Dean Buchanan’s Top Ten List of Things that Academically Successful Students Do

1. Attend class

2. Get to know their professors and academic adviser

3. Communicate … respectfully…and face-to-face (not just by email)

Whether it’s to clarify course requirements, assignments, or deadlines; to just to get to know one another; or to address a problem, nothing can replace face-to-face communication.

For some of you, this semester will be the first time you get critical feedback or an unpleasant grade. Do not hide!  Get yourself in to see your professor.  Your professor is not disappointed in you or ashamed of you.  Your professor will be proud of you for seeking help.

There is an abundance of help available if people know you need it. If you don’t know where else to ask, contact the Office of Academic Advising!

4. Respond to those who reach out to help

When people reach out offering help, don’t ignore them. They truly want to help.

5. Space out their studying and coursework over time, rather than “cramming”

You have more “free” time during the day than you did in high school. Use it wisely.  You’ll learn more deeply and be less stressed if you do a reasonable amount of work each day rather than waiting until the last minute to complete assignments or preparing for exams.  Maybe that worked in high school, but it’s not likely to work well now.

6. Follow your passions

The students who are most impressive to others, including employers, at the end of the college journey – and most happy and motivated – are those who have studied something they are passionate about and something in which they can do well.

7. Take initiative / responsibility

Successful students plan ahead, work to solve their own problems, take responsibility for their part in problems, avoid blaming others or expecting others (including parents) to solve their problems for them.

8. Expect good things to happen … but are prepared for challenges and stress and plan ahead for how to handle them

Have healthy options for dealing with stress: exercise, sleep, eating well, yoga, meditation, relaxed time with friends, spiritual reflection and connections, reaching out to others.

Know what cheating or plagiarism is, and decide ahead of time that no bad grade is worth succumbing to temptations to cheat or plagiarize.

9. Respond to disappointments and failures not by giving up but by determination to learn from the situation.

Tip #3 is an important step in that learning.

10. Get involved but not over-involved.

Find something–but not too many things–that you can enjoy outside of your classwork. This will help your overall wellbeing, which will help your academic success!