Path to Student Success

  1. Do the Basics:  Go to class.
    College is your new full time job:  plan to spend two hours outside of class for every hour in class.  15 semester hours = 45 hours per week.
    Go to ALL classes, arrive early or on time, and stay until the end.
    Ask questions when in doubt.
    Know the realities— usually, you only have 10 minutes to get to class and don’t have time to go back to your dorm.
    Take everything you need when you leave your dorm.
    Check your Mary Baldwin e-mail account daily.
  2. Understand and follow professional adult etiquette in the classroom.
    Do not talk when others are speaking, because you would like the same courtesy. (If you do not talk when others are speaking; they are likely to extend the same courtesy to you.)
    Turn off all cell phones, blackberries, or any devise that makes noise and distracts
    Stay tuned in: no e-mail, web surfing, texting, work or reading for other classes, sleeping, or  eating.
    Be self-reflective: know how you come across and how your behavior affects others.
  3. Be prepared.
    Check the syllabus.  Mark the assignment due dates on your calendar.
    Do the reading and be ready to discuss.
    Have your assignments ready in-class.
    The purpose of lectures is to cover what is most fundamental or difficult & to make meaningful and relevant the coolest ideas—not to read aloud then book to you.
    Make your reading active.  Write in your books.  Skim the reading, then return to read for detail. Underline main points.
    Break down complex assignments into steps—research, notes, outline, draft, edit, revise, edit.
    Turn in something for every assignment, on time.  Don’t let wanting to make it better keep you from turning an assignment in on time.
  4. Be engaged in class.
    Find connections between pieces of an assignment, between different assignments, between other classes.
    Ask questions about your reading, your assignments, about the subject matter.
    Again, turn off your cell-phone, blackberry, etc. If you take notes on a laptop avoid the temptation to multi-task and search the net.
    Engage in discussion
  5. Follow up after class.
    Review your notes within 24 hours. Re-write notes so that they will be clear later.
    Tackle assignments early.   They are easier when the information is fresh.
    Again, check the syllabus and plan ahead (for the entire term)
  6. Use all available resources.
    Check the syllabus regularly.  Expectations vary from class to class.
    The professor:  Check office hours listed on the syllabus. Ask how best to contact him/her. They are willing to help, but don’t ask them to repeat a class you didn’t attend.
    Know and use the Teaching Assistant  (in some classes)
    Tutors.  They are paid by the Learning Skills Center and are free for you.
    Learning Skills Center. The Center can help with time management, reading, note taking, and testing as well as finding peer mentors and  tutors
    Writing Center. Staff will help on writing for any class.
    Also library staff, classmates, etc.
  7. Be responsible.
    Don’t procrastinate.
    Control your time thoughtfully with a weekly schedule including designated times for reading and study, writing papers, and preparing for exams
    Follow good practices to stay healthy (eating healthy, sleeping at least seven hours @ night, not getting absorbed by TV/Facebook/virtual world)
    Use RA, Student Life Staff, the Health Center and/or Counseling Center if/when you need help.

We are here to help you succeed and get the very most out of your first year at Mary Baldwin University.


by Dr. Roderic Owen, professor of philosophy