Ideas for Academic Success
•Take a light to average load for the first two semesters. The Department of Homeland Security requires you to register for 12 credit hours per semester. The average class load at L&C is 16 credits. Do not try more than 17 credits.
•Maintain a “balance” of courses. Do not choose three or four chemistry courses or three or four courses requiring lots of writing. Try to take one course requiring writing, one that is an activity, one that requires class discussions, etc. Never take three courses from the same department during the semester.
•Think carefully about scheduling courses. If you have trouble getting up in the morning, try for late morning classes. Don’t schedule all your classes without a break, and don’t try to have classes just on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
•Pay attention to all preregistration information and keep up to date on regulations. Read all registration materials carefully and make sure that you meet all deadlines. Read the International Students and Scholars newsletter (it will be sent to your L&C email address). Keep up to date on deadlines.
•Check your L&C email daily. Professors often send assignments via email. The Registrar also sends all registration information via your L&C email address. (You can easily forward your L&C email to your preferred email address).
•Spend much more time studying than you did in high school. The general guideline is: Spend three hours studying outside of class for every one hour spent in class. Understand that more “independent work” is necessary in college.
•Sit at the front of the class so the professor can see you and know who you are. It is also easier to hear the discussion between the professor and students if you sit at the front.
•Find out where each professor’s office is, visit, introduce yourself and tell the professor where you’re from. Doing this early in the semester makes it much easier to ask for help later.
•Visit your professors’ offices frequently, but be sure to make appointments. Professors expect you to show an interest in their class. They also expect you to come by and ask questions—especially when you are having difficulty. If you do not visit your professors, they often think you are not interested in the course.
•Be polite and respectful of professors. Do not make unreasonable requests for “extra time” on exams and assignments.
•Understand that speaking English as a Second Language is not considered a “disability” and does not entitle you to extra time or special concessions. However, the Office of Student Support Services does provide note takers for students with certified disabilities. If there is a disabled student in your class and he/she has a note taker, Student Support Services will usually provide notes for ESL students in the class.
•Listen carefully in class and take good notes. Get a classroom “partner” with whom you can review notes and assignments. If you cannot find someone willing to be a partner, ask the professor or International Student and Scholars to find someone in the class who can help.
•Use the Writing Center services—but go early. The Writing Center can help you with papers and assignments, but you need to make an appointment early. Do not wait until the day before the paper is due. That is too late. You need to go to the Writing Center as soon as the assignment is made. The staff can then help you plan the paper from the beginning.
•Do not be afraid to ask questions. Professors like to have you participate in class. If you sit without asking questions or making comments, professors will think you are not interested in their class.
•Participate in class discussions every day. Most professors expect you to participate in class discussions. Part of your final grade may be based on class participation. Talk, talk, talk. Don’t just sit and listen. In the U.S. participation is not seen as rude.
•Do not wait too long to drop a course if you are struggling. Talk with your professor and ask his/her recommendation before dropping a course. If you drop a course within the first two weeks of the term, the grade will not show on your transcript. After two weeks, the course will appear and the grade will be “W” (Withdrew). You must officially file a withdrawal through the Registrar’s Office. Keep in mind that immigration regulations require you to be a full time student; if dropping a class will put you below full time status, speak with the staff in International Students and Scholars first.
•Set up a study schedule and stick to it—or get help in doing so from International Student and Scholars.
•Learn to set priorities—do the most important work first. But, do not let one class “slide” while you are studying for another. It will only make you get further behind.
•Do not stay up all night studying for a test. Prepare ahead of time and keep up with the work.
•Ask professors if you can have copies of their notes if you are having difficulty understanding lectures. Some professors may agree, while others may not.
•Take a tape recorder with you to class and tape the lectures if you are having trouble understanding. But, ask the professor’s permission first.
•Get a tutor for the class by consulting International Student and Scholars, SAAB or your professor.
•Attend classes regularly and arrive on time. Even though you may think that your professors are not checking attendance, they probably are. Most classes are small enough for professors to know if you are absent. When you are absent, it gives your professors a bad impression and it may affect your grade.
•Realize that class lectures and textbooks do not always parallel each other. Some professors lecture from the book, while others lecture from experience and research. Tests may include information or material from both books and the lectures.
•If you are having difficulty in a class (receive a bad grade, do not understand the assignments, etc.), do not try to hide the problem. It will only get worse. Talk with your professors as soon as possible after getting a bad grade. Talk with staff members in International Students and Scholars. The staff can help by arranging for a tutor or by talking with the professor.
•Do not try to limit yourself to courses in your major. Lewis & Clark is a liberal arts college and you are expected to take a wide range of courses.
•Use the Math Center if you are having trouble with mathematics. Some departments also have special tutoring hours during which upperclassmen provide help.
•Find a good, quiet place to study and study there all the time. Do not move around from place to place to study.
•Use your study time wisely.
•If you need help in organizing your time, consult with someone. Several offices can assist you: International Students and Scholars, the Student Support Services, or the Counseling Center.
•Be committed to your education. Realize that you are investing time, energy and money into your education and you will get out of it what you put into it. Take advantage of every available resource.
•Be prepared to think, to work, and to communicate. “To think” means to synthesize ideas and to build on them; to determine what is important and why; to understand and not to memorize; to try to understand why you are learning a particular topic. “To work” means to attend every class; to do all assignments; to do extra work; to learn how to survive; and to manage time well. “To communicate” means to meet and talk with your professor regularly; to discuss issues with your classmates.
The Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS) is located in Templeton Campus Center on the Undergraduate Campus.
Director and Associate Dean of StudentsBrian White
Office of International Students and Scholars (ISS)
Lewis & Clark
0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road, MSC 192
Portland, OR 97219