Top 10 Steps to Student Success
at UCI

anteater in graduation attire

Welcome to UCI! Whether you are coming straight from High School, took some time between High School and UCI to explore and work, or are coming from a Community College, there will be new opportunities here, and with that some new challenges. With that in mind, our team of Undergraduate Education experts have come up with our top set of tips to help you on this new journey.

1Learn how to study smart.

A key part of your academic success is developing effective study routines. Not sure what these are? Your friendly Learning & Academic Resource Center (LARC) can help with free workshops devoted to setting academic goals, managing your time, creating effective study groups, exam prep, and how to study SMARTER. On top of that, they host tutoring sessions, reviews, and tutorials for some of the tough classes you’ll face as an incoming student.* Having trouble with writing assignments specifically? We have a writing center to help you with that too. Check them out early and get ahead of your workload.

*check out LARC’s first set of academic transition tips for incoming students, too!

2Take advantage of UCI websites packed with helpful information.

Get ahead of the game by watching the online orientation modules early that will teach you about how UCI works, what to expect in the fall, and about the amazing resources and opportunities available to you. Visit your department website to learn about specific things you need to know relevant to your major. Not sure what your major is yet? Don’t panic! The undeclared office is here for you with loads of information for newly admitted students (what to bring, orientation schedules, how to choose courses and enroll, placement test information and more).

3Get involved.

Do you know that some of the most gritty and successful people out there achieved greatness through extra curricular involvement? Joining student organizations and getting involved on campus teaches you important life skills and provides you with a sense of belonging that will help you go farther than you can imagine. Find just the right group for you by attending the Anteater Involvement Fair (9/19) and learning about more ways to get involved in student life and leadership on campus.

4Explore the Student Success office.

We can’t talk about Student Success without pointing you to the amazing Student Success Initiatives (SSI) office on campus! Here you will find helpful support systems in place for many different groups including first generation students, transfer students, international students, undocumented students, low-income students, formerly incarcerated students, former foster youth and MORE. Attend wonderful programs and get individualized help from one of SSI’s counselors. SSI is here to help you find a community and thrive academically during your time at UCI!

5Plan for internships and studying abroad.

It’s never too early to consider expanding your educational & professional growth beyond the Irvine campus. One step to do this is to explore hands-on real world opportunities via exciting internship opportunities in places like Washington, DC (UCDC), Sacramento, CA (UCCS), or even within our local community (UCI internships). You might also consider planning early for studying abroad. Attend an information session this year and speak to your academic counselors about how to fit this into your UCI plan!

6Get to know your professors.

We know that meeting with a professor sounds scary and outside of your comfort zone, but professors are here to support and mentor you. They can’t do that if they don’t know you. Every UCI professor has weekly office hours that you are welcome to drop in for and some schools even have “take your professor to lunch” programs. You don’t have to have a specific question about classwork when you meet with a professor, you can use this opportunity to tap into their knowledge of how to succeed at UCI, manage stress, study effectively, find research opportunities, or even just learn more about them. Not only will this provide you with valuable information, but this personal connection might be useful down the line when you need recommendation letters for graduate programs, internships, awards, and jobs.

7Do your own research.

Getting involved in research is one of the amazing and unique opportunities that you have at UCI, a university with very high research activity. Now when you hear “laboratory” or “research” you might imagine test tubes and lab animals, but there is also so much more. Most faculty on campus are involved with some type of research or creative activity, and they can almost always use student help. You just need to ask! Visit the office hours of a professor who does work that you are interested in, express interest, and ask whether or not they could use a research assistant. That’s often all that it takes! Then, once you get a bit of experience under your belt, you can consider crafting a project of your own. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides students with grant money for their own research and you can even apply for financial support to spend the summer on campus doing research. If getting involved with research sounds exciting to you, you might also consider investigating your departmental or campus honors programs down the line as you work towards creating something new or testing a big idea.

8Sign up for a Freshman Seminar.

UCI is a big school, and some of your classes may have hundreds of students. Freshman seminars provide an unparalleled opportunity for small groups of 15 students and a faculty member to explore a topic of mutual interest together, often with a lot of excitement and great discussion. The topics of these classes are often really unique and ones that you won’t find anywhere else on campus so don’t miss out on your opportunity to make a connection with a small group of new friends and faculty.

9Get on the right Career Path.

Already thinking about a great start-up idea? You aren’t alone! Check out the UCI ANTrepreneur center where you can meet others who want to launch a business, find funding, connect with mentors, and learn from experts on how to navigate this next step in your life. Not sure what the future holds for you? You’re not alone! Visit the campus Division of Career Pathways to explore different careers, find the right major, and learn how to land your dream job.

10Take time to take care of yourself.

It’s hard if not impossible to be successful at UCI if you don’t have good health and happiness. Fortunately, there are many places on campus that support this. Beyond visiting the student health center for all of your physical health needs like vaccinations and check ups, and working on your fitness at the Anteater Recreation Center (ARC), the UCI Center for Student Wellness & Health Promotion is infusing psychological well-being into every aspect of the campus environment. Join them for a wellness walk, a mindfulness session, a puppy cuddle during exam time, or just a moment of relaxation in one of the reservable massage chairs. And of course, if you are feeling overwhelmed and need some personal one-on-one help, consider checking out the counseling center for an array of resources.

As a final message to getting the most out of the university experience, remember: most of your learning will happen on your time and not in class! So plan accordingly. Also, be prepared to stretch yourself and explore what UCI has to offer. You never know what new passion you will discover, or what current passion will be reinforced and deepened. But to explore, you must be willing to accept failure. Not everything will work as planned, but that is both expected and necessary. It is a key way we learn. And, as you explore, do it with others! No one gets through college alone. Find people to share the experience with, support each other, and above all, have fun! These ideas are encompassed by UCI’s ANTEATER VIRTUES: curiosity, integrity, intellectual humility, and intellectual tenacity.

And with that, we wish you all the good luck this year and ZOT on! We are so happy to have you here as part of our community.