A new semester brings the opportunity for a fresh start

Tips from Ask Deanie, the Libraries and the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center


January 17, 2012

Ask DeanieFrom Ask Deanie:

There is no better time than the start of a new year and new term for students to fully and honestly assess how the first semester went.

Were they satisfied or disappointed with their grades from the first semester? Are they willing to take responsibility for their successes and their failures or, in case of a less than satisfactory GPA, is everything someone else’s fault or do they hold themselves accountable?

The Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC) offers one-on-one counseling, one time or on a regular basis, for students looking to focus – or in some cases refocus – their efforts. First-semester “disasters” do not have to mean a disastrous college career. Call 214-768-3648 for an appointment.

Read tips for the new term (right) from SMU’s learning and library experts at the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center and Central University Libraries.

Regardless of students’ GPA, most everything said at the start of school in August still applies:

  1. Go to class.
  2. Get to know the professors for each class.
  3. Take advantage of the resources on campus (hint: the A-LEC has free tutoring, academic counseling and a writing lab).

Every GPA from the fall can be improved upon with some “sweat equity”:

  • Student StudyingNo cutting class.
  • More time studying.
  • Regular visits to the A-LEC.
  • Numerous meetings with an academic counselor.
  • Getting to know the faculty teaching a course.
  • Making appointments for the Writing Center.
  • More visits to one’s academic adviser.
  • Less shopping.
  • Less partying.
  • Fewer soap operas.
  • More studying ahead.
  • Reading all assignments.
  • New study habits.
  • Making new friends in class and forming study groups (if endorsed by the faculty).
  • Regular meetings with faculty during their office hours.
  • Changes in the company one keeps.
  • A strong determination to improve
  • A genuine commitment to change past behaviors that were barriers to success.
  • A willingness to do whatever it takes to be successful.

. . . Are all good places to start!

Involvement in the campus community is still important, but should enhance one’s academic pursuits, not detract from them. Student activities, club sports, Greek letter groups, Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, intramurals, leadership and community involvement, religious organizations, academic clubs and honoraries all have openings in the spring term.

Also, it is not too early for a student to talk with the International Center and their academic adviser about SMU Abroad opportunities this summer or next fall and about summer and fall terms in Taos.

The long winter break gave parents family time to enjoy their students, but also time to assess their mental and physical health.

There are tremendous resources on campus should parents or students have any concerns. Do not hesitate to call me at 214-768-4797 for referral information or contact any campus resource directly for advice.

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