Layered Strategies for Academic Success

When studying for a course, consider a layered strategy that begins with you and the resources available in your course and then works outward to other potential resources for assistance.

Take charge of your learning and think about your thinking. (i.e., Leverage "metacognition.")

Students should develop the study skills and habits that work best for them as individual learners.  This varies for every student and requires considerable self-awareness.  The science of learning can be learned, and you can train your brain to adjust to new study habits or routines.  You should be striving to study a minimum of 2 hours outside of class for each hour in class, and learning how to learn at Notre Dame may require you to consider new study strategies.

  • Learn study skills and strategies to "Study Smarter Not Harder" with resources assembled by first year academic advisors and the Learning Resource Center.
  • Contact the Center for Student Support and Care regarding mentoring for academic goal setting, learning strategies, time management and organization, self-regulation, and self-efficacy.
  • Partner with the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development to assess and develop your “Career Ready Competencies” which include skills such as “Self-Awareness” and “Critical Thinking/Problem Solving” – traits both useful in class and sought by potential employers regardless of your future plans.
  • Consider Campus Ministry for help with discerning how your academic goals and your identity as a student mesh with your vocation and life choices.

Visit faculty during their office hours.

Your primary resource for academic assistance should be the faculty instructor for your course. Faculty publicize their particular availability for student visitors to their office by defining "faculty office hours." Take advantage of the office hours listed in your course syllabus and visit the professor!  They are here to help.

Meet with Teaching Assistants (TAs).

Some courses have teaching assistants, and many of these course experts are available outside of class time.  Check your syllabus to see if your course has TAs with office hours as an available option.

Form a course study group.

Studies demonstrate that fellow students are highly effective resources in the learning process.  Peer collaboration works!  With the right approach, a peer study group structures study time and builds a regular studying routine.  Discussing and thinking about course content with peers aids in the learning process.  Peer study groups also help to establish mutual accountability.  Click here for tips on forming Peer Study Groups.

Ask about resources in your dorm.

Many dorms have Academic Commissioners to help students connect with others in the same college or major.  And some dorms have students who have volunteered to assist fellow residents as tutors.  Ask your dorm’s Academic Commissioner or your Hall Council about the availability of these resources.

Navigate Notre Dame’s tutoring landscape with ATLAS.

The ATLAS Guide provides an inventory of tutoring resources at the University.  ATLAS stands for “Academic Tutoring Landscape for Advising Students."