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Academic Success Strategies

Thank you for visiting the SSC’s student resource pages. Below you will find content on key academic success strategies and tips that many students find helpful. For example, many students who visit a coach ask for information on success strategies such as time management and motivation. The information provided here can help you achieve your academic goals by helping you learn how to study better, take notes, talk to professors, and more. As a UT student, you also have access to, where you can check out a student success playlist provided by OIT.

For a downloadable UT resource guide, see our UT Resources List, or check out our tips and resources page.

To succeed in college, you cannot avoid the task of reading and writing—you simply must learn to read quickly and write effectively—including how to conduct research at the academic level.

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Many resources on campus are available to help you develop these skills. If you are having difficulty with a paper, stop by the Writing Center, where trained tutors can assist you with any step in the writing process. If you are looking for help conducting research, stop by the library where subject librarians are available to help you navigate library databases and cite sources.

Resources @UT

The Writing Center
Hodges Library Help Page
Hodges Library Subject Librarians
Hodges Library Research Guides

External Resources

Purdue Online Writing Lab
Writing a Research Paper (video)

The stresses you encounter in college may differ from the stresses you have encountered previously, and there are many resources on and off campus to help you face these challenges. In the links below you will find connections to people on campus who are here to help manage stress. In addition, you will find access to web resources on a host of stress and adversity-related issues.

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The challenges you face in college are worth the effort. By the time you graduate you truly will have earned your diploma. The Center for Health Education and Wellness, the Student Health Center, and the Counseling Center are all great resources on campus for helping you deal with stress. Also, check out the available online resources.

Resources at UT

Center for Health Education and Wellness
Student Health Center
Student Counseling Center
Counseling Center Self-Help page

External Resources

Managing Stress During Finals

90:10–The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do For Stress

Motivation and focus are two essential components for academic success. Further, they are skills that can be developed with practice, rather than innate personality traits. You will probably find that some days you have more motivation and focus than others, so check out our resources and information below to help you stay on track.

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Maintaining motivation and focus requires self-discipline, steady attention to your goals, and an ability to work through distractions. There are many resources on campus available to assist you in developing these skills, including the Student Success Center. Consider meeting with an academic coach today to strengthen your skills in maintaining motivation and focus. If you find that meeting in groups or pairs holds you more accountable, check out the SSC’s Supplemental Instruction and tutoring offerings. Other campus staff, such as your academic advisor or career services, can also be helpful.

Resources at UT

Student Success Center
Your Academic Advisor
Center for Career Development

External Resources

Twelve Strategies for Motivation That Work
Tips for Staying Motivated 
Study Skills Fundamentals ( full course)

Often, students are unsure of how to connect or communicate with their instructors, but instructors want you to use them as a resource. Your instructor will hold office hours and can be contacted by e-mail to schedule appointments or ask questions related to your course. The best way to utilize this essential resource is to communicate with your instructor appropriately.

Tips for Communicating with your Instructors

Talking to Your Professor:

  • Address instructors by their proper title
  • Talk to your instructor at the beginning of the semester to establish rapport
  • Be respectful of your instructor’s time—utilize office hours or schedule appointments
  • Be prepared with specific questions or discussion topics when meeting with your instructor
  • Illustrate your own interest in the course and your desire to do well 

E-mailing Your Professor:

  • Use your UT e-mail address
  • Put your course and section number in the subject line
  • Know your instructor’s preferences and policies regarding e-mail
  • Format your e-mail properly
  • Be clear and specific
  • Don’t e-mail in anger
  • Use proper language and punctuation
  • When in doubt, use formal language
  • Be sure that your instructor is the best person to ask before e-mailing

Ever leave a test feeling like you underperformed? You knew the material but weren’t able to translate that knowledge into a successful test grade? The links found on this page will help you build your test preparation skills and improve your test taking performance.

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If you’re frustrated with your test-taking abilities, your instructor is the first person to see. Discuss the ways you are presently preparing for tests and ask for alternatives or suggestions. If the frustration extends to more than one course, you may want to seek advice from additional sources, including an Academic Coach at the Student Success Center, a counselor at the Student Counseling Center, and your Academic Advisor.

Resources at UT

Student Counseling Center
Testing Accommodations (Student Disability Services office)

External Resources

Tips for Before, During, and After the Test (Bucks County Community College)
Strategies for Handling Difficult Exam Questions (Virginia Tech)
Tips for studying (

Time management is perhaps the most essential skill for academic success and also the reason most students visit SSC academic coaches. Like many of the academic success strategies discussed in this section, time management is learned and developed through practice. Check out our information and resources below to help you improve your time management skills. Remember, academic coaches are available to help you create schedules, prioritize tasks, and stay on track!

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The typical college schedule can look open and airy, but the amount of reading and studying required to be successful will take up much of the seemingly free time. When scheduling your time, it is important to remember that for each credit hour in class, successful students spend two to three hours studying and preparing for that course outside of class.

Students earning As and Bs at UT commonly retype their class notes within twenty-four hours of the lecture in order to review the fresh material, discover additional questions, and create a template for test preparation. Check out our resources and tips below on how to best manage your time.

Time Management Tips

  • Create a schedule and/or a to-do list
  • Prioritize your tasks and activities
  • Use a planner—mark important dates throughout the semester
  • Set goals and write them down
  • Respect your classes—take them seriously
  • Sacrifice now and reward yourself later—don’t give in to your short term “wants”
  • Set time and social boundaries
  • If you find yourself overloaded, reassess your priorities to see how you can lighten your work load

Resources at UT

Find Your Academic Advisor
Academic Coaches
UT Semester at a Glance Monthly Planner – General (PDF download)
Semester at a Glance – Summer 2018 (PDF download)
Weekly Time Planner (PDF download)

External Resources

Time Management Tips for Students
Academic Tips: Time Management 
How to Manage Time, Reduce Stress, & Increase Happiness (video)
Time Management Fundamentals ( full course)
Managing Your Time ( short video)
Manage Your Time (LSU Center for Academic Success)

Learning occurs in many different ways, and each individual has preferences and styles of preferred learning. Some students prefer to gain knowledge through readings and lectures, while others may prefer solving problems and working in groups. Learning styles are not fixed, and different courses may require different modes of learning. Whatever your learning style, there are many strategies to meet your needs and help you succeed!

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Your academic coach can help you determine your learning styles as well as assist you in developing strategies for studying in your various courses. There are also many resources available on campus and online to help you study and learn effectively. Check out the resources below and schedule an appointment with a coach for more one-on-one assistance.

Resources at UT

Academic Coaches

External Resources

Learning Styles (Vanderbilt Center for Teaching)
Discover Strengths (LSU Center for Academic Success)
The Neuroscience of Learning ( full course)

Keeping track of your grades is essential during college. You want to be aware of how you’re progressing throughout the semester so there aren’t any surprises when grades are posted. It’s also important to know how to calculate your GPA since many scholarships, financial aid, major status, academic standing, and more rely on you maintaining a certain GPA.

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The university has multiple resources to help you stay on top of your grades and GPA.  You can talk with your advisor about major requirements, One Stop about financial aid and scholarships, and an Academic Coach can help you calculate where you stand.

Resources at UT

Course Grades
The College of Arts and Science Advising Center put together a Grade Tracker that can help you keep track of your grades in courses that have weighted assignments.
Grade Tracker Instructions
Grade Tracker

Online GPA Calculator
GPA Calculation Worksheet

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