College Success & Learning Strategies

Academic Coaching Services helps students develop learning strategies, self-motivation, advocacy, and persistence - all skills linked to achieving greater academic success.  The following information is a synopsis of critical practices that can make a difference between a student experiencing academic success or failure.

Success Strategies:


Succeeding Inside and Outside of the Classroom:

  • Attend Orientation
    • College can be a maze of policies and people.  Attending orientation will give you a head start, and will help prepare you for the challenges ahead.
  • Attend all classes in their entirety and arrive on-time
    • If you must miss class, contact your instructor as soon as possible to clarify any problems. Arrive on time, nothing frustrates and annoys a professor more than students walking in late and distracting both the professor and other students.
  • Read the text material scheduled for lecture prior to attending class
    • While reading, write in your notebook any questions that arise. If your instructor doesn't address these questions during lecture, make sure you ask for help afterwards. Don't let problems accumulate until it becomes too late.
  • Don't be afraid to explore new study techniques
    • As an example, "concept mapping" is a much better way to study concepts than "flash cards". If you are unfamiliar with the process of "concept mapping", please visit your campus Retention Services for instruction on this technique.
  • Do not procrastinate
    • Study early and prepare assignments in advance. Attempts to "cram" study for tests will likely not be successful. Remember, instructors recommend that you devote two hours of study each week for each hour spent in class during the week. For example, a lecture that meets 3 hours a week in class requires about 6 hours of preparation and studying outside the classroom.
  • Turn in papers and assignments by deadlines
    • Students who turn in assignments on time will usually see higher grades than students who miss deadlines.  Meeting assignment deadlines may provide you an opportunity to rewrite papers or correct assignments that late students miss. 
  • Work on campus  
    • Studies show that students who work on campus succeed at a far higher rate than those who do not. This is because students who work on campus know many staff and faculty members to whom they can turn to for help.
  • Get involved with student activities 
    • Join ASCSN Student Government or any other student organization that appeals to you. The more active you are, the greater your exposure to college processes and personnel.
  • Enroll in a college success course
    • Courses such as ALS 101 (Academic and Life Skills) provide you with additional skills to succeed in the classroom and beyond. 

General Study Strategies:

Planning on Taking On-Line Courses:

The online learning process is normally accelerated and requires commitment on the learner's part.  Staying up with the class and completing all work on time is vital.  Once a learner gets behind, it is very difficult to catch up.

Find out if you are ready to take an online class 

 Important tips if you decide to take an online course:

  • Have direct access to a computer and Internet connection 
    • The classroom is accessed through the Web. You must have access to a computer with an Internet connection to take part in the classroom.
  • Must be comfortable expressing yourself in writing
    • ​Since in the online classroom, nearly all communication is written.
  • Must be self-motivated and self-disciplined
    • With the freedom and flexibility of the online environment comes responsibility. The online process takes a real commitment and discipline to keep up with the flow of the process.
  • Must "speak up" if problems arise
    • If you are experiencing difficulty on any level (either with the technology or with the course content), you must communicate this immediately. Otherwise the instructor will never know what is wrong.
  • Must commit 5-10 hours per week per course
    • Online learning is not easier than the traditional educational process. In fact, many students say it requires more time and commitment.
  • Must value high quality learning outside the traditional classroom
    • An online learner should expect to:
      • Participate in the virtual classroom 3-5 days a week
      • Respond to classmates' ideas and questions
      • Use technology properly
      • Complete assignments on time
      • Enjoy communicating in writing
  • Follow these overall guidelines to achieve success in an online course (© Robert M. Sherfield, Ph.D. 2005):
    • Develop a schedule for completing each assignment and stick to it! This is the biggest problem with online classes.
    • Keep a copy of all work mailed, e-mailed, or delivered to the professor. 
    • Always mail, e-mail, or deliver your assignment on time – early if possible. 
    • Try to find someone who is registered for the same course so that you can work together or at least have a phone number to call if you run into a problem.
    • Take full advantage of any online orientation or training sessions.
    • Participate in class and in your groups (if you are assigned a group).
    • If you have computer failure, have a back-up plan. 
    • Log in EVERYDAY even if you do not have an assignment due.
    • Alert your professor immediately if you have family, computer, or personal problems that would prevent you from completing an assignment on time.
    • Work ahead if possible.