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Tips for Success
Make Use Of Your Advisor!
An Academic Advisor (a faculty advisor or professional advisor) helps a student select, plan and complete his/her academic goals without unnecessary delays and expense. You will want to work closely with your advisor to plan your program of study so that you will take the required courses in their proper sequence to meet the graduation requirements of your major and the University.
How can you make the most of an advising relationship?
- Develop your social, academic and career goals and examine how these goals will affect your life.
- Become familiar with Career Exploration Services and the other resources at USU and discuss your long range goals, career opportunities and the selection of a major or minor with career counselors, faculty, your academic advisor and the other resource people.
- Keep current on academic policies, procedures and requirements by reviewing the current catalog, schedule of classes and major requirement sheets.
- Know basic University, college and departmental graduation requirements of a chosen major or minor well enough to plan your own progress toward completion of these requirements.
- Accept responsibility for your decisions.
- Maintain personal copies of a tentative degree plan, progress reports, general educational evalutations until an official graduation application is processed.
- Know your advisor. (For information and assistance, contact your academic department, your college academic service center or the University Academic Service Center in TSC 302.)
- Seek help from your advisor when needed.
- See that any academic records from other universities are transferred and received by the Admissions Office for evaluation.
How can you make the best use of your advisor?
- Become familiar with the information in the front section of the USU Catalog and the first section of the semester's schedule of classes.
- Study carefully the current semester schedule of classes, which is avaiable prior to each registration period.
- Read and follow the instructions on the Course Request Form.
- Take the initiative to contact your advisor during office hours. It may take more than one attempt before you connect.
- Prepare a list of questions or concerns before each meeting with your advisor. Have a tentative written schedule prepared if you are registering.
- Become familiar with student service offices and student organizations on campus.
- Ask questions! If you don't understand a policy or procedure, ask questions until you understand.
- Make decisions. Your advisor will present you with options.
- Know the academic calender in the front section of the current semester schedule of classes. Don't miss deadlines. Know when to register and drop or add classes. Set up appointments with your advisor well in advance of these deadlines.
- Read your progress report (unofficial transcript), including your scholastic standing.
- Learn the degree requirements using the catalog and major requirement sheet.
- Cooperate with your advisor regarding class scheduling and degree plan changes.
- Keep personal copies of schedules, drop/add forms and other important information regarding your academic progress.
- Study this information so you can make the most of your appointments with your advisor.
Managing Home, Family, Work… School
- Use your time and energy wisely. Difficult choices will have to be made: daily chores often can wait, while studying cannot.
- Feeling guilty about the time you spend in classes and studying depletes energy. Believe that you and your goals have worth, and the people with whom you are close will believe that, too.
- Keep your dreams, but set realistic short-term objectives that don't overwhelm you.
- Be persistent. At times you may wonder what you are doing and why you are doing it. That's normal.
- Make friends with classmates. Start small study groups when appropriate. When you make the effort, perceived barriers can disappear and friendships can begin. Exchange phone numbers with classmates in case you can't attend class and need to know what went on.
- Search for academic advisors supportive of your goals. While this takes time and effort, it is worth the time saved in meeting degree requirements and in obtaining future job references.
- Spend time with those who support your educational goals. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the demands of school, especially at finals time. A core of friends and family members who encourage you, can ease this stress.
- Join organizations that are connected with your major and whose members share similar interest. Participate in campus activities. Attend lectures and concerts. Make an effort to become a part of the university community in more ways than just attending classes.
- Remember that attending the university need not be all work. It is a time to explore ideas, to engage in philosophical discussions, to meet a diverse population of people whom you would otherwise probably never meet, to be exposed to some of the best dance, music, art, film and theater available and to be in contact with lively, creative minds. There is a multitude of recreational oportunities. So take time to have fun!
- Get to know the library resource people. They will direct you to references and guides that will save you research time.
- Try to plan class schedules to avoid crossing the campus several times a day.
- Remember that you are not the only one experiencing anxiety. Coming back to school requires many adjustments... on you, your family, and friends.
- Ask for help. Seek out resources and people who might be able to assist you.
- Ask questions. Anytime something doesn't make sense or is not clear, you have the right to ask questions. Asking questions will save you valuable time, energy and possibly money.
- Meet with an advisor or professor when you don't understand something. Ask for suggestions on how to improve your studying and grades. Remember professors are human.
- Meet and converse with your student peers, especially other Nontraditional students. They have some of the same concerns you have. You can learn from each other.
- Believe in yourself. As an adult learner you have special strengths to be successful: maturity, high motivation, diverse life skills, and a variety of life experiences.
- Be good to yourself. Reward yourself for persevering, for studying, for staying in school.
- Take good care of yourself. Eat, exercise, and rest appropriately. Staying physically and emotionally fit contributes to being successful in school.
- Adjust your lifestyle. Remember you cannot do everything that you did before you returned to school. Learn to be selective in what you agree to do. Allow others to share the responsibility.
- Remember transitions aren't easy. Becoming a student requires patience, purpose, persistence and a sense of humor.