Tips for Success Outside the Classroom

Visit Office Hours

They have to sit there, whether or not you show up so take advantage of the opportunity. Professors are more willing to help you when you are struggling if they see you have been trying and coming to them for assistance all along.

Study Hard

This may be obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't bother! Use the tips above and the resources at FAU to learn how to study effectively - your academic advisor, the counseling center or the office of retention are good places to go to learn study techniques that work.

Use the Library

Use it before your first research paper is due! DID YOU KNOW: The FAU Library offers workshops on library research and how to use the library - or ask any librarian for help!

Get Involved

Get involved in at least one organization on campus. DID YOU KNOW: Research shows that students who are involved with at least one campus organization are more likely to graduate from that school! Being involved on campus helps students make important connections to the University community (Astin, 1975 and 1993; Hossler, 1984; Tinto, 1993).

Work On-Campus

I f you have to work while in school,  find a job ON-CAMPUS . DID YOU KNOW: Research shows that students who work part-time ON CAMPUS are the most successful college students (Astin, 1975). Working on-campus helps you to meet people who can assist you when you have problems. Campus jobs are also more flexible than off-campus employment to work around school and exam schedules. Part-time work also forces students to manage their time between classes, work, studying and fun!

DID YOU KNOW: Students who work off-campus, especially full-time off-campus, are at the greatest risk to leave school without completing a degree program (Astin, 1975).  If you must work,  be sure to take advantage of tips and resources to help you be successful. You will have to work harder than others to complete your degree while juggling work (and often other) commitments.

Live On-Campus

at least your first year. DID YOU KNOW: Students who live on campus have an easier time getting involved and integrating to the campus. Students who commute often have a more difficult time feeling "part of" the University. If you commute, you must make more of an effort to meet people on campus and get involved. Scheduling time to stay on campus (either between classes or after classes) will help you feel like you belong here. Just coming to school to go to class puts you at greater risk of leaving FAU before you earn your degree!

Seek Academic Advisement

Advising is critical! See your advisor on a regular basis (at least once each semester) to make sure you are on track with your academic program and see your advisor any time you are struggling or thinking about making changes to your course schedule.

Use Academic Support 

Find a Mentor  

A mentor can provide you with the immediate attention necessary to help you persist in accomplishing your educational, social, personal, and career goals. DID YOU KNOW:  Mentors also provide opportunities for networking, counseling, guiding, instructing, modeling, sponsoring and encouraging you to great levels of success.

Manage Your Time

Prioritize and use your time wisely.

Learn to say no! Although it's tempting to do anything else (partying, movies, talking on phone, even laundry!) when you have to study, procrastination is the biggest academic killer!

Use your time wisely. Tape lectures and pop a lecture tape in your cassette player as you commute to school or work or do your laundry. DID YOU KNOW:  Use breaks between classes to re-write class notes or read the next section in a text book.

Plan a reward - "If I study for an hour (or write three pages of my paper draft), I'll allow myself to make a ten minute phone call or ten minutes to goof off."

Make daily lists of what you need to do or study and set a specific time that day to do it.

Put studying into your weekly work/class schedule. DID YOU KNOW:  To create an hour by hour weekly schedule (i) block out your class times, (ii) then work or other meetings, (iii) put in specific times that you will study each week! When it's written down and blocked out, you are more likely to do it!

If you have your assignments and exams written down, you can work backward to map out a schedule. DID YOU KNOW:  If your final paper is due in two weeks, you can say you need to bring the draft to the writing lab/tutoring center one week earlier, which means you need to start your draft ten days before the paper is due, which means you need to get the library research twelve days before. Mark these specific tasks on the calendar.

Learn Test-Taking Strategies 

There are strategies that help…

Learning what the professor is going to ask (and what the format will be) is half the battle. DID YOU KNOW:   If you know what to expect, it helps you determine how best to prepare and eliminates some of the test anxiety you may feel.

At the beginning of the test write down on scrap paper everything you remember - formulas, facts, names, etc. "Memory dump" helps you concentrate on the questions being asked, rather than worrying about forgetting information as you go along.

Read questions (and directions) carefully.

Answer easy questions first - then go back to the more difficult questions that require more time.

For multiple-choice tests, eliminate the obvious false choices and pick the remaining response that most fully answers ALL aspects of the question.

For true-false questions, pick out the key words on which the truth or falsity of a statement hinges. If any part of the statement is false, the entire statement is false.

If you are unsure about a question on an exam, read ahead - often the answer to a question is given in a later test question.

Planning your time in answering essay questions is essential - half answered essays are half wrong! DID YOU KNOW:  Read the question carefully and answer all parts of the question directly. Outline what you want to say on a scrap piece of paper with important ideas and facts. Each essay should have an opening, body and conclusion. Your opening should summarize main points of what you will say. The body will give details to support each point and directly answer the question asked. The conclusion should show how your body supported your opening statement.

Write neatly! DID YOU KNOW: If the grader cannot read your writing or decipher your spelling, you will not do well no matter how brilliant your responses may be.

Take Care

It sounds ideal, but most college students live on "convenient" diets and fail to get enough rest and exercise. If you are not rested and healthy, you won't be able to concentrate on your school work!