Goals for the Spring Term, for First-Years and Sophomores

  • Catching up, looking forward What’s your assessment of the fall term? Which course did you look forward to the most? Which course(s) didn’t turn out as expected? Why? How can you apply what you learned in the fall to the spring term?
  • Getting to know the faculty Did you connect with any of your instructors in the fall? If not, set a goal for this spring to get to know at least one of your instructors. How? Attend office hours or set up a meeting with the instructor at a different time. Why? Getting to know your instructors will help your sense of engagement in our new, distance-learning environment. Your instructors are also eager to get to know you and the students in their classes. You may wish to discuss the instructor’s field of study in more depth, or you may wish to ask your instructor to help you with a letter of support for an internship or other opportunity.
  • Reassessing your extracurriculars  Were you involved in  extracurricular activities in the fall? If so, how did they fit in with your academics ? Did they energize you? Did they take too much time away from your academics and down time? Should you revise your non-essential time commitments downwards? Many clubs, groups, and other activities discovered creative ways of meeting and engaging while social distancing or remotely. If you didn’t explore extracurriculars in the fall, will you do so now?
  • Exploring new fields, persisting in fields you love 
    • First-year students Will you use this spring to explore new course topics and new fields of study? Spring term for first-years should still be a time of exploration (in fact, the same goes for sophomore year, too). Did you also discover a topic, a faculty member, or a department that spoke to you, and to you plan to pursue additional, related course work this spring?
    • Sophomores Will you use this spring to explore new course topics and new fields of study? Spring term for sophomores is often still be a time of exploration (in fact, with the exception of prospective STEM majors, you won’t be asked to declare your major until the end of this term). Or have you identified a field you plan to major in and feel ready to declare your major? 

All of the above are good questions to discuss with your residential college dean, your college adviser, and your FroCo (for first-years).

Some general things to keep in mind:

  • Do you have a reasonable number of courses on your final course schedule?
  • Have you included a small class on your schedule? A schedule that only includes lectures or large-enrollment classes, or a preponderance of such classes, can make for an alienating semester.
  • Have you considered the kind of assignments your courses will require? Shy away from, say,  all papers or all exams so you’ll have a mix of assignments
  • Have you considered using one or two of your Credit/D/Fail options this semester to explore a new subject area or relieve stress? First-years have “up to six opportunities to convert a course to the Credit/D/Fail option … two of these opportunities [expire] if unusued during [your] first two terms of enrollment.” Sophomores have up to four opportunities. Studies show many students leave their Credit/D/Fail opportunities unused.
  • Did you take the first part of a two-course sequence in the fall?
  • Did you get a tutor when you needed one last semester? Did you make use of the other resources set up to help students? Some of those, beyond tutoring, might include Student Accessibility Services, the cultural centers, the Fellowships Office, the Study Abroad office, the Office of Career Strategies, Yale Health (including Mental Health and Counsling, the Student Wellness Program, and other health-related programs), the peer liaison programs, the Health Professions Advisory Program, etc. Yale wants you to use as many resources as make sense for you. You’ll find links on the homepage
  • Even though you may add or drop courses until February 1, you’ll need to keep up in all of your courses so that you don’t find yourself behind when you submit your final course schedule