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10 Tips for Academic Success

Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC

1. Attend class

Do not miss class for any reason other than severe illness or an emergency. And if you must miss a class, notify the instructor in advance. Find out what you missed from a student in the class. Do not expect the professor to re-teach the material for you.

2. Stay organized

Keep a planner/calendar and write down all assignments, exam dates, review session dates, and other vital information about your courses.

3. Manage your schedule

Be realistic about the courses you enroll in-how many, what times, whether you have adequate preparation. Err on the side of caution and extra preparation. Allow yourself time to adjust to the new environment at UMBC.

4. Don’t overstretch

Keep your outside employment and extra-curricular commitments in proportion to your academic load. Usually this means that a full-time student should not work more than 10 or 15 hours per week. If you must work more than that for financial reasons, then seriously consider a part-time academic schedule.

5. Seek advice

Make sure you have an academic advisor, that your advisor knows you, and that you meet on a regular basis-at least once each semester, but probably more. If ever needed, you can request a change of advisor.

6. Ask for help

If you find yourself struggling in any of your courses, take action! Talk to the professor during office hours, form a study group, sign up for tutoring at the Learning Resources Center or enlist the support of an upperclassman who is a strong student.

7. Participate actively

Make a habit of being on time for class, sitting near the front of the room, participating in class discussions, asking good questions, and taking good notes. Good notes don’t have to be long, but should capture the important points.

8. Review course material

Never miss a review session offered by the professor or a teaching assistant. This is a golden opportunity to prepare effectively for an upcoming exam.

9. Avoid cramming

Stay current on reading assignments, homework, online work, lab work, and all aspects of your courses so you are not crunched when an exam comes up.

10. Create an effective study environment

Be aware of distractions that prevent you from studying effectively and plan to avoid these traps as much as you can.