0.5-1.25, depending on the demands of the course, with most courses worth 1.0 credit. In addition, you will have 8 semesters to complete this requirement. Thus, by taking around 4 classes each semester, the 32-credit requirement can be met.
Wesleyan’s Academic Regulations Page: http://www.wesleyan.edu/registrar/academic_regulations/
Throughout your years here at Wesleyan, you can of course take more than 4 credits a semester. During your first semester, however, college can be a confusing place, and knowing that your schedule is not overbearing and well paced is always appreciated!
Another topic to keep in mind is the timing of your classes. Most classes at Wesleyan do not meet every day, but they may instead meet twice or three times a week. This being said, it is very easy to overwhelm yourself by scheduling nearly all of your classes into a couple of days. Also, try to be aware of the times classes start and end. If you have a class that ends at 2:30 and another class that starts at 2:40 on the other side of campus, you barely have time to collect your thoughts before you are running off again!
Doing well in school is incredibly important, but if you have no time in between classes to eat or take a breath, you can find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed, which is never a recipe for success. Try to balance the number of classes you have by spreading them throughout the week.
The final idea to keep in mind when making your first semester schedule is how you are being assessed. Not all classes are the same! Some may be more writing intensive; others may be more exams. During my first semester, I ended up taking 4 classes that were more writing intensive, and at a couple of points during the semester, I had an essay nearly every day during the week! Fortunately, I got through it, but I wish I had mixed the two. Looking at WesMaps (Course Catalog) can help you to both figure out how to approach your assignments when creating a schedule and prepare mentally for those more difficult times like midterms and finals week.
Finding balance in any new situation is difficult, but when you can, the pay off is great! Have a great summer!
According to Wesleyan’s website, about 300 students go abroad each year on various programs to many different countries. With statistics like this, it is clear that Wesleyan makes it very possible to study, work, or intern all around the world. Having just returned from a spring semester abroad on Wesleyan’s ECCO program in Bologna, Italy, I can say firsthand that it is a challenging but very rewarding experience. Certain majors, such as Psychology and College of Letters, require or strongly suggest studying abroad, but students of all disciplines also decide to study for a variety of reasons. While I feel that my experience in Bologna was one of the highlights of my Wesleyan experience, studying abroad is not for everybody! Uprooting your entire life and living and studying somewhere else for five months is hard work, so I highly encourage students to make sure they have a strong reason for wanting to go abroad (more than just that your friends are doing it too) and that you feel emotionally prepared to make this giant step.
If you feel that studying abroad is the right choice for you, planning ahead and making smart choices are essential to making your experience the least stressful and most enjoyable as possible! Here are some things to consider:
WHEN TO GO:
Wesleyan students have the option of studying abroad a full year, fall semester, or spring semester. While it may be a tad more difficult to obtain credits or financial support, other students also decide to spend their summers studying or working in another country too. Additionally, while the majority of students study during their junior year, others go their sophomore spring or senior fall.
While there are some common pros and cons that Wesleyan students consider when deciding to study in the Fall (pros: do not miss out on events like Spring Fling or Senior Week, have the option to extend their stay to the full academic year, cons: have less control over living arrangements when returning to campus) or the Spring (pros: have the opportunity to continue travelling over the summer, often wonderful weather, cons: must figure out next year’s housing and summer plans remotely), I encourage everybody to take into also account their personal academic plan as well.
While College of Letters students must go abroad their sophomore spring, and College of Social Studies students generally go during their junior fall, most departments allow students to study abroad whenever they would like. It is up to you to make sure that you can receive major credits while abroad, or will be able to complete your major when you return. You should check your major’s website and speak to your major advisor to figure out if you can receive major credits while abroad. You can also check on Wesmaps to see when required courses are offered. For instance, if you major offers required courses (or just courses that interest you more) only in the Fall, maybe it is better for you to study abroad during the Spring. If you are going on a program with a language requirement (Wesleyan’s programs usually have them) make sure you plan your courses ahead of time!
Additionally, certain programs offer different experiences in different semesters.
One example is that my program is the Vassar-Wesleyan program in Paris, which offers a French intensive course in Bordeaux only in the Fall semester. Finally, certain locations may be more desirable during a certain time of year than another. For instance, winters in Sweden tend to be VERY cold and dark. If studying in Sweden during the Fall semester, each day will progressively become darker in colder. If studying in Sweden in the spring, each day will instead become sunnier and warmer, which many people prefer. This brings us to another very important consideration…
WHERE TO GO:
For some students, the decision of where they want to study is a no brainer. Many people, myself included, use studying abroad as an opportunity to go somewhere they have wanted to go for their whole lives, either to connect to their roots or learn a language. However, if you know you want to study abroad but have no idea where you want to go, that is okay! Some find universities abroad that specialize in their academic interests, and some are drawn to certain aspects or themes of study abroad programs. Just like when choosing a college, you can choose a country of program by pinpointing things that are important to you. Maybe that is whether you go to an English speaking country or not, whether you live in a home stay or an apartment, or whether you want to live in a big city or a rural village. Once you know what you want from your experience, Wesleyan’s Office of Study Abroad, located on the ground floor of Fisk, is a wonderful resource to help you explore not only Wesleyan sponsored programs, but other programs that Wesleyan students have gone on in the past.
To get started, check out Wesleyan’s study abroad website: http://www.wesleyan.edu/ois/