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Academic Troubles and How to Avoid Them

The most common thing heard from a first-year's lips fall term is "I didn't expect this to be so much work." Yes, Dartmouth is hard, and many first-years find themselves struggling through fall term. If you feel like you're in over your head, keep these tips in mind.

You can talk to your professor - If you find yourself really in a jam many professors will be sympathetic to helping you out, even if its a one-time-only event. Also, if you don't understand why you are not doing well in a class, don't be afraid to speak with your instructor. You may learn something that will help you on future assignments and exams. Also, professors do occasionally make mistakes, so if you have something you think is right that was marked wrong, do not be hesitant in bringing it to your instructor's attention. Whole letter grades have been changed that way.

You can talk to your class dean - These people are there to help, use them, especially if you have some kind of non-academic issue that you feel is making it impossible for you to do well that term.

Use the Academic Skills Center - these guys and girls can check your papers, teach you study habits, lend you computers — it's all there at the Academic SkillsCenter. Best of all, except for the computer lending, it's free.

Re-evaluate how you use your time - if you're not doing so hot in that economics class of yours and your party-to-study ratio is 4 to 1, logic says you need to change how you manage your time. Your friends will understand if you need to skip socializing to work on that paper. The Academic Skills Center has some good resources to help you.

Develop good study habits - Let's be honest, most of us didn't need to study overly much in high school. Dartmouth is different, very different, and if you don't know how to study efficiently, developing this skill fall term should be your number one priority. Everyone learns differently, and there is no "right" way to study, so experiment and figure out what works for you. The Academic Skills Center can give you tips on this as well.


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