Students find value in Mid-Semester Check

Pat McBride, associate dean of Admissions, leads a session during Mid-Semester Check on Sept. 19.
Pat McBride, associate dean of Admissions, leads a session during Mid-Semester Check on Sept. 19.

Since its inception seven years ago, Mid-Semester Check has undergone several changes. This year, the program is being offered four nights this week with each session limited to 90 minutes.

“We really try to respect the student’s time,” said Patrick McBride, associate dean of admissions. “Our presenters are dedicated faculty and staff who sacrifice their time to help students reflect on the path they are taking and to act upon that reflection — whether it is how to manage their time or how to put themselves in the position to apply for a UCARE experience.”

Mid-Semester Check serves as reminder for freshmen that they are wanted on campus, which can affect their desire to stay at the university and construct solid undergraduate career goals.

“It is not easy to say Mid-Semester Check attendance improves retention,” McBride said. “Studies have shown the attendees tended to persist better than non-attendees but there can be many reasons for this.”

McBride said Mid-Semester Check provides a chance for students to stop and consider how they are doing and, more importantly, where they’re going.

“Are they on the right path toward success or do they need to adapt? Are they maximizing their opportunities?” McBride said.

Freshman pre-dental major Kelsey Sanchez said the “Preparing for Professional Schools” session helped her identify routes that will lead her to dental school.

“Since there was a pre-professional session, I did learn about what I need to start doing as a freshman,” Sanchez said. “I learned about shadowing, internships and what you really need to have on your resume.”

Hannah Biegel, a freshman biological sciences major, also attended the pre-professional session and said it gave her perspective on the bigger picture.

“I feel better connected with where I’m supposed to be on my college path,” Biegel said. “Mid-Semester Check answers any questions you might have in your head like ‘Am I on track?’ and ‘Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?’”

Ensuring that freshmen don’t fall victim to unhealthy study habits is one of Mid-Semester Check’s top priorities.

During New Student Enrollment, incoming freshmen are told to engage, connect and balance to make the transition from high school to college less jarring and more inviting.

“Several national studies have been done to show that new students often fall back into their high-school ways of doing things about this time,” McBride said. “The ‘Engage, Connect, Balance’ theme is not remembered — remembering and understanding those concepts is our hope for students.”

Understanding time management is an integral part of flourishing in college, which one freshman said she’s already battling.

“As freshmen, we come into this not really knowing what to expect,” said Haylee Carpenter, a freshman advertising and public relations major. “The time management session definitely helped me for this upcoming semester.”

Carpenter said the presenter handed out charts that students can fill out to keep better track of their time and pinpoint problem areas.

“You can go back and see how much time you have to do certain things,” Carpenter said. “It definitely helped me see what I have the time to do and what I need to focus on.”

The variety of sessions offered at Mid-Semester Check is a selling point for freshmen who often have distinct needs and questions.

“We have adapted the program based upon student input with some different sessions,” McBride said. “We will continue to modify the program based upon the evaluation comments given by the student attendees.”

This year’s Mid-Semester Check sessions include: “Research – Just Do It,” “Financial Planning,” “Academic Success,” “Preparing for Professional Schools,” “Next Step: Spring Semester,” “Finding a Major Right for Me,” “Finding Success in the Large Classroom,” “Surviving College Math,” “Time Management,” “Advice from Student Leaders,” “Pre-Nursing Academic Planning,” “Civic Engagement,” “Internships” and “Study Abroad? Me?”

“It’s not all just about hearing the same old ‘do this, do that’,” Sanchez said. “The pre-professional session was helpful because it applied to me specifically.”

Matt Fry, a freshman civil engineering major, said he appreciated the tailored attention he received from the sessions.

“Looking back now, it was probably a good idea that I came here,” Fry said. “You can pick out what you’re struggling with, so it seems like there’s something for everyone to get out of this experience.”

The final session of Mid-Semester Check is this evening in the Nebraska Union. The free program is offered in two sessions, 6 to 7:30 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m.

— Mekita Rivas, University Communications