Tips for Academic Success

  • Professors in the U.S. want students to respect their knowledge and opinions, and generally encourage discussion and debate in the classroom.
  • Regular attendance at all classes and good note-taking skills will help you be a successful student.
  • Ask your professor to clarify what you do not understand. Within reason, ask that important points be repeated if they are given too fast for you to comprehend or to write down.
  • If you need more help with a topic, arrange to meet with your professor outside of class. Professors welcome students who are willing to see them and will help you with special problems. All professors have office hours set aside for students, and most are willing to arrange other appointments if necessary. Prepare your questions in advance of the appointment.
  • Pay attention to instructions given at the beginning of the semester about how the class will be conducted and how grades will be determined.
  • Expect to receive a “syllabus" for each course. The syllabus outlines the course’s objectives and the material to be covered. It also lists due dates for assignments, examination dates, texts to be purchased or obtained from the library, and the professor’s name, office location, and office hours. Keep the course syllabus for the duration of the course.
  • A class or workshop on academic writing can help you produce written assignments that meet accepted standards. The Writing and Speaking Center offers one-on-one help in this area.
  • Some students may not seem very formal or respectful by comparison with expected student behavior back home. They may appear very casual about attending class or keeping up with their work. Do not be deceived, respect is displayed differently and they are probably studying nights and weekends.