While many high school graduates start their college education the following fall, some opt to begin in spring instead. Listed below are some pros and cons to starting college a little later.
Pros of Starting College in the Spring
You can still graduate with your incoming classmates in the fall: You may have to work a little harder, but it can be done. Talk with your academic advisor, do a session of summer school, or talk with other spring semester peers to come up with a plan to work things out.
Spring semester orientation can be a little less overwhelming: Spring orientation sessions are smaller, shorter, and less crowded. The grouping is much more manageable, and if you have any serious questions or concerns, there’s someone else there who may be able to offer help.
You can still become a part of Greek life: Nearly all Greek organizations have fall and spring pledge drives. You will find plenty of opportunities to participate in Spring Rush and activities.
Scholarship opportunities for next fall: Sometimes all it takes is a semester under your belt and a decent GPA to become eligible for a scholarship for the following fall semester. Some schools may also offer tuition deals for summer school students at the end of the spring semester, too. Meet with your academic advisor if you have any questions.
Cons of Starting College in the Spring
Clubs and organizations may have met membership quotas: This can be a major downside with starting college in the spring. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t join up during the following semester. Ask if you can just sit in and observe a meeting and see if that group is for you.
Scholarship requirements: Many scholarships will specify that their funds are to be used the following fall semester. While there are still scholarships that you can qualify for during the spring, it does limit some of your opportunities.
You may not get your choice of housing: While you will still be able to find housing on-campus, you may find it a little more difficult to get your first choice. But you never know, the accommodation you do end up getting may turn out to be the best thing ever.
Everyone else seems to know what they’re doing: As a newcomer, you may feel that you are still trying to find your way around while everyone around you knows what they are doing. Hang in there. It won’t be long before you become familiar with everything and everybody, and will feel like you belong too. Got questions? Ask. Ask your new roommate, ask your academic advisor, ask one of the RA’s in the dorms. If you feel the least bit intimidated or freaked out, asking questions is the best way to calm your nerves.
Sometimes a spring semester, much like spring itself, is a fresh start at a new chapter in your life. Some chapters may be more difficult than others, but if you ask questions, find help, and keep working, you will soon overcome the downsides of starting college in the spring, and make the most of your time in colleges.
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