Tips for Success

Source: Skip Downing, Facilitator, On Course Workshop

The following is a list of behaviors that educators see their successful students consistently doing throughout the semester. Try to incorporate their observations into your daily routine as a student.

  • Attend every class and be on time.
  • Study, read, do homework problems everyday. In other words, do all of your assignments to the best of your ability and come prepared to every class.
  • Participate actively in every class: ask questions, volunteer for activities, answer questions.
  • Get to know your professors: go to their office hours, study sessions, etc.
  • Party only on weekends.
  • Display behaviors that reflect an interest in learning (e.g., be on time, ask questions, etc.)
  • Be realistic about your goals. If you have difficulty in math, you probably shouldn't pursue an engineering degree. If you work 40 hours a week you will probably not be successful taking more than 12 credits of classes. Do not overextend yourself!
  • Be a responsible participant in your education. Do not rely on counselors, advisors, coaches, or anyone else to tell you what you need to fulfill to graduate. Read the catalog and be accountable for your own education; it affects no one but you!
  • Find any resource centers available (math, writing, libraries, etc.) and use them.
  • Meet at least two people in each of your classes who are willing to exchange phone numbers and be contacted for when you miss class, need to get information, or just to see if they want to study together.
  • Write down your goals and review them daily. Regularly renew your commitment to academic success!
  • Plan your week and stick to it as much as possible. Time management skills are a valuable tool for academic success.
  • Learn about all the resources available to help you achieve your goals: your instructor, honor students, academic advisor, workshops, classmates who may act as study partners, as well as support from your family.
  • Use positive self-talk; believing you can do it is powerful!
  • Discover your preferred learning style.
  • Talk to as many people as possible, both in the classes you are taking and outside of class, about approaches for learning the material; then use as many of the approaches as you can to find the study method(s) that work best for you.

Possible activities based on the list above:

  • Number the actions in order from most important to least important. Be prepared to explain your answers.
  • Write a paragraph using one of these actions as your topic sentence.
  • Interview your instructor, asking what actions he/she believes is most important for your success in that course.
  • Interview second semester or second year students, asking them what actions they believe have been most beneficial in their academic success.