How to Succeed At University--International Edition. Danton O'Day
How to Succeed at University
Danton H. O’Day, PhD
Aldona Budniak, MSc
Copyright 2012 Danton O'Day,
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Free Advice, Free Information & Free Guidance
This is the latest edition of How to Succeed at University, written for students worldwide. As a result of collaboration with Aldona Budniak, the book is completely updated with many new and proven concepts and suggestions to help students survive and do their best at university. There is no other book that is so comprehensive. This book provides students with most, if not all, of the skills and guidance they will need to get through university with a degree of which they will be proud. It also sets the stage for future success after graduation. We’re open to any comments you might have so feel free to email us using Professor O’Day’s email address ([email protected]). Good luck!
Danton H. O’Day, PhD
Aldona Budniak, MSc
About the Authors
Professor Danton O’Day has taught introductory and advanced undergraduate courses at four different universities. While working on his Master’s degree he taught at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He also taught at two universities in the United States while working on his PhD degree: one year at the University of Delaware and the other at Lincoln University, the first historically black university. After graduating from the University of Delaware, he was hired as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto’s Erindale College in Mississauga, Ontario—now known as University of Toronto Mississauga. Over the years of teaching and doing research on teaching, Professor O’Day has learned the secrets to student success. Having written a couple of books and over a dozen booklets on studying and learning, he has now compiled this information into a single resource. This book provides that information in packets that are designed to help university students succeed.
Aldona Budniak finished her Honours Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus, where she graduated with High Distinction. Aldona continued her studies by pursuing a Master of Science degree at the same university under the supervision of Professor O’Day. She worked as a teaching assistant while completing her two-year Master’s degree. Having experience as both a student and teaching assistant at the same university, Aldona provides insight about the challenges associated with coursework from both perspectives. In particular, she offers her observations about studying for tests and exams, shares the methods that helped her succeed, and reveals what goes on “behind the scenes” during the preparation and marking of tests and assignments.
Getting Ready to Succeed
Why We Wrote this Book
The academic year begins. Around the world first-year students embark on the journey of a lifetime as they start their life at university. This journey varies from country to country but fundamentally the sequence of stages and the things that students need to know are universal. In general, students undertake three or four years of undergraduate studies to earn their Bachelor’s degrees. The fourth year is often an Honours year which consists of a research project and thesis writing in addition to coursework. Following the completion of a Bachelor's degree, some students will pursue graduate studies to earn a Master's or Doctoral degree.
Did You Know?
There is some variation in the educational systems, the degrees available, and how they are granted from country to country. In the United Kingdom, for example, undergraduate Master’s degrees are available in addition to the three- or four-year Bachelor’s degree. These integrated Master’s degrees may be completed as an alternative to an Honours Bachelor’s degree; they involve an extended programme where the final year of study is at the Master’s level but are distinct from postgraduate Master’s degrees.
Universities in some countries may adhere to completely different degree systems; however, these are being phased out in favour of conforming to international standards (i.e., a three- or four-year Bachelor’s degree). Later, we’ll talk more about how long it is actually taking students to get their undergraduate degree these days.
Did You Know?
The Bologna Process is a measure promoting reforms in European higher education. Its objective is to harmonise the higher education systems between European countries and establish a “European Higher Education Area”. One of its aims is the implementation of the “three-cycle system” of degree structure (i.e., Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate) in institutions that don’t yet have it in place. 1
Regardless of the country or the person, first-year students are almost always enthusiastic; they are excited about their new life at the university. They have great hope for academic success. But, without help or guidance, the challenges for many will be next to insurmountable. It has been well established that the first year at university is a challenge that many students cannot meet. Often as the first year begins to end, the situation is tense and students are somewhat less than enthusiastic. Where did the time go?
All of a sudden the year is over and reality has returned. Plans to acquire a Bachelor’s degree can now seem like a distant dream. Many will have failed a class or two or received bad grades that may put them at risk for dismissal from the university. They will have to face another year of some of the same classes, the same material—another year of the same things. All of this could have been avoided if the students had had some guidelines in the beginning. But it doesn’t have to be so.
That’s one reason why we wrote this book: to give incoming students a guide to success not only in their first year at university but in the years that follow. This book will spell out in black and white what you have to do to survive your first year and to continue as a successful student in subsequent years at university. It will give you advice that no one else will. There’s a second reason for this volume. We have succeeded and we want to tell you how we did it. Together we can give you the insight gained from being university students as well as the additional unique insight that years of teaching at university have given us. University can be a struggle but we believe that all incoming students can do the same. All you need is the sincere desire to succeed. After all, the university accepted you; now it’s up to you to validate that acceptance.