6 Tips from an ELLWC Consultant

Welcome to the US! Whether you’ve lived here before or are brand new, there are probably some things here that are different than what you’re used to. This is especially true in college (for example, we don’t usually call it university!). This page has six pieces of advice from an ELLWC consultant that will help you succeed as a student in the American academic system and, especially, here at Miami.

Embrace Flexibility

Flexibility is very important in the US academic system. This allows you to have accessible options and to study things you are truly passionate about. You can stay here 3 years or 5. You can choose which classes to take. You can get a job, join clubs, play a sport, or all of the above. As students, we have a lot of freedom to shape our college experience into what we want it to be. It may be scary at first, but embracing flexibility helps you make sure your years at Miami live up to their full potential.

Keep Yourself Informed

It is easy to get caught up in the new, fun, and flexible college lifestyle. However, you want to make sure that you’re in good academic standing and will be ready to graduate when the time comes. Use BannerWeb to access your grades and DAR (Degree Audit Report) which lists your graduation requirements. Even if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with assignments and exams, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing your best work. Utilize free resources like the ELLWC and the Rinella Learning Center if you feel like your academic performance isn’t as good as it should be. Never be afraid to ask for help!

Talk to Your Professors

Your professors want to help you! If you have questions about your classes, your academic plan, or college in general, you should absolutely reach out to your professors. Miami is well-known for having great professors that want their students to succeed. Many also enjoy keeping in touch with their students after they have moved on from your classes; you may even get recommendation letters or job suggestions from them!

Make Connections

Professors are great people to talk to, but there are a lot of other people you can meet to build a network. Try talking to classmates, making an appointment with your academic adviser, or getting involved with a club that you’re interested in. The friends you make in college can last a lifetime! Making diverse connections is also a great way to share knowledge, get feedback on your projects, form a study group, and increase your chances of finding a job after graduation.

Take Advantage of Free Stuff

Miami offers many free resources to students to help them academically. I cannot list them all here (there are a lot of them!) but here are a few of the most important:

A free Microsoft Office account to all students. This is especially important because written online ELLWC appointments require you to upload your paper in Word format! You can use your university email to create an account and get access to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more. This is a great resource for those who do not want to pay for their own accounts! You can learn more here.

The Miami Student, which keeps the Miami community informed about goings-on around campus, the university offers free subscriptions to news sources such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Activating these subscriptions is a great way to keep informed. Visit Journalism: Home to learn more.

The Miami University libraries offer many resources for students such as research resources, technology that you can rent, personal or group study rooms, and more.

Explore Different Subjects

In other countries, it is common for students to take classes only in their area of study. This happens less frequently in the US because many colleges here are “liberal arts” universities. That means that they prepare their students for success in a wide range of subjects. For example, a student studying chemistry will also have to take history, English, etc. You should take advantage of these extra opportunities to broaden your knowledge; you might even find a brand new passion.

While the major is your main specialization, you can add another area of interest by declaring a minor or thematic sequence. You can also declare two majors or minors or change majors after you have already started as a student: the possibilities are endless!

Created by Emma LaGuardia