By Year

Starting with your freshman year of college, following are our suggestions to you in making the most of your experience.

The Freshman Year

Begin to take control of your education now.

  • Look for interesting, well-taught courses.
  • Take courses that will enrich your academic career or are of interest to you.
  • Don't take just any course simply to satisfy a Gen Ed or other requirements.
  • Don't go for the easy grade at the expense of a challenging and enriching class.

This is also the time to take advantage of the myriad of academic and intellectual resources available to you.

  • Get to know your advisor, department faculty, and college deans.
  • Develop mentoring relationships with faculty, staff, and upperclassmen.
  • Go to faculty office hours and discuss academic and social concerns and interests.
  • Seek out research and independent study opportunities.

The Sophomore Year

Continue in your academic pursuits and begin applying for awards.

  • Engage in research, internship, and independent study opportunities.
  • Continue taking small, research-oriented seminars or other challenging courses.
  • Start taking upper-division (300-level) courses.
  • Apply for fellowships or scholarships from your department, college, leadership center, or study abroad office, as well as nationally competitive awards such as the Goldwater and Udall.
  • Apply for external grants if you have an interesting research or community service project in mind.

The Junior Year

This is probably your most important year.

  • Write preliminary drafts of scholarship or fellowship materials for applications for which you will be eligible during your senior year.
  • Apply for fellowships and scholarships such as the Beinecke, Goldwater, Truman, and Udall.
  • Do an honors thesis or other major research or independent study project that is of interest to you.
  • Grow seriously involved in your own or others' public service projects. Note that you might want to find or devise a project that's related to your academic or professional interests.
  • Take mostly upper-division courses.

The Senior Year

Many scholarship or fellowship deadlines occur early in the fall semester.

  • Even if you submitted a priority application in the summer, you'll need to receive official university endorsement and complete your applications at this time.
  • Submit your applications prior to their deadlines.