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Second-Year Experience

As a second-year student at WMU, you already know your way around campus, and you’ve figured out your college routine. But research shows that your second year is unique and can feel like a big transition. Second-year students have a whole new set of stressors, and, unlike first-year students, they receive less guidance on the expectations of college life.
The Office of Student Transitions is here to help! We hope the resources here will allow you to make the most of your second year at Western and beyond.

Month-by-Month Roadmap

  • September
    Get Involved

    One of the most important parts of a successful undergraduate experience takes place outside of the classroom. Joining a registered student organization is a great way for students to find a community at WMU. If you’re already involved in an RSO, your second year is the perfect time to consider leadership opportunities that will help to build your resume.

    Exploring Study Abroad

    A study abroad experience is one of the most transformative opportunities available to you as an undergraduate at WMU. Whether you want to spend a full semester abroad on your own or two weeks with a faculty member and a class of fellow Western students, there’s a program for you here. While studying a foreign language is always encouraged, this is not a requirement for a study abroad experience! Ready to start exploring?

  • October
    Declaring a major
    If you haven’t decided on a major yet, you’re likely feeling the pressure. Or maybe you thought you knew what you wanted to study but now you’re considering other possibilities.
    Plan for the spring semester
    • Be sure to meet with your academic advisor before spring class registration begins.
    • Review your Degree Works Plan on your own and with your advisor, and make changes as needed. Here are 10 ways Degree Works can help during registration.
    Important Dates
    • Class Registration – Registration for spring classes begins in October. Be sure to check your priority registration date.
    • The FAFSA form opens in October and is available until June 30 of the following year. The priority deadline for Michigan is May 1. Students who do not complete their FAFSA by the May 1 deadline may not receive all the financial aid they are entitled to receive.
  • November
    Stay on top of projects and papers

    Thanksgiving break is a great time to rest, restore, and connect with family and friends. If you plan ahead, you won’t have to spend your entire break doing homework!

    Finals will be here before you know it. If you’re struggling in a class, ask for help! WMU has multiple offices that provide academic support for students in every major.

    • Bronco Study Zone
    • Learning Assistant Program
    • Peer Academic Success Coaching
    • Supplemental Instruction Program
    • Writing Center
  • December
    Financial Aid and Scholarships
    • Scholarships aren’t just for first-year students! Many WMU students benefit from scholarships offered through academic departments and programs. And, through generous support from donors, WMU has over 50 endowed scholarships available to students. 
    • Access WMU’s ScholarshipUniverse to apply for WMU scholarships as well as many external scholarships. Applications open Dec. 1 and are due as early as Feb. 15.
    Stressed about final exams?
    • Take some time to check in with the free digital tools: YOU at Western and Welltrack. If you need additional support, we encourage you to consider the offerings at Counseling Services.
    • Waldo Library, Sindecuse Health Center, and various student organizations offer events and activities designed to destress during finals and throughout the rest of the year.
  • January
    Get to know your faculty

    Talk to your professors after class or visit them during their office hours. Introduce yourself. Talk about your major or what you like about the class. Ask them about the research they’ve done. Ask them for help or for opportunities to get involved in things they’re doing on campus. Professors are an invaluable resource for you. They’re also human and they enjoy college students. That’s why they’re here!

    Consider applying for a job with the Office of Student Transitions

    OST hires over 200 student employees for various positions every year. As Orientation Student Leaders, Peer2Peer Mentors, FYE Co-Instructors, and Fall Welcome Ambassadors, these students are dedicated to creating an open and welcoming campus community for its various student populations.

    Check out Student Leadership Opportunities to learn more about various positions and look for applications on Handshake in January or February.

  • February
    Career Fairs

    It’s the season of career fairs and time to think about internships! Even for second-year students, job and internship fairs are important. These events are a good way to get an experience lined up for the summer and build connections with potential employers who are looking for college students of all levels and majors.

    Money Management

    Financial literacy Is essential, and college is a great time to learn about your personal finances. Whether you’re looking to finance your costs of college or just learn how to eat smart on a budget, the Sanford Center for Financial Planning and Wellness has something for you. Attend a workshop or speaker event or schedule some time with a peer financial coach to help you with budgeting, debt management, saving, credit cards, student loans, or comparing job offers.

  • March
    Class Registration

    It’s hard to believe but it’s time to think about fall classes. Make sure you meet with your academic advisor again this semester to be sure you stay on track and find your priority registration date and time online.

  • April
    You’re halfway through your college career

    Take a moment to celebrate this huge accomplishment, but don’t forget to finish the year strong! Summer is coming and the weather is getting warmer. Plan ahead so that you can enjoy this time on campus while continuing your academic success.

    Explore Kalamazoo

    You know WMU’s campus well so now’s a great time to get to know the surrounding city. With art hops, festivals, great restaurants, and nightlife, and plenty of parks and trails, there’s something for everyone. Visit Discover Kalamazoo to read about some favorite events and activities.