Academic Support Programs

Tips for success at the UW

You've probably heard the phrase "you can make a big school small, but you can't make a small school big." This certainly applies at the University of Washington! The UW is full of amazing resources and community members who want to support you, so you don't have to do it alone. Be proactive: reach out to your academic advisers, teaching assistants, or resident advisers about what resources were the most helpful to them during their time in college.

Manage your time effectively

Being a successful student takes time and commitment. It is also a full-time job.

Use a weekly planner, or online calendar that you can sync on your phone, to create a weekly study schedule. Take note of important assignment due dates, office hours, upcoming events, and review session times for all your classes.

Try this: The basic rule for determining academic credit is that one credit represents three hours of work each week. You can use this to estimate how much time to allocate for studying.

Study in groups and learn with peers, tutors, and professors

Research shows that the most successful students study in groups, use study centers, and talk with their teaching assistants (TAs) and professors.

Build study groups with your classmates or other students in your quiz sections, and carve out time every week to clarify course material, study information, and complete homework assignments (when allowed by your professor or TA). There are many benefits of group studying. You can also hold each other accountable, practice sharing the material in your own words and anticipate potential test questions!

Visit your professors and TAs during office hours, even if you only have a few questions! Instructors are always willing to go over concepts from class, and it can be helpful to hear what other people ask as well.

Take advantage of all the great campus study and tutoring centers, like The Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment (CLUE) and the Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC). Check out the many other study centers on the UW Resources page! Visit CLUE, OWRC, or any of the other centers at least once during the first three weeks of the quarter.

For more study tips, check out this page on advice for successful group studying!

Try this: To form a study group, approach classmates who could be good members for a study group, or create a sign-up sheet that you can share with others in class!

Find a community

Finding your place at a University of this size can help you create smaller communities through campus involvement. The Husky Union Building (HUB) and Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC) are two places where you can start to find your community. 

Build a community of friends with people in your coursework or other activities like intramural sports, residential communities, or similar career trajectories.

Join a Registered Student Organization (RSO) or start your own! RSOs range in size from small groups of students interested in a single topic area to large organizations, like the undergraduate student government, known as the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW).

Try this: Check out the RSO Directory and attend a RSO meeting during your first week of the quarter!

Follow your own values, interests, and passions when choosing a major

Many students struggle feel pressured to choose certain majors because of their parents' expectations, or because a major is popular and associated with a high-paying job. Focus on finding classes or activities that really excite you, and familiarize yourself with the majors offered at UW that can help you develop skills in your areas of interest.

Once you've identified a few areas of interest, take an introductory course to explore it further!

It can be helpful to discuss your academic interests with general advisers in Undergraduate Academic Advising, in the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, University Honors Program, and in Student-Athlete Academic Services.

Try this: Browse the list of majors at UW, and choose 3-5 that seem interesting. Look into their pre-requisites for application.

Take care of your body and mind

Exercising regularly is good for your physical and mental health, and it can also help with concentration and focus! Find a form of exercise you enjoy doing, and you can keep yourself accountable by asking a friend to do it with you, too!

Sleep 6-8 hours every night and eat a well-balanced diet.

Reach out for help if you need it, or know someone who does. Some resources you can use include UW Counseling Center, LiveWell, Hall Health, or other wellness resources on campus. 

Try this:  Test out an online fitness class at least once during the first half of the quarter. As a UW student, you get free access to the Fitness Center's (IMA) classes. Even though it is virtual, you can still get a great workout and be a part of a community at UW! 

If you find yourself struggling, be patient with yourself

Transitioning to college can be challenging. If you struggle to understand course material, get a low grade, or need to retake a class, it's OK! When this happens, use your resources i.e. meet with your instructor to go over your exam, discuss your study strategies with an adviser, or use tutoring resources on campus.

Stress is a normal part of life. However, there are several strategies to help manage your stress including regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and using friends and family for help.

Be open to changing your study habits — what worked well in high school or past coursework may not work for classes in future quarters!

Focus on finding balance

Part of being a successful student is self-care! Be sure to make time for studying, exercising, sleeping, and spending time with friends.

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