Unlocking Academic Success: 5 Key Strategies

Jan 26, 2020 | Academic Advising, College Success Life, Graduation, Information Literacy

Achieving academic success is always on the minds of college students.  Just study hard, do your work, and the grades will come… you can hear that hack in your sleep!

And once they arrive on campus, they find out quickly that their pathway to academic success will be more challenging than anticipated.

However, there are 5 key academic policy strategies that can  help most students achieve their academic goals.  Although most students learn about these policies at New Student Orientation sessions, this information usually goes in one ear and out the other.


And that’s because most students don’t realize at the time the value of this information until they find themselves facing an academic challenge or crisis.

So, What's the Remedy?...

college adjustmentStart off by checking out the 5 key strategies below. Then take advantage of our FREE 15 minute academic advising session.
Tell us your academic challenge and we’ll point you in the right direction.

5 Key Academic Policy Strategies That Can Lead To Academic Success

1. Add/Drop

The Add/Drop period occurs each semester, usually during the first week of classes, summer sessions included. This strategy allows you to “shop around” for courses, so to speak, to make certain you have the class schedule that meets your academic and personal needs.

2. Pass/Fail

Pass/Fail gives students the opportunity to select this grade option when they don’t want to be burden by the academic demands of a particular course. From campus to campus, however, there are policy restrictions as well as name changes for this option such as credit/no credit, pass/no pass, and so on

3. Course Withdrawal

The Course Withdrawal option allows students having either academic and/or personal difficulties to withdraw from a course and/or school completely, receiving a “W” grade for each course(s). Consider this policy carefully…there may be academic and/or financial consequences in selecting this option.

4. Degree Audit

Known by different names at different campuses, the “invaluable degree audit” tracks, in detail, your academic progress. It tracks and monitors your degree requirements including graduation credits earned, courses completed, grade point average, required major courses, transfer credit, and course electives. And it is updated every semester.

5. Information Literacy

Information literacy is the skillful, analytical use, and effective practice as well as management of all types of digital and print information resources. Succeeding in today’s digital workplace definitely requires having a level of proficiency in information literacy practice. This critical skills set is essential for any student who intends to succeed in today’s academic, workplace, and fake news environments.


Using these policies to your best advantage requires strategic planning on your part and regular consultation with your academic adviser.  Having a second expert opinion – College Success Life -can also be very helpful.

Always keep in mind that these 5 key strategic policies differ from campus to campus.

The 5 Key Tools guide provides you with more student-related detail about each policy.

Not sure how you would use them?  Then check out the 5 Keys student examples to see if any of the experiences sound familiar.

Remember that the first 3 policies Add/Drop,  Pass/Fail, and Course Withdrawal, have specific registration procedures and deadlines.  Contact your Registrar’s Office to learn about those specifics.

A Higher Education Factoid:  Academic librarians know more about academic resources and how to use them than your typical faculty member.

Getting the most benefits from utilizing the other two policies, Degree Audit and Information Literacy, requires a 2 step collaborative consultation process:

  1. First, meet with your academic adviser to discuss your individual degree audit. Ask questions, take notes, and revisit regularly during the semester for updates.
  2. And secondly, plan to collaborate regularly with your campus reference librarian. They are, by far, the best academic success resource on campus.

Your academic adviser and campus reference librarian are two resources you need to meet with regularly throughout the academic year. And don’t forget to check periodically your college student handbook for updates on these five key tools for academic success.

A Word to the Wise...

Whenever a college student faces an academic and/or social challenge, they often ask a peer or a friend first for advice. And that’s okay.

However, resolving the issue to your best advantage often requires consulting with an academic advising professional as well.

Your academic adviser knows the campus academically, administratively, and socially.

And what they don’t know, they can point you to the person who does know.  Include this strategy in your current plan for college success.

And we're always available to help as well!

Disclaimer Reminder: A college student's first line of inquiry should always be with their campus academic adviser. College Success Life Coaching 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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