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Student Success Checklist

Keep your academic goals clear and focused. 

The academic support services at Dalhousie can help you realize your full potential. From before you even arrive on campus, to the day you graduate, you can count on our services and resources to help guide you through.

Steps to stay on top of your academic goals

Take time to reflect on why you're in university and what goals you hope to achieve

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Setting goals

You may want to improve your GPA or work on your writing skills. Answer the questions below to help make your goals AND plan out how you can achieve them. 

  • What is your goal?
  • When would you like to achieve this goal by?
  • What has to happen for the goal to be achieved?
  • Who can help you achieve your goal?
  • What roadblocks or obstacles could you run into and what will you do to overcome them? 
  • How will you reward yourself when you achieve your goal?

Talk to your academic advisor about your electives

Electives are a great way to challenge and learn more about yourself! They also enable you to provide balance to your studies and study a course out of personal interest - your academic advisor will know what's out there.

Familiarize yourself with and start using Brightspace

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Brightspace is Dalhousie's Learning Management System and where all of your course information will be housed each semester. Make sure to follow your grades carefully throughout the term.

Read the full syllabus for each of your classes on the first day to plan out your semester

Important information you'll find in your syllabus: 

  • Contact information for your professor
  • Your professor's office hours
  • Class information (time, location)
  • Important dates
  • Course objectives and learning outcomes
  • Evaluation criteria 
  • Required textbooks and reading information
  • Information about academic integrity
  • Student accommodation information
  • About the culture of respect at Dalhousie
  • And more

Important Tip: occasionally read your syllabus through the term to remind yourself of special resources & tips your instructors provided to help you succeed in their courses!

Contact Student Services if you require an academic accommodation

Student Services (Accessibility Services) is Dalhousie's centre of expertise for student accessibility and accommodation. Our advising team works with students who request accommodation as a result of:

  • a disability,
  • religious obligation, or
  • any barrier related to any other characteristic protected under Human Rights legislation (NS,NBPEINFLD)

Services include:

  • Information and education on accessibility and accommodation
  • Determining and facilitating classroom and exam accommodations
  • Determining and facilitating non-academic accommodations
  • Note-taking program
  • Advice on, and access to, technology supports
  • Assistance in accessing financial aid
  • Textbook scanning and/or publisher requests for PDFs
  • Referrals to on and off-campus resources and services

Pay attention to important dates for paying your tuition and adding/dropping courses

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Important academic dates, including tuition deadlines, add/drop dates, university closures and more can be found at dal.ca/dates

Learn what academic standing and academic integrity are

Academic standing:

  • determines whether you can continue your studies at Dalhousie
  • affects whether or not you can graduate
  • reflects your Grade Point Average (GPA) – posted on your academic record
  • is first assessed after you attempt 24 credit hours

Learn more about academic standing and the different types of academic standing (good standing, probation, and dismissal). 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a complex of concepts that includes ideas of ownership, scholarship and acceptable behaviour. Learning the conventions and practices of academic disciplines takes time. Learn more about academic integrity and complete the online module. 

Use the online assignment calculator to manage the time you have to complete your research pape

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Don't leave your research until the last minute.
Use the Assignment Calculator to get control of your time and organize your tasks. Simply enter the start date and due date of your assignment. 

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Start or join a study group of students in your class(es)

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Study groups are a great way to review material, ask questions, and prepare for assignments and tests. 

Once you have a group of students, there are a variety of workspaces including Learning Commons and bookable Study Rooms. 

Attend a study skills workshop on topics like effective reading strategies, short answer & essay exams, strategies for multiple choice, presentation & speaking skills, managing your time, working in a group, and concentration & memorization

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Student Success offers a number of workshops to help students improve their academic performance. 

Benefits of workshops

  • Content of workshops is directly relevant to students' performance in their academic lives
  • Workshops are offered at no additional cost to students
  • Workshops are offered in small groups
  • Individualized coaching is offered as a follow-up to or instead of workshops, at no additional cost

Get feedback on your papers at the Writing Centre before you submit them

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The Writing Centre is a great resource to help you improve your writing skills and teach you how to write independently. A few things that they can help with include: 

  • Research papers and course assignments
  • Sourcing and citing research material (documenting sources)
  • Grammar, punctuation, and mechanics of writing
  • In-class presentations
  • Business writing
  • Applications/letters of intent for admission and scholarships
  • Collaborative/joint writing practices
  • Interdisciplinary writing
  • Technical writing: Science and Engineering
  • English as Another Language (ESL/EAL) support (English Language Learning)

Meet with an academic advisor to create an educational plan, discuss your courses, major, minor, and career options

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Academic Advising provides program advising, academic planning - which may include accommodations - and personal coaching, to help you reach your educational, career and life goals.

Academic Advisors can help you:

  • clarify your education and career goals
  • explore programs 
  • choose courses that relate to your goals and interests
  • address concerns about your studies
  • develop strategies for academic success from first-year to graduation
  • identify skill-building opportunities
  • problem-solve if you are struggling in school
  • explore academic options when faced with personal/family emergency
  • determine appropriate accommodations support when required
  • determine where to go for additional information

Get one-on-one tutoring to understand specific course content and prepare for tests and exams

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Student Success can help to match you with a tutor!

Tutors:

  • explore methods to capture the most pertinent details from lectures and textbooks
  • help you define your preferred learning style and offer complementing study techniques
  • guide your development and application of an effective study strategy
  • provide useful tips on the best way to prepare for exams
  • refer you to appropriate academic support services as needed

Get help accessing journal articles and doing research at the McRae Library – the staff there will help you with your references and citations

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Visit the McRae Library for research advice and assistance, and help with your citations and references. 

Discuss opportunities to become involved in initiatives, research projects, clubs, and student societies with professors in your department

Your professors' office hours aren't just for asking about your class and assignments. Stop by and ask about their research or if they know of any opportunities to get involved in your department. 

Pick up a free agenda from DASA (Cox 32)

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Agendas are a great way to keep track of your assignments and deadlines, and to help you manage your time!