How to Succeed in January
Tips for new and returning students
Whether you're beginning college for the first time or transferring in from a previous institution, starting at a new school in January can be both exciting and challenging. "It’s normal to feel hesitant, and even a bit lonely and isolated at first," says Elizabeth Snezek, North Park University’s assistant dean of student development, "especially since others in your class already have some social connections established. You may experience a sense of awkwardness since you’re not quite a 'first-year student,' but you're also not already 'in the know' like returning students, either."
But there's hope! Snezek, as well as some current students who themselves entered North Park in January, offer you some helpful tips for transitioning fully and succeeding as a new student in January.
And for those who aren't new to North Park this semester, these tips still apply: January is a great time to try something new and meet some new friends.
It might be intimidating to attend events before you know lots of people, or to join an activity apart from your usual group of friends. But remember that there are many others in the same situation as you.
Visit a club you’re interested in, sit with new people for meals, or join an intramural sports team. And whatever you do, be willing to ask questions. North Park's community is deep and genuine, and you should feel free to seek it out rather than waiting for it to happen. You'll get so much back from the experience!
Take advantage of resources
There are numerous events to help you get to to know other students, the city, campus ins and outs, and much more. Check out Bridge, CLASS, University Ministries, and Viking athletics for upcoming events. These services, as well as all the standard resources on campus like the library, writing center, tutoring center, and career development office, are freely available to students and ripe for the picking. Voyage, North Park's first-year experience program, includes great workshops and tips for success both in and out of the classroom.
North Park's faculty are known for their passion for helping students succeed. Professors are great for mentoring and networking, so take some time to get to know them a bit beyond your class obligations. It's also important to meet with your faculty advisor as soon as possible, since they can offer valuable insight into how to select classes for your major.
Transfer students often come with very specific questions about credits and course requirements. Check-in with your academic advisor and the Student Enrichment transfer counselor to get answers to a variety of questions, and peruse the helpful, transfer-specific guides and suggestions to help you succeed.
Make sure all your forms are in order
If you’re transferring to North Park, there are a few items of business that you don’t want to have missed during the application process. The Student Services building in the heart of campus has staff that can help with all these things:
- Review your transfer evaluation. If you don’t think you received credit for courses that should have transferred, talk with the transfer evaluator in Student Administrative Services. Bring syllabi, major tests, papers, or projects to help explain the depth and breadth of previous course work. Faculty can help the transfer evaluator understand what should transfer.
- Be prompt in having your transcripts sent from other institutions where you earned credit.
- Recognize that some credits will not transfer, or some may only transfer as electives. (This depends largely on your major and whether or not North Park has the same type of program that you transferred from.)
- Complete a Transfer of Major Course form (PDF) if you want work from a previous institution to count toward your current major.
- See further information about transfer registration.
Above all, have fun!
A big transition (like one into college in January) can be intimidating, but with good planning and a little courage, you’ll have no trouble fitting into campus life and Chicago. We're excited to welcome you into our community!
Thanks to Elizabeth Snezek and students Vanessa Magana, T.J. Ruggerio, and Sydney Andersen for contributing their tips and wisdom.