5 Key Academic Success Policies Every College Student Should Know!

Finding yourself in any of the scenarios listed below?

If so, investigate your campus’ policy via your online student handbook. Next, touch bases with your academic adviser and learn how this policy can help you get better grades.

1. Add/Drop Student Scenario

You realize during the first week of classes that you registered for Algebra 001 when your math placement test stated Algebra 101.  You check the Registration Schedule and notice 2 sections of Algebra 101, one available in the morning and the other section available in the evening.  You double check with your busy academic adviser via email. The Add/Drop deadline is in 2 days.  The next day you get an email confirmation from your adviser and then, following the Add/Drop registration instructions, you change classes. 

2. Pass/Fail Student Scenario

Several weeks into the semester, you discovered that the “easy” elective, astronomy, that you added to your schedule is turning out to be not so easy. It’s really more demanding than you had anticipated, elevating your stress levelsnot to mention the other work in your GenEd courses. You investigate the restrictions of your school’s Pass/Fail policy and, alas, you can designate the course as Pass/Fail.  You complete the sign-up requirements before the Pass/Fail deadline.

3. Course Withdrawal Student Scenario

You’re carrying a full academic course load your second semester – 15 credits (5 courses).  You just completed your midterms and learn that you received a grade of “D-“in a biology course.  You did well in your other courses. You’re worried that this course will pull down your grade point average (gpa). The biology course only has a midterm and a final. You’re also a financial aid recipient and you have to abide by the federal government’s “satisfactory academic progress” regulation.  Withdrawing from the course may be an option, but you’re not sure about the financial and/or academic consequences. In addition, a family crisis is looming on the horizon and you may even have to leave school before the semester ends. There is also a deadline to withdraw from a course (s).  Time to have a conversation with your academic adviser.

4. Degree Audit Student Scenario

During your first semester, you just realized that every semester,  you’ll receive an updated degree audit listing all of  your graduation requirements including your major, courses completed, grade point average, and other available course/program options. This degree audit will be quite helpful to you with deciding your course schedule for each semester and monitoring your academic progress. You noticed that your grade point average for your first semester was listed as 2.75.  Yet, you received all “A”s and “B”s on your first semester’s grade report.  Which means that your GPA should be listed as 3.5. Time to pay a visit to your academic adviser and the Registrar’s Office.

5. Information Literacy Student Scenario

You’re unfamiliar with the subject matter in a course you’re taking to satisfy a social science graduation requirement. You have to write a 20 page research paper on a topic of your choice. You’re unsure about what topic to select because you really are having hard time understanding the lectures and the subject matter overall. Also, the language of the assigned text book is just not helpful, often confusing, as is the corresponding course information resources packet. What to do…get thee, ASAP, to a campus reference librarian and discuss your project and how best to accomplish it!


Any of the above scenarios sound vaguely familiar? Different campuses have different policies…

  So, before you make that final decision on which policy to use, always check in first with your academic adviser.


You’ll be so glad you did!

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Disclaimer Reminder: A college student’s first line of inquiry should always be with their campus academic adviser. College Success Life Advising Sessions provide additional problem-solving options to undergraduate and graduate students for further exploration on their individual campuses. Students should always consult their assigned adviser not only during the course selection process but periodically to keep apprised of programmatic changes, testing requirements, course additions/deletions, GPA modifications, etc.

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