Your Best Advice: A Guide to College Success

Conversations with academic advisors

Embarking on the journey of higher education can be both exhilarating and challenging. As our students navigate through the maze of academic programs, courses, and personal growth, having a trusted advisor by their side can make all the difference.

Dr. Kimberly Beyer, Assistant Director of Advising & Student Success, BCAS

BCAS has asked Dr. Kim Beyer, Assistant Director of Advising & Student Success, to share invaluable advice to set you on the path to success.

Understanding Your Academic Program

Taking Responsibility for Your Academic Record

Your academic journey is yours to navigate. Dr. Beyer emphasizes the importance of understanding your academic program early on. Take charge of your education by learning about the courses you'll take and the requirements for graduation. While your advisor is there to help, it's crucial to be proactive in planning your academic path.

Regular Interaction with Faculty

Don't hesitate to engage with your professors. Attend office hours, discuss course challenges, and seek guidance early in the semester. Connecting with faculty members and utilizing free campus resources, such as tutoring labs in math, reading and writing can enhance your learning experience.

Recognizing Different Learning Styles

College is a unique learning environment, and what worked in high school may not be as effective here. Assess your strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles regularly. Adjust your strategies each semester to meet the challenges of college-level coursework.

College is difficult and challenging at best, and it is meant to be that way. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t always get something or are having challenges with learning and studying -- but do ask for help or guidance along the way.

Proactive Registration Strategies

Your academic advisor is a valuable resource in guiding you through course selection. Make it a priority to meet with them each semester before registration opens. Proactive planning ensures you get the classes you need for a well-rounded schedule that can help lead you to a timely graduation.

Embracing Your Role as a Student

Hear from some of our First-Gen students in the Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences that have come before you – they can help you not feel alone in your experience.

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Assessing Personal Roles and Responsibilities

Recognize the various roles you play as a student, both inside and outside the classroom. Before pointing fingers or raising complaints, practice open communication to address issues promptly.

Best Advice for Student Success

Motto for Success

Dr. Beyer's success formula is simple yet powerful: Determination + Hard work + Discipline. She encourages students to explore their interests, passions, values, short and long-term goals, and career possibilities. Be inquisitive, challenge yourself daily, utilize campus resources, and strive for excellence both in and outside of the classroom.

Individual Journey and Decision-making

Avoid comparing yourself to others. Seek advice from academic mentors, not peers. Assume responsibility for your actions, be patient when seeking help, and maintain professionalism in all communication.

You can do an internship, volunteer, find a part-time job in an area of interest, add on a minor or certificate. You will be far better off at graduation time in being more marketable if you have some experience and additional specialized knowledge in your field/career interest area.

Involvement in Campus Life

College provides an opportunity to have fun, make new friends, and network with others. Getting involved in student organizations and activities is more than a pastime. It connects you with the university community, helps you learn new skills, and provides a platform to contribute to shared interests.

Advice to Your Freshman College Self

Dr. Beyer reflects on the advice she would give her freshman self. Prioritize presence in classes and advising appointments, learn to ask for help, and balance academic and personal responsibilities. Understand that grades are essential, but the experiences and lessons learned are equally valuable.

 “Be” in your classes and advising appointments. Turn off your phone (and/or computer) and focus on what and who is in front of you. Your phone can wait. If you are not focusing on what is being shared with you then you are missing out on a lot of important information and knowledge.

Best Advice Ever Received

Dr. Beyer shares the wisdom she received: success requires effort and hard work, it's okay to be undecided, find a mentor, be persistent, and take responsibility for your life and well-being.

To my freshman self: College is a time to explore and it is OK to be undecided or unsure of an academic major or career path. After all, there are so many things you can do and be in life! Don’t let the frustration overwhelm you to a point where you are frozen in making a decision. Don’t put your concern on the back burner. Make it a priority to learn more about yourself and different majors and career paths.

Talk to your advisor, Career Services, the Counseling and Testing Center, faculty, and employers early on. Consider doing some information interviews or job shadowing with employers. Do career and self-assessments that are available to you. Do career research. Participate in experiential learning opportunities.  Information is power and this can be helpful to you in your growth and making the best decision for you!

Navigating college successfully is a holistic journey that combines academic excellence, personal growth, and resilience. With the guidance of academic advisors like Dr. Kim Beyer, you can make the most of your college experience.