Academics - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Academics

You hear a lot about college parties, teams and becoming a "real" adult when you talk to other students. But they, and you, aren't spending all that money to go to football games or frat parties. While getting involved and becoming a well-rounded student is valuable, the most important aspect of college is getting an education and, hopefully, a degree.

Make the most of your college years by succeeding academically. Use these tips to help you.

  • Don't rush into a major. You don't have to choose a major immediately. Take some time to find out what makes you happy. Do a little research and take a variety of classes. Whatever you choose, your major won't necessarily determine the rest of your life.
  • Change majors if you need to. Sometimes you discover you like something else or just that you don't like what you initially chose.
  • Meet with your academic advisor at least once a semester. A good advisor is a great resource for success. (You can request a different advisor if you don't click with the one assigned to you.)
  • Choose classes wisely. Use course catalogs, your advisor and other students as resources. Remember to take all required general education classes.
  • Expand your interests by taking some elective classes outside your major (or potential major). Being well-rounded is a reward in itself, but employers and graduate schools also like to see that characteristic in applicants.
  • Attend classes. You're here to learn, not just cram for tests between more exciting pastimes.
  • Get organized. You will need to invest a little time in the beginning but the payoff is huge when you know where your notes on the Age of Enlightenment are or you get your midterm paper done days before it's due.
  • Find your best study mode. Maybe you study best in complete silence or maybe you learn best by retyping your class notes. Try different environments and methods until you find what works for you – then do it.
  • Balance work with classes. It's nice to have extra money, but if you work more than 20 hours a week as a full-time student, you risk trouble with academics, health and relationships.

 

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