Courtenay Jauregui
Education, Higher Education
Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division
  • Austin Community College
  • EDUC
  • Effective Learning Strategies
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    Chapter 2: Set Yourself Up for Success

    Chapter 2: Set Yourself Up for Success



    By the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

    • Define what success means to you.
    • Describe the qualities of a successful college student.
    • Compare and contrast a Growth Mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset.
    • Understand the concept of Self-Efficacy and how to apply it to your college success.
    • Identify campus resources to support your success.
    • Understand the principles of academic integrity.

    Set Yourself Up for Success

    Set Yourself Up for Success

    What Is Success?

    Personal Responsibility for Success

    A college education is aligned with greater success in many areas of life. While enrolled in college, most students are closely focused on making it through the next class or passing the next test. It can be easy to lose sight of the overall role that education plays in life. But sometimes it helps to recall what a truly great step forward you are taking!

    It’s also important to recognize, though, that some students do not succeed in college and drop out within the first year. Sometimes this is due to financial problems or a personal or family crisis. But most of the time students drop out because they’re having trouble passing their courses.

    In this section, we examine the elements of college success. Are there patterns of success you strive for but aren’t yet reaching? Where might you shore up your support? What strategies can you use to achieve success in your college endeavors?

    Defining Success in College

    How do you define college success? The definition really depends on you. You might think that “success” is earning an associate’s degree or attending classes in a four-year college. Maybe success is a bachelor’s or master’s degree or a Ph.D. Maybe success means receiving a certificate of completion or finishing skill-based training.

    You might be thinking of other measures of college success, too, like grades. For instance, you might be unhappy with anything less than an A in a course, although maybe this depends on the difficulty of the subject. As long as you pass with a C, you might be perfectly content. But no matter how you define success personally, you probably wouldn’t think it means earning a D or lower grade in a class.

    If most students believe that passing a class is the minimum requirement for “success,” and if most students want to be successful in their courses, why aren’t more college students consistently successful in the classroom?

    Perhaps some common misconceptions are at play. For example, we often hear students say, “I just can’t do it!” or “I’m not good at math,” or “I guess college isn’t for me.” But, these explanations for success or failure aren’t necessarily accurate. Considerable research into college success reveals that having difficulty in or failing in college courses usually has nothing to do with intellect. More often success depends on how fully a student embraces and masters the following seven strategies:

    1. Learn how to listen actively in class and take effective notes.
    2. Review the text and your reading notes prior to class.
    3. Participate in class discussion and maybe even join a study group.
    4. Go to office hours and ask your instructor questions.
    5. Give yourself enough time to research, write, and edit your essays in manageable stages.
    6. Take advantage of online or on-campus academic support resources.
    7. Spend sufficient time studying.

    So if you feel you are not smart enough for college, ask yourself if you can implement some of these skills. Overall, students struggle in college, not because of natural intellect or smarts, but because of time management, organization, and lack of quality study time. The good news is that there are ways to combat this, and this course and textbook will help you do just that.

    How Grades Play a Role in Shaping Success

    In a recent online discussion at a student-support Web site, a college freshman posted the following concern about how serious they should be about getting good grades:

    As a first semester freshman, I really have taken my education seriously. I’ve studied and done my homework nightly and have read all of the assignments. So far, I have all A’s in my classes, including calculus and programming. Now, with a month left to go in the semester, I feel myself slipping a bit on my studies. I blow off readings and homework more to go out at night during the week and I’ve even skipped a few classes to attend major sporting events. I also travel most weekends to visit my girlfriend. Still, I’ve gotten A’s on the exams even with these less extensive study habits, although not as high as before. So, my question really is this. Should I just be content with low A’s and B’s and enjoy myself during college, or should I strive to achieve all A’s?

    How would you answer this student’s question, given what you know and sense about college life? Grades do matter to your success, right? Or . . . do they? The answer depends on who you ask and what your college and career goals are. Consider these additional factors:

    • Undergraduate grades have been shown to have a positive impact on getting full-time employment in your career in a position appropriate to your degree.
    • Grades also have been shown to have a positive net impact on your occupational status and earnings.
    • Getting good grades, particularly in the first year of college, is important to your academic success throughout your college years.
    • Grades are probably the best predictors of your persistence, your ability to graduate, and your prospects for enrolling in graduate school.

    You stand to gain immeasurably when you get good grades.

    Understanding Your Grade-Point Average (GPA)

    Grades may not be the be-all and end-all in college life but, you should pay close attention to the GPA as it may be important to achieving your future goals. GPA is often an important criterion when applying for scholarships, specialized academic programs, internships, and transferring to a college or university. 

    grade point average is a number representing the average value of the accumulated final grades earned in courses over time. More commonly called a GPA, a student’s grade point average is calculated by adding up all accumulated final grades and dividing that figure by the number of credit hours awarded. This calculation results in a mathematical mean—or average—of all final grades. The most common form of GPA is based on a 0 to 4.0 scale (A = 4.0, B = 3.0, C = 2.0, D = 1.0, and F = 0), with a 4.0 representing a “perfect” GPA—or a student having earned straight As in every course. 

