Virtual Mentor Tips: How to be Successful in Winter Session during the Holidays

Winter Session courses are a great way to get in some extra credits towards your degree. One of the benefits is that they are separate from your regular courses and you can devote your full attention to them. For example, a sixteen-week course (length varies, depending on the course and the session) is amazingly compressed into three to six intensive weeks. The following are some suggestions to help you be successful in your Winter Session course during the holidays:

Plan your strategy

Winter Session is a bit different from the other short sessions since it coincides with the holidays. It’s important to develop a study strategy that works for you. Seek ways to fit your course around your busy life and holiday schedule. Some students discover that they must wedge their coursework in available times throughout their day. During these short sessions, you may find that a regular study regimen that works fine during other times is less important than the ability to be flexible and study when you can.

Plan for a significant time commitment

Since Winter Session courses have such a short duration, a much larger time commitment is needed. Plan to spend 25 to 30 or more hours each week on your course. This might seem like a lot of time but bear in mind that three weeks go by pretty fast!  

Get your ducks in a row

Before the course begins, make sure to get all your books or any supplemental course materials ready to go, so you can hit the ground running. If you are not familiar with the current learning platform, plan to watch a tutorial. Academic questions should be directed to your professor. 

Check your internet connection and technology

Make sure your internet connection is up to speed and compatible with the current learning platform and that your browser is compatible. It’s important to have a back-up plan in case you have power, internet, or technology problems. Check out the course presentations and videos to see if they work on your computer or laptop. You can call Tech Support if you need assistance. Some courses require supplemental programs/technology, so be sure to familiarize yourself with them if this is the case for your class.

Take advantage of early access

Winter Session courses have early access, with course spaces opening a few weeks prior to the start date. This is an excellent time to read ahead and work on assignments. Being proactive will give you a leg up and goes a long way in mitigating stress.

Read the syllabus and course schedule

Read through the syllabus and the course schedule carefully for readings, assignments, and deadlines. Print off a calendar or write in your planner important dates for assignments. Check each task off upon completion.

Know the deadline to drop the course without a grade

Keep in mind you can drop the course without a grade, should the occasion arise. Life happens. Sometimes it’s necessary, so don’t feel bad if you need to make that choice. 

Reach out!

If you have any questions, reach out to your professor or other students to clarify a concept. Don’t wait until things get out of hand. Consider initiating or joining a study group or buddying up with a study partner. 

*Remember: Winter Session courses do not afford the luxury to play catch-up if you fall behind. Soldier on and don’t let anything get in your way!

Carpe Diem et Noctem (Seize the Day and the Night!)

-Ruth Wilson, Global Campus Virtual Mentor