Fall semester is on the horizon, and many students will be attending their first semester at Salt Lake Community College.
How students prepare for the college experience could make the difference between success and failure.
“Those first three weeks when school starts are critical,” says director Richard Diaz. “Students either stay for those three weeks, or drop all of their classes.”
Before students come to class, here are three things to keep in mind when getting started at SLCC.
Students who are just starting college will find benefits in a degree tracking tool called DegreeWorks.
DegreeWorks, introduced in 2014, will tell students how close they are to completing a degree. The online program also has “what if” and “look ahead” features that show what courses a student needs if they decide to change their major.
“We want [students] to look at [DegreeWorks] and formulate questions, then come talk to an advisor,” says Diaz.
Students on track to graduate can regularly check DegreeWorks for guidance.
“My first year was a lot easier than I anticipated, especially with the help of DegreeWorks,” says environmental pre-engineering major Samantha Ferguson. “I use that [DegreeWorks] to make sure I’m taking the right courses, it saves me so much time versus having to go to campus and make an appointment with the academic advisor.”
Welcome Week will have a workshop on DegreeWorks that will happen twice a month during the start of fall semester.
Another important piece of advice for first year students is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
FAFSA is a form provided by the Department of Education. Students need to complete this form before they qualify for any type of assistance, such as Pell grants and other subsidized student loans.
“Once I applied for it, it helped a great deal with my first semester,” says Ferguson.
SLCC students who need help filling out the FAFSA can register for a workshop through the Financial Aid office.
Although required in any course of study, math and English are often dread by college students.
“A lot of students put off math and English until the very end,” says Diaz.
New students who have been out of school for a while may need to take the Accuplacer test, which is used as a guide to place students in the courses appropriate to their abilities.
The exam is given on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday at the Taylorsville Redwood, Jordan and South City campuses.
First Year Experience also provides Accuplacer training among its various workshops.
Bonus: Welcome Week
The first week of fall is also the beginning of the First Year Experience office’s Welcome Week, starting August 26 through September 8.
Part of the Welcome Week includes a resource fair, complete with SLCC clubs, academic and financial aid advisors, and Veterans Services representatives.
“Any resources that are helpful to students, we invite them to Welcome Week,” says Diaz.
Adjusting to college can be difficult for new students, and SLCC wants to help those students get through the first year as easily as possible.
“The first year is such a critical year for students,” says Diaz. “Sometimes that can be overwhelming, so we are here to help students, connect them to resources and help them move beyond that first year.”