Student Success Tips

Students and their family members have already heard that "college is not like high school." Teaching and learning methods are different, and students are expected to be more self-motivated.

Students typically find that when they establish academic goals and combine their studies with out-of-classroom learning opportunities, they gain more from their campus experiences, understand academic concepts more clearly, and earn better grade point averages.

Here are some considerations to help your student get off to a good start.

Course Selection

Students benefit by taking a variety of courses. Although they must meet a series of general requirements, students will enjoy their courses more if they have at least one class each semester that really piques their interest. In small classes, students tend to get to know an instructor and other classmates better.

A freshman seminar is a good option for the first or second semester. In small classes of 10 to 20, students connect with a senior faculty member and each other through discussion and analytical thinking. Language classes, too, are generally small and meet several times a week.

On-Campus Employment

Research indicates that students who work on campus are more likely to stay in school and complete their degree. Campus jobs are conveniently located for students, and the pay rates often match comparable positions at off-campus jobs. Most important, students work with University staff who understand student issues and can connect them with valuable campus resources.

Student jobs generally range from 10 to 20 hours per week. Job listings are posted on the Office of Human Resources website.

Welcome Week

All first-time, first-year degree-seeking students are required to participate in Welcome Week activities. Welcome Week gives students a jumpstart on their college experience. Students begin to:

  • Build a sense of community among their class.
  • Adjust to the campus's environment and its diverse culture.
  • Develop relationships with faculty, staff, community members, and other students.
  • Discover and access a multitude of resources.

Visit the Welcome Week page on the Orientation & Transition Experiences website for additional information and schedule.

Involvement Opportunities

More than 600 student organizations on the Twin Cities campus offer opportunities like special-interest student groups, campus leadership positions, and community service programs. Activities like these help students add value to their classroom learning.

A few good places to start -

Form Study Groups

Working with classmates outside the classroom not only helps students understand coursework better, it helps them develop a sense of community. Students are encouraged to ask those who sit near them in class to meet for an hour or so a week to review homework and lecture notes. Study groups serve as an incentive to get the homework done and to go over difficult concepts with others. Students are welcome to study in spaces at different University buildings all over campus including the University Libraries SMART Learning Commons.

Opportunities for Commuters

Plenty of students decide that living on campus isn’t for them, for whatever reason that may be. Off-Campus Living is here to help make living away from campus as seamless as possible. They provide lots of resources to help commuter students navigate the U, including:

  • Parking and Safety Issues
  • Transportation/Directions Tips
  • Rideshare Information
  • Getting Involved

Commuter students can always find more resources and support at Off-Campus Living’s website. Also, be sure to check out Commuter Connection, another resource here to help off-campus students navigate life at the U. Commuter Connection's lounge on the second floor of Coffman Union. Visit the Commuter Connection, email commuter@umn.edu, or call 612-624-5491 for more information.