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How Do I Maximize My Chances For Success?

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Your Academic Advisors have guided many students along their Stanford journey over the years.  Read on for our advice on how to give yourself the best possible shot at success.

Tips for Success

  1. Make good use of your advisors (even if you think you don’t need to). Your Undergraduate Advising Director is here for you. It’s always better to ask a question too early rather than too late, or even just say that you don’t know what questions to ask.
  2. Pay attention to email. Official University notices come to you via email, and your Undergraduate Advising Director will send you regular emails with information on deadlines, events, etc.
  3. Manage your time and energy well. The pace of the quarter system is very fast, and for most students it’s a big adjustment. You may have to learn how to manage all the “free” time you have, because you will probably be spending much less time in class than you did in high school. (See also How many classes should I take?) There’s a strong correlation between enough sleep and better grades, and amazingly enough, between substantial, focused study time and better grades. Academic Skills Coaching has resources on time management if that’s a challenge for you.
  4. Don't be afraid to ask for help.  The most successful students learn when and how to ask for extra support when they need it.  If you're struggling in a course, take advantage of any free tutoring resources that may be available, ask questions in office hours, and reach out to your instructor for advice.
  5. Embrace the Honor Code. It was created at the request of students to keep cheaters from ruining the value of a Stanford degree. Poor time management (the previous point) sometimes leads to the temptation to cut corners. The usual advice applies: make sure to quote and cite correctly in your papers, write your own code in CS classes (they use automated methods to flag potential instances of copying), and in general do your own work. The standard penalty for first-time offenders is a one-quarter suspension.
  6. Get to know at least one professor each quarter. Go to office hours, ask questions, find out more about what your professors do via their departmental websites, etc.
  7. Explore! There’s much more to a Stanford education than just courses. For example: Overseas Studies, Stanford in Washington, Stanford in NYC, Hopkins Marine Station, undergraduate research, music and the arts, honors programs, etc.
  8. Take advantage of Stanford’s amazing resources for academic coaching as well as your Undergraduate Advising Directors.

See Also

Return to the Advising Student Handbook