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Tips for Academic Success

  • Find someone to show you how things are done. Either an international student from your country or a U.S. student can help you learn about, understand and adjust to the U.S. education system and SIUE.
  • Be independent. In the U.S., you will likely not get as much help as you are used to. You are required to figure things out for yourself and learn by doing.
  • Try to adapt. As you encounter differences in the U.S., think of ways to deal with them constructively. Getting angry that things are not done the same way back home will not assist you in your transition.
  • Know that everyone has similar experiences. It is normal to go through ups and downs when you first arrive. Reach out to other students and your international ambassador. The first month can be especially stressful.
  • Develop relationships with your faculty members. A very important part of your learning will happen outside of formal lectures. Make an appointment to meet your professor to discuss your research interests, ask specific questions about the course, or raise any concerns you may have about your ability to perform well in the class.

    However, remember that the faculty member is very busy and deserves respect. Be sure to make an appointment or drop by during posted office hours. Be focused. Make a written list of questions so you can cover everything in a reasonable amount of time. Don't expect that a professor should do you a special favor or change your grade. Be on time. Dress appropriately. Take a shower, wear deodorant and comb your hair.
  • Don't skip classes. Professors may lower your grades, and you will miss important content.
  • Read the syllabus carefully. It is your guide to the course. Make sure you understand the content of the class. Use the library and the Internet to look up unfamiliar terms on the syllabus so you are aware of the material the class will cover.
  • Do not cheat. Do not copy papers or lab work from students who took the class before you. Do not plagiarize. If you need help learning how to properly use citations or write academic papers, make use of the Writing Center, trainings offered in the Library and services offered through Instructional Services.
  • "Nobody told me" is not a good excuse. It is your job to get the information you need to be successful.
  • Most professors will welcome your active participation and will expect you to make verbal contributions to the class. Don't be shy. It is part of the U.S. educational culture.
  • And most importantly: don't put off reading and projects to the last minute. Begin reading now and making a plan for how you will schedule work on writing and lab projects.
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