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New Year’s Resolutions: Academic Style

2018 is here, and along with the new year, we’re also welcoming those new year’s resolutions. Take a moment to consider these academic-related ones.

For thousands of years, people have been making resolutions in hopes of accomplishing personal goals. These new year’s resolutions are why gyms become so crowded in January. Resolutions can focus on any aspect of your life, so have you considered academic-related ones? Here are some ideas:

Earn a specific GPA this semester
When setting your resolutions, it’s important to break them down into smaller increments so they’re more achievable and provide gratification along the way. Deciding you want to earn a specific GPA for an entire semester is a great idea, but be sure to break it down farther by focusing on what grades you want to earn in each class—or even on each assignment or exam. Choose a GPA that’s higher than you’ve earned in the past, but be careful not to set your expectations beyond what is achievable, as that could lead to discouragement.

Spend more time studying
Going to class is important, but spending time studying outside of class is the real key to learning the material. Decide how much time you should be studying each week for each class and then schedule those times into your planner. It’s much easier to accomplish your goal if the time is blocked off and you get in the habit of studying each week.

Use a planner
Speaking of planners, you really should be using one! It doesn’t matter if you use a paper or electronic version, but keeping close track of your classes, study times, job schedule, appointments, and other tasks will keep you focused. You’ll find having a planner not only helps you with your academics but will improve many other aspects of your life as well.

Read the assigned textbook
It’s impossible for professors to teach everything about a subject during the short class times they spend with you. That's why they assign textbooks written by experts for you to read outside of class. The professor is supposed to help you understand and implement the material you read in the textbook, not teach you everything you need to know from scratch. If you’re the kind of student who doesn’t see the point in textbooks, try reading the assigned chapters for one of your classes before you go to class and then see how much more sense the class makes to you. You’ll thank us later!

Build a professional relationship with a professor
We previously wrote a post about getting to know your AU professors and how this can be a huge opportunity for you. Out in the real world, your success can depend on whom you know as much as on what you know, so it’s very important to take full advantage of being around professors who work in your desired field. Talk to professors you admire after class and ask if they would be willing to meet with you to discuss their interests or research. A solid professional relationship can go a long way in terms of enhancing your professional development and helping you land good internships and jobs.

Apply for a scholarship
Attending a college or university can be very expensive, and it can be stressful and exhausting to work at the same time in order to cover your expenses and your tuition. The good news is that there are a lot (seriously, A LOT) of scholarships you can apply for to help cover your tuition expenses. The first step is filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( so you can receive any available federal grants (you don’t have to pay back grants), followed by talking to the Financial Aid department about available scholarships (the Financial Aid office can be found between the Provost’s office and the Student Affairs office on AU’s Miami campus and can be reached by calling 305-593-1223, ext. 3271). If you’ve already tried these steps, you can also search online for scholarships geared to your background, achievements, and interests.

Use the student services on AU’s campus
College isn’t easy, but there are many different services on campus that are here to help you succeed. For a listing of these services and what they can provide to you, visit our Student Success Resources blog post here:

Ring in the new year with the right resolutions, and you’ll find yourself on a path to success!

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