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Academic starter pack

Ana Cahuiche


A new semester is on the horizon and so are many academic challenges. UTRGV offers several services to help students achieve academic success at all levels of their academic career.

Kristin Croyle, vice president of Student Success, and Jonikka Charlton, associate vice president of Student Academic Success and dean of the University College, shared some time management and learning tips to help students have a successful semester. They also encourage students to visit academic centers for help.

They both suggest keeping a calendar and planner for all your classes, assignments and projects.
“Keeping an academic planner in which students write down all of their assignments and study time ahead of time, that makes a big difference,” Croyle said. “Adding their courses on their phone’s calendars, sometimes it really does make a difference.”

They advise setting aside time for reading for each course and meeting your professors.

“A rule of thumb for university students across the country is that they should be spending two to three hours outside of class studying and preparing for class for every hour that they are in class,” Croyle said.

Besides reading and highlighting, Charlton suggests using different color highlighters and taking side notes while reading to help narrow down the information and make further studying more efficient.

Reach out to your professors if you need help and even if you don’t.

“Something I think is very important in the first week, students should always talk to the bulk of their professors because having that personal contact can make a difference through the rest of the semester in how well they do on the course and how connected they feel to the course,” Croyle said.

Asking for help might be difficult sometimes but Charlton suggests emailing as a first outreach. Croyle also encourages students to approach professors after class and provide with the times they are available to meet with them and have them choose a time that meets their schedule. If it’s an online class, do the same thing through email and set an appointment to meet in person at their office.

‘“Here are a couple of times that would work for me. Is there a time that you are available?’ To go in with an attitude that your professors really want to talk to you can help a lot,” Croyle said.
Realize that “memorizing all the facts in the class will only get you halfway there,” she said.
There are multiple centers and programs under Student Academic Success to help:
–the Learning Center offers tutoring focusing mainly on lower-level courses for core curriculum classes and tutoring on request.The center works by the peer-led learning method.
–the Career Center helps students find employment and coordinates internship experiences.
–the Writing Center offers individual and group tutoring on writing in all disciplines and at all levels, according to its website.
–Academic Advising helps student select an academic pathway that fits their interest and strengths.
–Engaged Scholarship and Learning [offers experiential learning[ and research opportunities.
–the Dean of Students Office promotes involvement through student organizations, leadership development opportunities and mentoring programs for undergraduate students.
–the ASPIRE program offers tutoring, mentoring and financial and personal guidance to college students who are first-generation, income eligible or have a documented disability. The program is only available on the Brownsville campus. It is open to all students but requires an application.
–University College is the academic program for all UTRGV students who are undecided about what major to pursue.
“Until students are able to choose a major, they’re with us and we’ll be developing programming and workshops, things like that, [this] year to help students learn more about different careers, different opportunities and how the majors line up with those so they can make a choice,” Charlton said.
–Under University College is the Learning Framework Program, UNIV 1301, which helps students transition into the university, assists with career planning and engaging in the community. Each section is divided into each particular college to help students build friendships with other students with similar interests. About 60 percent of UTRGV’s first-year students take the course, Charlton said.

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