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Tips for Students 

Study Tips

The brain appreciates getting an overview of the material before plunging right in and loves regular review of course material.

  • Always hook new information to something familiar
  • Break up study time; never study for longer than 30-40 minutes at a sitting
  • Break up big study tasks into smaller ones
  • Do your most difficult studying when you are at your peak performance level
  • Conduct a review before you go to sleep; let your brain know that you have learned well today so it can sleep peacefully
  • Generally need to study at least 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class
  • Students should review class notes and text material regularly (Hint:  Use the time between classes carefully)
  • Substantial amounts of assigned reading and writing may not be directly addressed in class.  It's up to you to read and understand assigned material.

A positive outlook
Negative thinking produces an excess of stress hormones which can lead to illness, depression, and lowered mental acuity. Positive thinking protects your health, your thinking ability and your relationships.

Use of resources
You are not alone. Use any resource that provides help, support or relief. Your brain works best when you take care of your needs.

Take care of yourself
Adequate sleep, adequate exercise, a good diet, and free time for fun and relaxation will help you to perform optimally.


What to Expect in College


  • Classes are based on field of study and general education class requirements may vary.
  • Academic year is divided into two separate 15 week semesters plus a week for final exams.  Courses are offered fall, spring, summer, and winterim semesters.
  • Attendance policies may vary with each instructor.  Some professors may not formally take roll.  Lack of attendance may impact performance.
  • Classes may have 30 -100 or more students.
  • UW-Eau Claire textbooks are signed out but some may need to be purchased.  Textbooks are returned at the end of each semester; they may be purchased if you choose to.
  • Graduation requirements are complex and vary for different fields of study.  Your adviser will assist you.
  • You arrange your own schedule in consultation with your academic adviser.


  • Read, save, and refer back to the course syllabus which is your way of knowing exactly what is expected of you, when assignments are due, and how you will be graded.  It’s your responsibility to check with your instructor to see if requirements are being met. 
  • Instructors are usually open and helpful, but expect students to initiate contact when assistance is needed.
  • Instructors expect students to get missed information from classmates or online.
  • Instructors may not follow the textbook, but lectures enhance the topic. (Hint: You need to connect lectures and textbook.)
  • Instructors may lecture nonstop. If they write on the board, it may be to support the lecture, not summarize it. A powerpoint may be available on the web.
  • Instructors expect students to think independently and connect seemingly unrelated information.

Computer Literacy

Word processing is a necessary skill for all college students. Most instructors will not accept papers if they aren't typed. In addition to word processing, learning to use email and the internet is critical for college students. UWEC offers free basic computer training classes to students.


  • Testing is usually infrequent (2-3 times a semester). May be cumulative and cover large amounts of material.  Some classes may require only papers and/or projects instead of tests.
  • Make-up tests are seldom an option and must be requested.
  • Faculty may offer review sessions; if not, students are expected to be prepared on their own, or find study groups.


  • Grades my not be provided for all assigned work.
  • Tests and major papers provide the majority of the grade. Class attendance and participation may be used.
  • Generally speaking, extra-credit options are not used to raise a grade.
  • First tests are often "wake up" calls to let you know what is expected. They may account for a substantial part of your final grade. Contact the instructor, academic adviser, or student accessibility personnel early in the semester if you do poorly.


Tips for Successful Students


It is never too late to follow a dream. You won't be alone. At UW-Eau Claire there are approximately 800 nontraditional students like you here each semester. Go for it!

Remember, you are seeking to improve your situation through education.  The best gift you can give yourself and your family is an education.  Most will agree the sacrifices made were worth the effort with your diploma in hand.

An academic adviser will advise you of specific courses you must take, and know all about your major requirements for graduation.  They can help you find internships, serve as a reference when you apply for a job, and are often available to provide personal advice.  The UWEC Nontraditional Student Adviser is an excellent resource for you, in addition to your academic adviser.

The first semester is going to be tough and it will take you a while to get your bearings. Don’t get discouraged.  You will soon have a routine, your family will have adjusted, and you will be on your way to achieving your dream. Consider enrolling in Gen 100: Intro to the University for Adult Students to help you get off to a good start.


Final Tips

The following tips come from continuing adult students who wish they had known then what they know now...

  • Locate your classrooms before the first day of classes.  The buildings can be confusing inside; walk through your schedule ahead of time.
  • Learn to jump hoops.  Some things on campus require paperwork, which can be confusing.  Be patient and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
  • You can wear just about anything and feel comfortable, from suits to jeans.
  • Become acquainted with at least one person in each class, or at least get a name and phone number or email address for a classmate.  In case you miss a class you can retrieve lecture notes.
  • Find and utilize your support system!
  • Sit in front of the classroom.  You'll be amazed how it helps to keep your attention focused.
  • Determine your best time of day to study and schedule in study time.
  • Learn how to use the library.  If you do not take English 110 (or 112 for Transfer students) or if your class instructor does not show you how to use the library, consider taking LMED 100, How to Use the Library, for 1 credit.  The library also has great tutorials available to download on their website.
  • Learn how to use your campus email and check it daily!
  • Practice good time management.  Study on campus if at all possible. There are fewer distractions.
  • Read required text assignments before class.  Lecture will make more sense for you.
  • Take care of yourself with proper rest, healthy eating, planning your schedule wisely, and scheduling in time for YOU!
  • Read the school newspaper, The Spectator.  Free copies are available in several sites around campus.
  • Read bulletin boards.  You will be surprised at the amount of information they contain.
  • If you need it, get help EARLY in the semester.  Call Nontraditional Student Services at 715-836-3259 or the Academic Skills Center at 715-836-5844 to discuss your academic support needs.
  • If you need on-campus child care, reserve a space as early as possible at the UWEC Children's Center.
  • Visit your professors in their offices.  Let them know who you are.  Should you need a special accommodation, make this request at an individual meeting with your professor in his/her office.  Asking in class can really put the professor on the spot.
  • Hang out in the Oasis or join a student organization or an honor society to get involved.
  • Free and low-cost workshops are available throughout the year on a wide range of topics from learning how to use e-mail to researching careers.  Watch for email announcements from NSS.
  • A Campus Directory with staff and student phone numbers and email addresses is available online.
  • If you're not happy with your schedule, change it if necessary!  Talk with the instructor, your academic adviser, or the NSS adviser.  Check the tuition refund timeline in the Financial Aid or Registration Offices.
  • Be aware of all drop and withdrawal deadlines.  If you need to get out of a course, make sure you do the paperwork required.  Check online for important dates, including information on final exams.
  • Attend class!  You miss out on a lot, even if you miss only one class.
  • If you must miss class for several sessions (illness, emergencies, etc.), contact the Dean of Students office in Schofield 240, 836‑2624, and they will contact your instructors for you.
  • Tuition costs no more to take more than 12 credits.  If you take 12+ credits you will only pay for 12 credits.
  • A university education can be a rich and fulfilling experience. You only get out of something what you put into it.
  • Be proud of yourself for choosing to attend school. That alone is an accomplishment in itself!
  •  Take advantage of as much of it as you can and enjoy the experience!
  • Always remember your goal; why you are in school and your motivation to do it.