Get ahead of the game: how to start preparing for next year

April 8, 2010


It may seem too early, but it’s not!

Along with your exams, essays, projects, readings, and assignments, make sure to put another thing on your list—preparing for next year. With only a few weeks left in the semester and summer on the horizon, it may seem too early to start planning for August, but thinking ahead is the only way to make sure you’re getting the most out of every year in college. So many students miss out on an amazing experience in academia simply because they don’t plan ahead. Don’t end up regretting a missed opportunity! Here are a few ways how. Internships – Getting experience outside of the classroom is possibly the most important part of your college education, so make sure to intern early on. Starting to intern as early as freshman year allows you to have longevity if you continue to intern at the same place throughout college, or if you try a different internship every semester you can gain many experiences and build your résumé. Internships are truly the foundation of your college career, so start building it now.

“The gap between what I’ve learned in classes versus what I’ve gained from my internships is enormous. My internships have given me the resources to understand what my career will entail and have confirmed what I want to do with my future. They have given me exposure to the real world.” – Amanda Kudron, senior

Study Abroad – Join the 18,000 CU-Boulder students who have taken advantage of this incredibly rewarding opportunity. Studying abroad means unforgettable adventures, priceless educational experiences, and a better understanding of the world. It’s imperative to plan if you want to study abroad—language requirements, classes, housing, and finances are only a few elements you need to think about. But if it’s right for you, studying abroad is totally worth it.

“Concerning study abroad specifically, starting early is the best thing to do, and anyone can get funding—you just have to look for it. It’s an incredibly humbling and eye-opening experience.” – Miranda Bodas, junior

Classes – Being on the ball with classes can really make or break the next semester, so meet with your advisor to create a plan for classes before your registration time. Figure out what classes you need and want to take, make sure those classes aren’t conflicting times, and check to see if spots available. If you can, it’s great to have classes either Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday to have the other days open for internships, working, or just studying. Major/minor – If you haven’t declared you major, that is definitely first priority. If you have, think about the possibility of picking up another major, a minor, or a certificate program—and what it would entail with required classes and workload. Figuring this out early on will help you use your credits wisely and graduate in a reasonable amount of time. (Not that it’s bad to be a super senior…or super super senior…) Consider talking to advisors or other students for advice.

“As someone who’s changed their major three times, I’ve come to the conclusion that I could have saved myself a lot of headaches and credits by knowing what I wanted to do from the beginning.” – Ryan Brauchler, senior

Your Life – With a year (or another year) of college under your belt, look back and see what you did right, what you did wrong, and what you just didn’t know until now. Take some time to reflect and figure out behaviors you want to continue, change, or add for next year. Anything from studying, to partying, to working out, to eating habits are all lifestyle choices that can be reevaluated and changed if need be. Another year is another opportunity, so make the best of it. College is really as great as you make it—whatever you put in is what you will get out. CU-Boulder is an incredible school and offers so many resources, experiences, and opportunities for its students. Not taking advantage of these is simply a waste of tuition. Creating a plan in advance for each year of college is the easiest way to make yourself available to everything your education has to offer. So take some time to make next year the best year possible! —Maggie Schoonmaker, Junior, School of Journalism and Mass Communication