ISU community split on choice of better semester for students’ performance

Katherine Klingseis

Members of the ISU community have differing opinions on whether students perform better during the spring semester compared to the fall semester, with many saying there’s no difference at all.

For students like Ian Haughey, freshman in preparation for human medicine, the arrival of the spring semester grants students the chance to “turn over a new leaf” and start anew. Haughey, who said he didn’t do as well as he had hoped fall semester, said he wasn’t aware of how much time and work he would have to spend studying and doing homework as a college student.

“Now I know how to prepare for my classes,” Haughey said. “I know how to find help now.”

Madan Bhattacharyya, associate professor of agronomy, said he has noticed a subtle change in students performing better during the spring semester compared to the fall.

“Maybe they are more comfortable, feeling like they’re home,” Bhattacharyya said, “but I think students are always serious.”

Byeong-Yuong Cho, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, said he feels students do better in the fall semester compared to the spring semester.

“I don’t know why though,” Cho said.

Nicole Valenzuela, associate professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, said she has not noticed students performing better during one semester over the other. However, she has seen more students enrolling in her Biology 173 course in the fall.

“I think some students want to get it out of the way early,” Valenzuela said. “[Or] it’s just something with scheduling.”

Kipp Van Dyke, assistant director of Student Assistance and Outreach, noted that about the same number of students seek academic assistance during the fall and spring semesters. He said, however, that students tend to come in earlier during the spring semester compared to the fall.

“Sometimes people are more proactive in the spring semester — they recognize that they need help quicker,” Van Dyke said. “For freshmen, during their first semester, they may not even know what they are experiencing until the end.”

Some students ask for academic assistance at the beginning of the spring semester because they didn’t receive good grades for the fall semester.

“Some folks didn’t do so hot the fall semester and they don’t want to do the same thing the spring semester,” Van Dyke said.

Joyce Davidson, associate director of Student Counseling Service, also noticed little change in terms of the number of students who seek assistance, but more students coming in earlier in the spring semester compared to the fall.

“At the very beginning of fall, people feel like, ‘I’m going to do this,’ but then stress builds,” Davidson said. “We see people sooner in the spring, partly because we start out seeing people waiting to be seen from the fall.”

Regardless of the semester, students should seek assistance if they have troubles, Van Dyke and Davidson said. If students are looking for academic assistance, they can contact the Academic Success Center for more information regarding supplemental instruction and tutoring. Students can contact Student Counseling Services for more information on receiving emotional assistance.