Planning for Success

As the spring semester approaches, it is time to think about your next steps. Planning ahead is more than seeking a UROP or looking for a summer internship. It is evaluating your current situation by taking inventory of what is going well.

The following questions will help you assess and reflect on what has contributed to your academic achievement this fall. By tracking your progress and developing new strategies for academic excellence and balance, you are reinforcing effective practices for your ongoing success.

  • How much did your high school curriculum prepare you for your classes and the workload at MIT? If much of the coursework in fall semester was a review of your high school curriculum, then you should be prepared for the potential challenge of more difficult classes in the spring. Review the Tutoring Resources section for information on support available in various departments.
  • How structured was your time this fall? Did you follow a strict schedule or go with the flow? If you did not follow a strict schedule or need much advanced planning to do well in your classes, you should consider that future semesters will likely require more effort and careful planning.
  • What study habits have you established? Whether you studied in groups or worked independently, both collaboration with others and the ability to complete work on your own are critical. Doing practice exams, reading your text book and reviewing lecture notes are part of effective studying.
  • Did you attend office hours as well as lectures and recitations? If you went to office hours and attended lectures and recitations, then you understand their importance. Reaching out to professors and TAs during office hours and going lectures and recitations are key ways to ensure that you are on the right track. It also lets your professors know that you care about your performance in the class.
  • Did you get 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis or pull "all nighters" often? If you managed to get sufficient sleep more often than not, then you realize how getting the proper rest can contribute to your well-being. If not you did not sleep enough, you should ask yourself why this happened and what you could do differently in the spring term.
  • Have you developed a network of support and accessed resources? All students need to establish a support network that might include an academic advisor, professor, administrator or friend; the people who can provide feedback, support and encouragement. Familiarize yourself with the people and offices that are available to help you.
  • Have you decided on a major and/or clarified your academic goals? If you already know what you are going to major in, you should become acquainted with the academic department. If you have not defined your academic goals, consider the ways in which your can learn about majors that interest you. Upperclassmen, professors, alumni, and academic departments are available to help you.