Undergraduate Student Academics

Are you feeling a little nervous about coming to a new school in a new country? That’s normal! The transition to college is challenging for all new students. If you follow these tips and take advantage of all the resources the University of Arizona has to offer, you’ll be the Global Wildcat we all know you can be!

You will receive a course plan or syllabus for each class that you take. The syllabus serves as an agreement between you and the instructor regarding what is required for the class. The syllabus contains class topics, assignment and exam dates, class rules and expectations, grading methods, instructor contact information and office hours and class room technologies.

Many instructors use a website called Desire2Learn (D2L) to post the syllabus, class readings, grades and other information. You might also use D2L to take quizzes and submit assignments. If your class uses D2L, you should log in every day to check for new information.

Many students feel like there is not enough time in the day to do everything they want. In fact, there is a lot of time, especially if you use your time wisely. The good news is that you control how you spend your time, so if you choose to do so, you can easily spend 45 hours each week on your academics and still enjoy a lot of free time. The decision is yours to make!

Tools for Time Management

A major adjustment for many new students is learning how to study for classes. As you begin your classes at the university, you may discover that the strategies and tools you used in high school do not work for your university-level coursework. Fortunately, there are a number of resources at the UA to help you to succeed.

The THINK TANK offers a variety of free and fee-based services to support your learning needs. This includes tutoring, supplemental instruction (help with specific courses), exam prep, and academic coaching.

The Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center (SALT) provides support services to students with learning and attention challenges. It also offers Life and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) coaching as additional fee-based services to students.

Your grade-point-average (GPA) is the average of the grade points earned for all units taken at the University of Arizona. Grade points are assigned to each regular grade as follows:

  • A: 4 points

  • B: 3 points

  • C: 2 points

  • D: 1 point

  • E: 0 points

To calculate your GPA, multiply by the number of grade points you received by the number of units for the course. Next, divide the sum of these products by the total number of units taken. For example, to calculate the cumulative GPA for these completed courses:

  • BIOC 182 (5 units): A

  • SOC 101 (3 units): B

  • ENGL 106 (3 units): B

  • MATH 110 (4 units): C

Multiply the units represented by each grade by the number of points for that grade:

  • A: 5 x 4 = 20 grade points

  • B: 6 x 3 = 18 grade points

  • C: 4 x 2 = 8 grade points

Total: 15 units and 46 grade points

The cumulative GPA is the sum of the grade points divided by the sum of the units. In this case: 46/15 = 3.066

Undergraduate students are considered to be making normal progress toward a degree if their cumulative GPA at the University of Arizona is 2.0 or higher.

Calculate Your Target GPA

In college courses, you’re continually engaged with other people’s ideas. You might read them in texts, hear them in lectures, discuss them in class, and incorporate them into your own writing. It’s important that you give credit where credit is due, or you risk consequences for violating the Code of Academic Integrity.

The office that enforces the Code of Academic Integrity is the Dean of Students Office. The role of the Dean of Students Office is to challenge and support students when crises or emergencies arise, or when students make poor decisions related to personal behavior and integrity. Their goal is to treat students with dignity, and provide educational interventions to allow students to successfully complete a UA degree.

Dean of Students Office: How to Avoid Academic Dishonesty

  • Read the syllabus for each course and learn each instructor’s expectations.

  • Clarify what is expected of you when you are working on a team project, in a study group or collaborative research project. Learn what you are able to submit as your own.

  • Cite your sources. If it is not your original words or ideas, give credit to the person whose words or ideas you are using. You can find guides for citing sources and free software for organizing citations at the University Libraries.

  • Submit your own work on papers, reports, projects, and tests.

  • Be cautious about where you sit during exams. Distance yourself from others, including your friends, to reduce any temptation to cheat.

  • Plan ahead for assignments and exams. Students who feel more prepared are less likely to be insecure about the information and less likely to be dishonest.

  • Do not share your assignments. If a classmate has a question, try to help, but do not “give” them the answer.

  • Do not use social media to communicate with classmates about assignments or exams.

  • Do not post your papers on websites that offer them to other students.

  • Do not use websites that offer pre-prepared papers for your own assignments.

  • Protect your computer files so that others cannot copy your work.

Communication skills are key to your success at the University of Arizona. Whether you are a native English speaker, or English is your second (or third, fourth, fifth!) language, there are a variety of resources available at the University of Arizona to help you improve your speaking and writing skills so you can participate fully inside and outside the classroom.

To help you meet your goals, the Writing Center offers free and fee-based tutoring with certified peer tutors. You don’t need to have finished your paper or have even started writing! You can go with the assignment sheet, your notes, ideas or even just questions.

The Writing Skills Improvement Program (WSIP) provides professional writing tutoring, writing groups, and editing services across all disciplines. WSIP offers regular 50-minute workshops free of charge. Workshop topics include citation formatting, research statements, resumes and CVs.

The Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) offers tutoring and fee-based evening classes on English for academic purposes, pronunciation and conversation.

Cosmopolitan Toastmasters is a public speaking club for non-native English speakers that offers a friendly, supportive environment to improve communication and presentation skills. Improve your self-confidence speaking in front of a group or when called upon, prepare for your dissertation, presentation or interview.

The University of Arizona has a lot of technology resources available for students to use! Before you go out to buy something new, check to see what is available for free or a discounted rate through the university.

Campus Technology Resources

If you transferred at least 24 credits from another school, you are considered a transfer student. After submitting official transcript(s) from your previous schools, the International Undergraduate Admissions office evaluated your credits to determine which will transfer to the university. You can transfer a maximum of 30 credits for one full year of work.

Your transfer information should be accessible to your academic advisor, who will determine if your transfer credits can apply towards graduation. When meeting with your advisor, bring course descriptions or syllabi from your institution which apply to your program here at Arizona.