Module 3 – Academic Success


World famous soccer player Pele’ once said: “Success isn’t an accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” If you want to be successful as a student, it is going to take planning, commitment and self-initiative. This is particularly important with online courses where you can’t just raise your hand to ask the professor a question. It will be up to you to do your research, plan your studies, get up on time (your mom might no longer be available to wake you) and be motivated to succeed. This unit will help you plan for academic success.

How much time do you need?

Use this calculator to determine if you have the time you need to succeed! Remember, for every credit hour you take, you need three additional hours of study to be successful. 

< 140 hours

You’re good to go! You have plenty of spare time — maybe even a bit too much!


140-154 hours

You’ll have a little spare time every day.

154-168 hours

You may want to rearrange things to give yourself a little more time to spare.

168 + hours

This is unsustainable and you should probably change something to make a bit more time.

Take Control of Your Success

No matter what course you are in, what age you are or how many credits you’re taking, research shows that students who can master the following topics have better chances of successfully completing their courses and degrees. Review these short videos on the following topics. Then master time management, organization and study habits to be that stellar student. 

Time Management

Time-management skills are crucial to being a successful student. Successful students plan their time, stay organized and on schedule, and don’t procrastinate. No matter where you live, distractions can get in your way and keep you from doing those important things.

Time-management Tips

  1. STAY ORGANIZED — Enter all your semester’s assignments, quizzes, exams and papers on a calendar (use your UA Google Calendar).
  2. DETERMINE A SCHEDULE — Set a regular schedule (same time, same place) for studying. Then stick to it.
  3. DON’T PROCRASTINATE — Do something as soon as it’s assigned.
  4. FIND YOURSELF UNPRODUCTIVE? — Keep a daily time log for two weeks to see how you are using your time (for the big rocks, small pebbles or sand described in the video below).

Consider the important things in your life right now (studying, homework, preparing for exams) by watching this video:

Important Resources

No matter if you are taking courses online, face-to-face or in a combination of both, student services and resources are designed with you in mind. Hold your cursor over these resources (or click the link) to see how they can help you.

UAF Math Lab  The Math Lab offers students free tutoring for mathematics and statistics courses. Staff are available for one-on-one tutoring for both face-to-face and online students.

Writing Center – The Writing Center offers students assistance in any phase of the writing process — planning, drafting, revising. The center also offers assistance improving grammar, mechanics and punctuation.

OIT Help Desk – No matter what your “tech” needs are, the OIT Help Desk will keep you connected. Services include desktop support, online services (UAOnline, Blackboard, UA Google Apps) and password assistance.

UAF Library – The Elmer E. Rasmuson Library offers research assistance to both on-campus as well as eCampus students. Whatever your research needs are, the state’s largest library can assist.

Atomic Learning – As a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, you have access to many educational and training tools through Atomic Learning. From planning a paper to working within a group to learning how to use MS Excel, Atomic has something for everyone.

UAF Bookstore – Your textbooks and course materials can be ordered from the UAF Follett Bookstore. 


In college, you can expect to spend at least three hours outside of the classroom studying and doing homework for every hour you spend in the classroom. For example, if you are taking a 3-credit math course (whether online or face-to-face), you should be studying and working on math assignments for 9 hours each week to be successful.

There are no “secrets to success.” Studies show that students who stay organized and plan their work will be the most successful. Know the due dates of all your assignments and exams (they will be listed on the syllabus of each course). Place them on a calendar of your choice and be sure to look a week or two ahead to make sure you schedule time to prepare.

Review the university’s Academic Calendar for other important dates.

Seek some good ways to stay organized here:

Study Skills

If you haven’t thought about how you study best or developed good study habits, now is the time. Some questions to ask yourself are: Do I need a quiet place to really concentrate? Can I really study in the dorm or at home where there are a lot of distractions? What time of the day am I most alert and able to focus?

Use these tips:

  1. DON’T CRAM FOR AN EXAM — You will retain information better if you study a little bit every day.
  2. SUMMARIZE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE — Rewrite or organize your course notes after each lecture.
  3. BREAK UP YOUR STUDY TIME — Break your big study times or big projects into small parts. Each hour, study for 45 minutes, then give yourself a 10- to 15-minute break so your brain can refuel.
  4. STAY HYDRATED — Fuel your brain with water and healthy snacks.


Ptarmigan Photo by Todd Paris

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