Top 5 tips for academic success

The start of a new semester is the perfect time to set your academic goals! In honor of this fresh start, Cama Duke, director of Academic Strategy Instruction, shares her Top 5 tips for academic success at Appalachian State University:

1. Budget your time.

Plan out a daily, weekly and monthly schedule to set aside time to get your work done. Don’t rely on deadlines to inspire you. Instead, whittle away each day on your reading, content review and projects so you will not be overloaded when the deadlines arrive. More advice and resources for time management can be found at

2. Be active when you study.

Instead of passively looking over notes or reading assignments, take action. Jot down key words as you read your text or lecture notes to help you focus and recall information. Recite aloud on your own or find friends to discuss course content after each class. In a problem-solving class such as math or physics, practice problems regularly to increase speed and confidence. More advice and resources can be found at

3. Learn to say NO.

Be aware of how others misuse your time. Don’t be afraid to tell friends that you are busy, and consider turning off your cell phone when you need to get work done. Treat study times as appointments that you must honor, and reward yourself with fun activities afterwards.

4. Create connections with what you are learning.

In addition to studying for recall, seek ways to care about what you are learning in every class. Consider how a skill might aid you in a future situation, or compare what you are learning in one class with other classes. Continue to explore majors and career options throughout your college career. More ideas on this topic can be found at

5. Ask questions and use your resources.

Successful people ask questions and use their resources. Take full advantage of faculty office hours, tutoring services, the writing center, research librarians, academic advisors, career centers, counselors, resident assistants, etc. These resources are designed not only to increase your efficiency and effectiveness as a student, but also to enhance your overall experience here at Appalachian.

And, lastly, Duke tells students: Remember to have fun as you learn! Being an active learner at Appalachian means engaging fully in your studies and your community—and when we're engaged in meaningful activities, we tend to have more fun. Enjoy your Appalachian Experience!

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