Tips for Academic Success

Being a student is a full time job!  This is your education, and we do not want you to look back during your senior year and say, “I wish I would have, or I wish I could have, or I should have.”  Make the most of your education while you are here.  Below are some tips for the best ways to make that happen.

MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS!  Seeking advice, gathering information, and using your instincts are all good ideas when making decisions.  Remember, though, the choices you make are yours alone; accept responsibility for them!

MAKE ACADEMICS YOUR PRIORITY!  There are many things to do in a college environment, and it is very easy to get distracted from why you are in college.  We want you to be involved in all aspects of college, but remember to stay focused on why you are here and make academics and studying your top priority.

GO TO CLASS!  Did you know that every time you don’t go to class, you are wasting money?  Even if your instructor does not take attendance, you are missing out on the class material that is going to help you be successful in learning.  Grades and learning make a difference, so don’t miss out on the opportunities being afforded to you.

USE A PLANNER!  When you were preparing to start the semester, did you purchase a day/schedule planner?  Do you know where it is?  Many students (or family members) purchase one, but then it gets hidden in the back of the closet or under the bed.  Or maybe your phone has a scheduling feature.  Start the semester off on a good foot by filling it in, and then use it.  When you get your class syllabus at the first class meeting, fill in when projects are due, exams are happening, etc. You will be amazed at how helpful it will be in preparing and studying.

GET TO KNOW YOUR ADVISOR!  You will meet with your advisor at the start of the fall semester, and again in October to do schedule planning and registration for your spring classes.  We hope you will also meet with your advisor at other times, though, to say hi and let your advisor know how things are going. Your advisor is there for you to talk with, as well as when you need help, so be sure to get to know your advisor and let him/her know if there is anything you need.  Your advisor is a resource for you, so even if he/she may not know the answer, can find out for you, and refer you to the place you need to go for assistance.

GET TO KNOW YOUR INSTRUCTORS!  Are you intimidated to go talk with your class instructor?  Don’t be!  They are human beings just like you, and are here for you.  None of us at PSU would be here if we didn’t like being with students, and care about your education, so go talk with your instructors; introduce yourself.  If you are struggling with any of the course material, ask your instructor for help.  We all want to see you succeed, so don’t be hesitant to seek help when you need it.

STUDY!  We hear from many students that they may have studied about an hour or two a day in high school.  That is not going to fly in college.  Did you know that the faculty expects that you are going to study two to three hours outside of class for every hour you are in class?  This may not occur with every class or every instructor, but keep it in mind as a general rule of thumb.

COMPLETE ASSIGNMENTS ON TIME!  Did you know if you try to turn in an assignment late, the instructor may not accept it, or if it is accepted, may take points off because of its lateness?  Use your planner to keep track of when assignments are due.  Don’t procrastinate!!

USE THE SERVICES PSU OFFERS!  There are many people and services here at Plymouth to help students be successful, so take advantage of all there is early on and often:

  • Go to the Plymouth Academic Support Services (PASS) to get a tutor for a class or classes.
  • If you are struggling with time management, and most students do, particularly the first year in college, go to the PASS Office to talk with someone.
  • Do you think you have studied and prepared well for an exam and then get to the classroom that day and go blank? Get help from the PASS Office on the best ways to prepare for exams, particularly if you have exam anxiety.
  • If you are enrolled in a math course and are having difficulty, or just want someone to go over the material with you to make sure you fully understand it, go to the Math Center on the third floor in Hyde Hall.
  • The Writing Center will help you with all aspects of writing, from the draft of a paper to the finished product.
  • Are you homesick? Are you struggling with personal issues?  The Michael L. Fischler Counseling Center has wonderful counselors to help students, so go talk with someone.
  • Are you having roommate issues? Talk with your CA and RD about it.  They will work with you to resolve whatever issue there is, and find the best solution possible.

DON’T HIDE FROM PROBLEMS; GET HELP!  Are you in a rut and have no idea how to get out of it?  Have you blown off a bunch of classes, are failing some, don’t know where to turn?  Don’t stay in your room and hide from the issues.  Talk with someone!  Talk with your advisor, talk with Dr. Zehr in the Undergraduate Studies Office, talk with someone in the Undergraduate Advising Center, or talk with Dean Furlone in the Student Affairs Office.  We are all here to help you, but you have to let us know what is going on so we can look at all your options.

READ YOUR E-MAIL AND CHECK YOUR HUB SUITE BOX!  Do you know that everyone on campus communicates with you via e-mail and/or sending information to your HUB Suite box?  Don’t ignore either; you need to check both (even your Junk Mail) on a regular basis and take care of any business you may need to tend to.

STAY HEALTHY!  Take your health seriously.  Getting enough sleep, eating properly, getting exercise, and positively dealing with stressors all impact your college success, so take good care of yourself.

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