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

Please return in December for Spring 2021 updates!

  • Catching up, looking forward What’s your assessment of the fall term? Which course did you look forward to the most? Which courses 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, speak to the instructor after class, invite the instructor to lunch in your dining hall, etc.
  • Reassessing your extracurriculars How did your extracurricular activities fit in with your academics in the fall? Did they energize you? Did they take too much time away from your academics and down time? Should you revise your nonessential time commitments downwards?
  • 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, 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 first-year counselor (for first-years).

Some general things to keep in mind:

  • Have you set our a reasonable number of courses to visit during course selection period? Any more than 7 or 8 might be exhausting and counterproductive
  • Have you included a small class on your schedule? All lectures or large-enrollment 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
  • 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 the Resource Office on Disabilities, the cultural centers, the Fellowship 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 your schedule won’t be due for until the latter part of January, you’ll need to keep up in the classes on your preliminary schedule so that you don’t find yourself behind when you submit your final course schedule