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Top 10 tips for new students

Wednesday, 08 February 2012


  • Starting university can sometimes take you in more than one direction, but support is never far away

    Starting university can sometimes take you in more than one direction, but support is never far away

Starting university can be challenging, but it can also lead to some of the most rewarding years of your life.

Learning Advisor Tina Fleming, from the Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) Academic Skills Centre, reveals her top tips for success at university.

1. Have clear goals. Successful students have a clear answer to the question ‘Why are you here?’ Having clear and realistic goals to aim for (and this doesn’t just mean to get a piece of paper called a degree) will motivate you and this means you are more likely to do well.

2. Have a stable place to live and study. It's important to have somewhere that is:

  • safe and affordable;
  • appropriate for study (living either with family or with other students is best); and
  • a reasonable commute (too much travel time is a pain – and might put you off attending your classes regularly!)

3. Understand your financial commitment to University. Be aware of the ‘hidden’ costs that can sneak up on you. Make sure you have enough financial support so that your job doesn’t impact negatively on class and study. Seek help if money problems emerge rather than just trying to work a heap of extra hours.

4. Attend class and stay up-to-date. It’s a fact that students who attend classes regularly, take notes, do the readings and the homework get better grades. Keep up-to-date with your studies and what’s going on in your units and the university in general. Falling behind can be a vicious circle of always trying to catch up. So it's pretty simple: be here! Do the work!

5. Learn how to learn. Successful students aren’t necessarily clever – they know how to work smart. To find out more come along to our free workshop, ‘Effective Learning at University’, at the Joondalup campus. Pick from two sessions, either Tuesday 28 February, 12.30pm – 1.30pm, or Friday 2 March, 11.30am – 12.30pm. Both will be held in room JO2.132.

6. Manage your time effectively. Prioritise tasks and avoid procrastination. Having a timetable and sticking to it helps to avoid overload and that last-minute effort we’re all familiar with – cramming. It also helps you to balance all the other activities you have, like work, family, friends, and recreation.

7. Get to know people. If you form good relationships with other students you will feel much more at ease about being here. Create a support network, and you will have a great time. It could be other students in your course, Faculty clubs, Guild clubs, recreational courses, or just people you meet at Café 6 or in the library.

8. Make strong connections with your lecturers and tutors. Speak to them, seek their advice and make sure they know who you are. Their contact details can be found on your unit plan and on Blackboard.

9. Use the support services available to you. The FBL Academic Skills Centre has Learning Advisors (like me!) who can assist you with general study skills, academic skills such as referencing and academic writing, and English language skills. Come along to some of the free workshops – the timetable is available on Blackboard. The Library also runs workshops on researching and referencing, or for individual help, you can visit their information desk.

10. Be realistic! There will be ‘up’ times and ‘down’ times. Sometimes you will be right on top of things. Other times, you may wonder why you ever entered university. Keep your expectations realistic. You are going through a time of transition. You may not get a distinction for every assignment. That’s OK… think about why this happened. Try to sort it out yourself, otherwise get some help from your lecturers or tutors or from us at the Academic Skills Centre.

More information

For more information on the FBL Academic Skills Centre, including their workshop timetable, log in to Blackboard and visit their page. Go to ‘My Communities’ and then ‘FBL Academic Skills Centre’.

You can also contact them via email at fbllearning@ecu.edu.au, or drop into their offices located at 2.133 on the Joondalup campus, and 10.122 on the Mount Lawley campus.

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