Have you ever thought about taking winter classes over the long break to catch up, keep up or get ahead?

Last year, WSU offered a mini term between the fall and spring semesters. This session was called J-term (which stood for “January Term”), and faculty across many disciplines offered courses.  

This year, the name changed to Winter Session, but the benefits to students remain the same — you could shorten your time to graduate or simply help balance your coursework across the academic year. 

If you’re anything like me and prefer to plan ahead, the Winter Session might be a smart option to consider.

Because I utilized the Winter Session and was strategic about how I planned my academic year, I’m on track to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication and minors in Mass Communication and Global Studies.

I’ve experienced the benefits of enrolling in Winter Session firsthand, so I want to share with you some of the greatest perks of taking Winter Session classes. 

Here are my top five reasons to enroll in Winter Session:

 

1. Catch Up

If you didn’t get the grade you wanted in a particular class, there’s no need to panic. Winter Session helps students catch up on their courses and get them back on track. Plus, many Winter Session courseare taught online, which means you can complete them anywhere.

There are a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses that will be offered for this year’s Winter Session. Make sure to look over your options and read course descriptions in the course catalog.

Once you’ve decided which Winter Session course(s) you want to take, it’s time to register. You can register for Winter Session courses when your Spring registration window opens starting the week of Nov. 1. 

I thought taking a Winter Session class was really beneficial for me, and I encourage others to take one!

2020 Winter Session Student

2. Focus More Easily with Consolidated Content

Some students find the consolidated content of a Winter Session class easier to focus on.

In my experience, the format allowed me to digest the content at a consistent pace, which made the exams and writing assignments more predictable.  

Plus, you’ll have access to the same excellent resources while taking Winter Session courses as you would during Fall or Spring semester:

Here’s what a couple previous Winter Session students had to say about this:

“I enjoyed being able to put all my focus into one course,” and “I had a quick but comprehensive learning experience.” 

I need 120 credits to graduate with my bachelor’s degree, and I needed to take both upper-division electives and general electives.

With my plan to graduate in May, this Winter Session course helped me keep on track to graduation instead of having to strictly do classes in the Spring, summer or Fall. I’m really glad that WSU offered Winter Session.

2020 Winter Session Student

3. Get Ahead, Finish Faster, & Graduate on Time

If graduating early is a goal of yours, then taking a Winter Session is one way for you to get ahead.

By knocking out a course while it’s being offered, it could help free up your schedule for the Spring semester.

Students also have said that the term helped them raised their GPA! 

On the other hand, if you transferred to WSU or switched majors recently, graduating “on time” may seem like a lofty goal. That was the situation that I faced.

I changed my major from Psychology to Communication Studies mid-way into my sophomore year, and according to my Degree Audit on eServicesmy goal to graduate in four years looked rough — especially for my senior year.

My Degree Audit predicted that I would have to endure at least one semester taking an 18-credit load (which is a lot), all the while completing my senior capstone research project (which is super time-intensive).

Thankfully, my decision to take classes over winter break helped me avoid that hectic plan.

4. Take on Another Degree or Add a Minor

If you’re ambitious and want to take on another degree or add on a minor, Winter Session can help you get one step closer.

It’s still a good plan to meet with your academic adviser to explore your options, but you might be surprised to learn it’s easier than you thought.

Taking Winter Session courses can open opportunities for you to explore new interests, too. 

Here’s what a previous Winter Session students had to say about this:

“I highly recommend offering more (Winter Session) classes in the future!” 

5. Save Money

For students looking to graduate early or to consolidate their course schedule, taking Winter Session courses may help to reduce those costs.

College is an expensive investment, and I’m so happy that I took advantage of the opportunities WSU offers.

Taking classes over winter break was one of the best financial decisions that I’ve made because it helped me stay on track to graduate in four years.  

It was really nice to have an extra way to get more classes into my year without having to take like 20 credits during a normal semester.

WSU should absolutely continue to offer Winter Session classes. 

2020 Winter Session Student

 

These Winter Session student testimonials have been lightly edited for grammar, clarity, and length.

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Kiva Grote-Hirsch

Kiva is a Communication Studies: Organizational Communications Major and a Mass Communications: Creative Digital Media and Global Studies Minor who will graduate in 2022. Kiva is from Madison, WI and enjoys writing, reading, photography, and playing soccer.