Starting your undergraduate degree during the short semester/ Sem 3 is something you can opt for, depending on when you graduate from CFS, but not many choose to do this as they prefer to take a break from all the studying and be with family, or do some travelling during the time, which is totally understandable.
I opted to start during the short semester because
I was a such a nerd my parents lived nearby, so it wasn’t that much of a sacrifice on my part. And I did not regret that decision.
For one, orientation week wasn’t hectic since not a lot of us were around; maybe a quarter of the full sem crowd.
Another is that you could get a head start on some courses than your peers, which is a bonus since you won’t need to compete with them for the same course especially introductory courses, which are in high demand but usually low in availability.
If memory serves me right, we were only allowed to take up to 6 credit hours, and depending on your planning and offered courses, you could take 2 or 3 courses during the short sem.
Back then, language courses were usually offered and I personally would highly recommend you to take it because it would be the course that EVERYONE will be fighting for when the Sem 1 crowd enrols, so it’s better to get it out of the way ASAP, especially for the compulsory Arabic that you have to take (it’s still compulsory, right?).
It would also be a great boon if the Department of English Language and Literature offers introductory courses like Introduction to Linguistics because they are pre-requisites where you can’t take higher level courses if you have not completed them first. This will greatly reduce your stress when Sem 1 starts as you can proceed to take the other courses offered by the department, depending on pre-requisites.
But do remember that the short sem is literally short, so it is quite hectic as so much is crammed in such a short time; expect quizzes and assignments to come early and I think the midterm exams start around the 3rd week.
However, don’t let that turn you off if you’re undecided on whether to take this path because the short sem is the best time to explore and get to know your way around the campus without feeling self-conscious or nervous about it because the campus is relatively empty.
Learn the layout of the Kulliyyah(s) as this will help you maneuver your way between classes and save you the time from being lost. Also, find out where the important offices are e.g. Admission and Records (A&R) because you will be dealing with them a lot throughout your time in UIA.
Last but not least, the most important and advantageous point of short sem for me – apart from being slightly ahead of everyone – was the fact that you could PLAN THE COURSES YOU WANT TO TAKE for Sem 1 since you have the study plan on hand.
It is imperative that you have several plans ready because not all courses that you plan want to take would have seats available.
By having plans ready, you won’t be rushed to decide on registration day and will prevent you from panicking at the last minute where you’ll end up registering and settling for courses that are available to meet the required credit hours but you’re not mentally prepared for.
So to those of you planning to enrol during the short sem, I wish you good luck and I hope you do not have any regrets either.