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College Survival Skills Course Encourages Academic Success For New Students

University of West Florida

Entering college for the first time can definitely be an overwhelming season filled with questions regarding class schedules, finding out how to get plugged in with different campus activities, feelings of homesickness, and of course the ever changing question of what to major in.

That’s where College Survival Skills, a class long offered by many colleges and universities, including the University of West Florida, can come in handy for many first time students trying to find their feet as they get used to life as a college student.

Andrew Dupont is an academic advisor at UWF’s First Year Advising Center and also one of the teachers of the College Survival Skills Course.

“As First Year Advisers, we highly recommend it for students because it does make them more successful,” Dupont says.  “It lets them feel more comfortable and we do build a relationship with them so they can feel comfortable coming to talk to us.”

Some of the topics they’ll go over in his class are time management, what the students can expect from college, and he tries to get the students involved with their major and other students in their major as well.

One thing he says he always tries to do is make the assignments fun and get the students working in groups whenever possible, citing scavenger hunts as one means of putting this into action.  He’ll have the students try to find different Argo links, such as Argo Pulse, and also aims to get the students involved in different hobbies for themselves offered by the university.

When UWF first made its transition from a two year school to a four year university, College Survival Skills was a required course for incoming students. But since then, those rules have changed. Dupont says that was primarily as a result of fluidity and finding out what works and doesn’t work at the university. He says they have considered bringing it back as a required course, but at the time it’s still up to the students to decide whether or not they want to take it.

Credit Josh Morton
Tyrone Jones, a UWF Sophomore majoring in Biology.

Tyrone Jones, a sophomore studying biology at UWF, is one of the students who did decide to take the class.

“Taught me a lot of study techniques and stuff like that,” Jones says. “And it taught me how to budget my money when I get money, you know how it is.”

Jones says he has definitely seen and experienced the benefits of taking the course as a freshman, rather than figuring out how the different aspects of life as a college student all work on his own.

“I would recommend it. It benefits a lot. Teaches you about like, teaches how to actually budget for food, all sorts of things. Books, how to pay for your classes, how to take care of loans and stuff like that.”

One of the problems many universities face is figuring out how to keep their retention numbers up, that is, how to make sure the students graduate, rather than giving up or losing interest and dropping out before ever making it to their graduation.

Andrew Dupont says he believes that this course has a direct connection to the success rate of students at the university and considers it to be a vital part of the university’s make up.

Credit Josh Morton
First Year Advising Center

“I believe that it’s a very important part of the university,” Dupont says. “And I believe it would help retention numbers in the fact that we’re making these connections and making relationships with students as opposed to just leaving them out there on their own saying, here’s college, and you either sink or swim. With the College Survival Skills class, we help them. We teach them a little bit on how to do that.”

Currently the class is only being offered in the Fall semester for incoming freshman. For more information on the course, you can search for College Survival Skills, or SLS 1990 on www.uwf.edu, or contact the First Year Advising Center at (850) 474-3170.