do what many students have done and prepare for our version of sophomore entry:
Before Summer Orientation
  1. Express your interest to Croft in applying for sophomore entry and ask for advice on coursework to take in Fall to demonstrate your commitment and academic prowess.
  2. Look over our info page for Flagship and non-Flagship curriculum options
  3. Begin thinking about next summer.  Understand that, if you are accepted into Flagship, you may be asked to attend summer session 2.  If you don’t want to, you will need to work especially hard on tones, grammar, and character memorization from day 1 of Fall … if not earlier (don’t forget, we have sentence-level Quizlet sets that can help, as would befriending native speakers and/or seeking out private tutors so you can hear and practice real conversations)
Summer Orientation
  1. Sign up for Fall courses based on the strategies given above
  2. Build a contingency plan into your course selection (i.e., have at least one course that you’ll be ready to drop out of by the deadline if things turn out to be more difficult/hectic than you anticipated).  Make sure that if you do drop one course, you will still have a solid fall schedule.
  3. Inform both Croft and us that you have done so.  Why? You are planting a psychological seed.  When you come back later and say, “as planned, I have successfully followed through on your suggestion,” you are intrinsically saying, “I owe my success, at least partially, to your guidance.”  You are also demonstrating that you are someone who does what they say they will do and would be a safe bet as a Croft student.  As a long-standing member of the Flagship selection committee, I can tell you that it’s always nice to back a student who you can be confident about.  This is general good practice for any internship, job, position, or opportunity you are applying/campaigning for in life: create a pathway that people can feel they had a hand in building.
Fall Start
  1. Take CHIN 111 this fall, and inform the teacher of her interest in applying to Flagship in early spring.
  2. The teacher will give her feedback throughout the semester on how she is doing and what will be necessary for her to get a full endorsement.
  3. Make sure you stay on task.  Fall of freshman year is the time when students are most prone to making poor life decisions: yes, you want to have a vibrant social life (and you can, even as a Croft-Flagship student), and yes, you may want to be involved in Greek life or other campus organizations (and you can, even as a Croft-Flagship student), but you cannot let those social obligations take precedence over the incremental steps necessary for your long-term goals.  Keep in mind that, from a Chinese cultural perspective (something you cannot fight or deny if you want to be successful in Chinese), a student who misses class or shows up late on a regular basis will almost always look irresponsible and lacking in dedication.  You will absolutely need to establish a strong, positive rapport with your Chinese teacher, and with several other “responsible-looking” classmates from day 1.  Then, if you have to be late or absent for any reason (including the flu or a car accident), if at all possible, you want to communicate with your teacher before class about the situation.  If you can’t, you want to have created a network where these close classmates will be able to do so on your behalf.  This probably sounds extreme, but you have to remember that the student-teacher relationship is more involved in Chinese culture.  Your teacher expects to know more about your personal life, inasmuch as it affects your performance in class (and for them, attendance is inseparable from performance).  In return, though, Chinese teachers have a much higher expectation of themselves to work with you toward your success in their class and will show more genuine care in how you are doing in their class … and therefore, how things are going in relevant areas of your personal life.  Basically, don’t think that, as long as you’re maintaining an A in the class (or will pull one off by the final), that your teacher would automatically recommend you for Flagship.  There are many indicators of how you will fare culturally in our program – indicators that a Western person would not normally attend to.
  4. Be on the lookout for current Flagship and/or Croft students and become friends (or friendly acquaintances) with them as quickly as you can.  Most college students find it awkward to befriend older students, or really anyone outside of their organic friend group.  But studies show that the strongest indicator that someone will like you is if they believe you already like them.  So, showing an interest in someone for what they are doing (or have done) is a great way to get started.  Good options:
    • “Hey, did I hear that you’re in Chinese Flagship?  How is it?  I’m actually trying to apply for sophomore entry.  Any advice?  What classes are good? What professors are good?”
    • “Hey, did I hear that you’re in Croft?  I’m actually trying to apply for sophomore entry.  What language do you do?  Spanish?  I’m planning to do Chinese, possibly as a Flagship student.  Do you know Crofties doing Chinese?  What do people say?  How does it compare to Spanish?”
    • “Have you been abroad yet?  What was it like?  What were the coolest/most unusual things you encountered – anything about their culture/daily life that an American wouldn’t normally know about?  If there were any chance that I might go to Spain/South America over a summer/winter break, what would you recommend?  Do you know of a host family or other really great opportunity for where to stay and what to do?  As a Croftie, I want to know about the world.  Yes, I want the typical tourist experience, but I also want to dive into the culture as much and as quickly as I can.”
    • “Any advice about Croft?  What thematic concentration are you doing?  Would you recommend it?  If you could start over, what would you do differently? What classes are good? What professors are good?”
    • “Hey, I may be going abroad for a semester in order to catch back up to my cohort in Chinese Flagship.  I’ll probably need to sublease someone’s place for a semester and/or sublet my own for the semester that I’m gone.  Do you know a Croftie who is planning to do the same?  If I find a good opportunity, I may actually choose my semester abroad based on our complementary plans.  If not, do you know if Crofties typically go abroad in fall or spring? Whatever is more typical, I may do the opposite, just to give myself a higher chance of finding someone to sublease/sublet with.”
    • “Hey, I may be on campus this coming summer for the month of July.  Do you have an apartment you’re trying to sublet?  If it’s close to campus and cheaper than the dorms (≈$515), we may be able to solve each others’ problem.”
Fall End
  1. Ask the teacher for a recommendation letter to be submitted in early spring along with your application.
  2. Ask Nate for a hard copy Flagship application (due to its integration into the UM special programs application system, the online version is only available to incoming freshmen)
  3. Cash in on your commitment by contacting both Croft and us and showing us your fall grades, and reminding us of your commitment to joining our programs
Spring Start
  1. Take CHIN 112
  2. Submit hard copy Flagship application to Nate
  3. Continue demonstrating a dedication to Chinese and a hard work ethic in class and maintaining a positive rapport with your teacher
Early/Mid Spring
  1. Find out if you got accepted and whether you need to come for part of the summer
  2. If you do, find out about how much it will cost and whether you will stay in the dorms or find an older student (someone in Croft?) who is looking for someone to sublease for a month