Sunday, August 2, 2009

On Your Mark, Get Ready . . .

It's a beautiful Sunday morning here in Ktown. I'm glad I mowed the lawn last night since it poured rain here about two hours ago. The sun is out now and my wildflowers are finally blooming because of all the rain we've had recently.

I was sitting here thinking about school - 17 days and counting! Am I ready?? Let me check my list:

1. Financial Aid: I recently filled out a Special Circumstance form in order to see if I qualify for more financial aid since I am only working part time now. Have you had changes in your financial status since you initially filled out your FAFSA? You or a spouse experiencing a job change, a divorce, even additional children in college could mean more financial aid. If you have experienced a change, find out if your school has a Special Circumstance form to fill out. Take advantage of the resources available to you.
2. Books: The bookstore at my school allows students to reserve their books ahead of time. I specified that I wanted used books if at all possible. The bookstore will notify me that my books are ready for pick up. All I have to do is go get them and pay for them. That service saves me time. I don't have to spend an hour out of my day trying to figure out what books I need, then standing in line to purchase them.
3. Schedule: About a month ago, my department sent out an email to all its majors informing them of classes that had recently been added. Several of the new classes were classes I needed for my major. Even though I already had my schedule figured out, I dropped one elective to take a class in my major. A word of caution, though. Don't drop a class until you know you can add the class you need. At this late date, most classes are already full and you may not be able to get back into your dropped class if you need to. Also, due to budget cuts, many universities are trimming their class schedules, so some much needed classes may not be as readily available.
4. Advising/declaring/misc. departmental stuff: If you're new to the nontrad population, the first thing you will need to do is meet with an advisor to figure out your class schedule. When you applied for admission, you were asked to submit a transcript. Any classes from prior colleges were evaluated and counted (or not) as transfer credits. An advisor will go over these with you and you can build your schedule from there. When I applied to UT, I was able to transfer in as a Junior. UT's policy is that you must declare your major during your Junior year. Once one declares a major, one is given an advisor in one's major department. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how well the faculty member knows advising. It can be a bit intimidating getting to know the faculty, etc. in one's department. Read a faculty member's latest book. That will be a point of commonality and may win you brownie points with the faculty member!

I think I have all my ducks in a row for school. Now I just need to make sure things are settled on the home front and I'll be good to go. Stay tuned . . .

No comments: