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Houston education expert shares tips to navigate the fall semester

6 things undergrads need to know before heading off to class.

Front view of a student wearing a protective mask walking in a campus
Front view of a student wearing a protective mask walking in a campus (iStock)

HOUSTON – Whether they return to campus or they learn at a virtual classroom, all college students deserve to thrive amid this challenging semester.

Ibrahim Firat, chief educational consultant at Firat Education, shares academic, financial and social tips to help them navigate this new landscape.

Student attending online video classroom with teacher in her bedroom
Student attending online video classroom with teacher in her bedroom (iStock)

Firat is author of the Firat Guide, and he specializes in secondary and higher education curriculum development, educational consulting and counseling. He is also an expert in admissions, tutoring and test prep.

To see Firat’s complete interview and tips, watch the video below.

1. DON’T OVERLOAD CLASSES

“In a typical school year, students tend to take up to four to five classes, but given the uncertainties of this fall semester, take the minimum number of classes that allows you to still hold full time status. That will be most likely around three classes. If you have a full class load, now is the time to change. Most colleges have a drop date in early/mid-September,” said Firat.

2. TECHNOLOGY IS NO LONGER AN EXCUSE TO PERFORM POORLY

“Before classes begin to accelerate students should make arrangements with their universities’ tech departments to ensure they have a good understanding of the learning platforms that will be utilized throughout the semester. This will be critical if you’re a freshman who may not be familiar with these programs,” said Firat.

3. ENGAGE WITH YOUR PROFESSOR AT THE START OF YOUR SEMESTER

“The beginning of the semester is the best time to introduce yourself to your professor, even more if your class is virtual. Do not wait until later on to bring up questions you have. This doesn’t mean you need to reach out every day, but staying in contact with your professor will ensure a better learning experience” said Firat.

4. SAVE MONEY ON DINING PLANS

“Vet out the dining options before committing to a meal plan and keep in mind you can save money by preparing your own food. Most campuses offer some form of meal plan which would typically consist of buffet services, but with Covid-19 regulations in place, expect packaged foods and not cafeteria style hot meals,” he said.

5. ASK FOR WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR OVERALL TUITION COST

“For most colleges, students should not expect any sort of tuition discount even if they are taking online classes. However, If you’re a student in need of financial assistance, ask your university sooner rather than later if they are offering rollover options or if you can take a few courses at a community college to reduce your overall tuition cost,” said Firat.

6. UNDERSTAND THE COVID-19 DISCIPLINE POLICY

“Stay within the set guidelines established by the university like wearing a mask on campus or gathering limitations. Some colleges will be re-opening dorms and housing options, however this doesn’t equate to a free for all. There are disciplinary consequences for students who are not in compliance. They can be forced to take online classes and those who live in on campus housing could be sent home” said Firat.

To connect with Firat, click here.


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