Planning for Success
The following are only a few pieces of advice, which cover some of the broader areas students tend to struggle with. This web page should not substitute for regular consultation with a trusted mentor. Please use this information to get started, and to serve as starting points for conversations you should be having with advisors or faculty members.
Practical Tips: During the Academic Year
- Work collaboratively with an academic advisor or faculty member. Don't hesitate to seek help when trying to visualize your schedule, or create a balanced set of courses in your degree plan. We can also serve as sounding boards when making decisions.
- Consult with faculty and teaching assistants regularly. Students who consult regularly with instructors, and engage in class materials are more likely to be successful. Also, you will develop collaborative and conversational relationships with your instructors. Asking key questions and seeking help and assistance in your studies is an easier task once you are familiar and comfortable with your instructors. Note: many departments have advisors and tutors in the department that may be of assistance.
- Use a study habits notebook and planner. Use a planner and study notebook to effectively schedule and analyze your study time. When setting up your study plan, take notes on how effective you felt the time was. What worked? What didn't? This way, you will begin learning about your ideal study environment. Your ideal environment includes the time of day, location ... and perhaps the study method you used. Your planner will be used to schedule and budget your study time.
- Balance your time and your classes. Do not cram too many courses, or too much study time into long blocks....you risk becoming fatigued. Also, be sure not to allow your social life to encroach on your study time and review time. If you find that you need to take time away from your planned study times, be sure to immediately schedule a new time for study. This way, you learn to budget time, to avoiding falling behind in your studies.
- Study at a regular time, in a regular location. Developing effective study habits you can count on is of principal importance when trying to improve your academic skills. Routinely studying in a devoted space clear of distractions (such as televisions, radios...) is a good habit to have.
- Review material over time. You should plan time to review material you have previously covered at several points throughout the week. Don't get caught in a cram trap. Reviewing material helps you internalize information, and remain engaged with a subject. It also reduces anxiety, by avoiding the need to cram before exams or classes.
Developing Personal Skills
Realistically consider your skills. What skills need developing? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Many students find that they struggle with broader life-management issues such as time management. Others struggle in particular academic areas such as writing or studying. We have resources and professionals that focus on helping you in all of these areas. Know that you are not alone, and that qualified, committed support exists to help you , and others, who face similar challenges:
- Counseling Center
- Writing Center
- Center for Learning & Teaching
- Center for Civic Engagement
- More University Resources..
Various campus offices have a series of workshops available to you to develop skills that will be valuable to you in long term planning.
Planning Materials and Aids
We've developed a number of planning materials that may be of value to you when visualizing your study plan, and developing a time-management plan.
- Academic Plan Example
- Annual Planning Sheet (.pdf, 135 KB)
- Daily Schedule Sheet (.pdf, 14 KB)
- Monthly Goal Setting (.pdf, 40 KB)
- Summer Planning (.pdf, 30 KB)
- General Education Checklists
Develop Long-term Supportive Relationships
We have a variety of campus resources available to you. It should be noted that the University does not require you to take part in any of our co-curricular advising and developmental opportunities. You are required to be an active University participant, and and commit to working with us in a sustained manner. That said, our doors are always open, and we are committed to helping you through your period of academic struggle. In order to best proceed, you should visit with trusted advisors, faculty members, counselors and mentors frequently. Only through a sustained, collaborative relationship will we acquire the depth of knowledge and understanding we need to serve you. And only through a sustained relationship will you acquire the level of trust and consideration that will make us most helpful to you.
You are also advised to stick with it. Often, regaining positive momentum and taking corrective action requires time and commitment. You should give yourself, and your trusted mentors time to develop a plan and put it into effect. Also, be sure to maintain positive relationships once the tide starts to turn. It's important to have a sounding board and trusted mentor to help you monitor your progress and stay on track.
Specific Issues and Concerns
You should feel free to speak with an academic advisor, or trusted faculty member about your specific situation, and your personal concerns about your academic success. If there are particular resources you feel you need, or if you have a particular topic, skill or general area that you are struggling with, please make an appointment with us, or your faculty member or departmental advisor. We are all equipped to refer you to appropriate campus resources and work collaboratively with you to help you reach your academic goals.