Fall Academic Guidelines for the Academic Year

Early Fall (September)

  • Get to know your faculty advisors. If you’ve declared your major last spring, now is the time to become acquainted with your faculty advisor. Your faculty advisor is there to answer questions specific to your major, to help guide you into your discipline, as well as be an invaluable resource. You will need to take the initiative of making contact!
  • Narrow your focus. If you have NOT declared a major, you must narrow your focus to 1-2 possible majors. You should be taking courses in these two areas. Have a conversation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for more info about the major.
  • Know important dates, deadlines, and policies. Know the deadlines to add/drop/withdraw or change to S/U grading!
  • Freshen up! Now is the time to revamp, redevelop, or just plain revisit your study skills and habits. What you do now will affect your future!
  • Get active! Get involved on campus through activities, organizations, community service, sports, work, etc. This is a great way to make connections with your peers! Don’t be afraid to try something new.
  • Healthy relationships. Build healthy mentoring relationships with upperclassmen. Use your filters when listening to their own undergraduate experience. Understand that YOUR experience may not be the same… good or bad! You each have different strengths and interests!
  • Exercise your freedom. Make a habit of taking one unique class each semester.
  • Learn how AP credits work for pre-meds. If you are pre-med, read the Office of Pre-Professional AP guidelines: http://web.jhu.edu/prepro/prospective.html

Fall mid-semester (October)

  • Build an academic plan. Complete an academic plan for the next three years. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Understand the requirements to graduate and incorporate that into your academic plan.
  • Tune into your gut frequency! You know the small voice of reason that is sometimes ignored? Both of these internal instincts will help you know if and when you need to make a critical decision to drop, withdraw, or S/U a course. It will also tell you when it’s time to ask for help!
  • Handling stress. If you begin to experience stress, anxiety, or any cause for concern, stop in to meet with an academic advisor or stop by the Counseling Center. In times of academic stress, you may need to further develop your study techniques. In times of emotional stress, you can learn effective techniques to feel better.
  • Study abroad. Begin thinking about study abroad. Go to the Office of Study Abroad and check out the library resource center. Schedule a meeting with a study abroad advisor when you’re ready to chat about specific programs and application options. The earlier you plan for study abroad, the less complicated it will be completing graduation requirements.

Fall Preparation for Registration (October-November)

  • Meet with your advisor. Students must meet with their assigned advisors to discuss your academic plans and spring semester registration. IF YOU DECLARED A MAJOR, YOU MUST MEET WITH YOUR FACULTY ADVISOR, NOT YOUR FRESHMAN ACADEMIC ADVISOR. Your advisor alert will be cleared in SIS by your assigned advisor. Failure to meet with your advisor could delay your registration.
  • Explore Major. Familiarize yourself with various majors and their requirements. Start narrowing your focus on potential majors if you have not yet declared a major.
  • Select small classes. You should take at least ONE small class a semester. This will give you the opportunity to get to know faculty and for faculty to get to know you. Building relationships now will make it MUCH easier when requesting letters of recommendations later!
  • Be flexible. When it comes to registration, you must be OPEN and flexible about your class selections. You should ALWAYS have alternative options.
  • Select a well-balanced a schedule. Grad programs, law schools, and med schools ALL want to see diverse courses among your selections. Do not overload on any one area.
  • Research. Begin seeking research for spring and/or summer. Start by chatting with your faculty advisor or Director of Undergraduate Studies in your department.
  • Take an Intersession course.

End of Fall Semester (December)

  • Complete assignments. It’s time to begin wrapping up your semester. In order to give you proper time to complete end-of- semester projects, papers, and exams, map out the last two – three weeks of the semester well in advance.
  • Academic assistance. Use available resources. Go to your professors/TA’s office hours. Meet with your study consultant. Attend tutoring at the Learning Den.
  • Plan for finals. Two weeks prior to finals, create your study calendar. Dedicate time over several days to prepare/study for each of your classes. Review all necessary materials, including PowerPoint slides, class notes, textbooks, etc.