    Collin College uses a standard letter grade system. When you finish your course, your instructor submits a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F that will then appear on your transcript. You can use this online GPA calculator to determine your GPA based on your grades and the number of credit hours for each course. You can check your official grades in Cougarweb by viewing your Unofficial Transcript. 

    The following are two examples of semester GPAs at Collin. Please note how the number of credit hours of a course affects the points earned. For example, the first student has two classes that are each three credit hours (EDUC 1300 and ENGL 1301) and two classes that are four credit hours (BIOL 1408 and MATH 1414), for a total of 14 credit hours.  The second student is also taking four classes but they are all three credit hour courses, for a total of 12 credit hours.

    CourseFinal GradeNumerical EquivalentCredit HoursPoints Earned
    EDUC 1300A4312
    ENGL 1301B339
    BIOL 1309C248
    MATH 1414A4416
    GPA=Points Earned divided by Credit Hours GPA = 3.21


    CourseFinal GradeNumerical EquivalentCredit HoursPoints Earned
    EDUC 1300A4312
    ENGL 1301B339
    BIOL 1408C236
    PSYC 2301A4312
    GPA=Points Earned divided by Credit Hours GPA = 3.25

    Each instructor has their own grading criteria for what constitutes an A, B, C, etc. Check your syllabus carefully to find this information. Some instructors issue an A for a grade average of 90% or higher while others will issue an A for an 89.5% or higher.  Other instructors may use a point system to determine final grades. For example, 450 out of 500 points is an A, etc. Be sure to read each syllabus carefully so you understand how your final grade for each course is determined.

    In addition to letter grades, there are also Incompletes and Withdrawals. Students may request an Incomplete (I) due to extenuating circumstances that prevented them from completing the course work per the schedule. It is at the discretion of the instructor and the instructor's associate dean to determine whether to approve or deny the request. As a general rule, students must have completed 70-80% of the coursework and be in good academic standing in the course prior to the request of an Incomplete. Students who receive an Incomplete will need to fulfill the requirements of the Incomplete contract as determined by agreement between the instructor and the student. If an Incomplete is not completed and resolved with a letter grade by the deadline, the I will automatically convert to an F. 

    Students have the option of a Course Withdrawal, resulting in a W on their transcript. Students should always check with an advisor before withdrawing as there are potential consequences that may affect academic standing, financial aid, military benefits, etc. Instructors may also withdraw a student from a course due to poor attendance, missing assignments, etc. This also results in a W on the transcript.

    Words of Wisdom

    It is important to know that college success is a responsibility shared with your institution. Above all, your college must provide you with stimulating classroom experiences that encourage you to devote more time and effort to your learning. Additional institutional factors in your success include the following:

    • High standards and expectations for your performance
    • Assessment and timely feedback
    • Peer support
    • Encouragement and support for you to explore human differences
    • Emphasis on your first college year
    • Respect for diverse ways of knowing
    • Integrating prior learning and experience
    • Academic support programs tailored to your needs
    • Ongoing application of learned skills
    • Active learning
    • Out-of-class contact with faculty[1]

    Ideally, you and your college collaborate to create success in every way possible. The cooperative nature of college life is echoed in the following practical advice from a college graduate, recounted in Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom:

    Professors do care about how you are doing in their class; they genuinely want you to succeed, but they will give you the grade you earn. There are people and resources on campus for you to utilize so you can earn the grade you want. Your professors are one of those resources, and are perhaps the most important. Go see them during office hours, ask them questions about the material and get extra help if you need it . . . Another resource to utilize can be found in the campus learning center . . . The first time I took a paper there, I recall standing outside the door for about ten minutes thinking of an excuse not to go in. Thankfully I saw a classmate walk in and I followed suit . . . Thanks to that first visit, I received an A- on the paper!

    Characteristics Of Successful Students

    Please take this quiz about successful students

    As you can see from the above quiz, it takes several qualities and habits to be successful in college.

    When we think about going to college, we think about learning a subject deeply, getting prepared for a profession.  We tend to associate colleges and universities with knowledge, and we’re not wrong in that regard.

    But going to college, and doing well once we’re there, also relies heavily on our behaviors while we’re there.  Professors and college administrators will expect you to behave in certain ways, without any explicit instructions on their part.  For instance, professors will expect you to spend several hours a week working on class concepts (homework, writing, preparing for exams) on your own time.  They will not tell you WHEN to spend those hours, but leave it up to you to recognize the need to put in the effort and schedule the time accordingly.

    Consider this short video from Richard St. John, who spent years interviewing people who reached the top of their fields, across a wide range of careers.  He traces the core behaviors that were common to all of these successful people and distill them down into 8 key traits.

    Secrets of success in 8 words, 3 minutes | Richard St. John

    To recap, those eight traits are: Passion, Work, Good Focus, Push, Serve, Ideas, and Persist

    All eight traits are things that you can put into practice immediately.  With them, you’ll see improvement in your school successes, as well as what lies beyond.

    Keys to Success

    According to Tobin Quereau, a long-time professor of student success courses at Austin Community College, there are Seven Keys to College Success.  You can build a strong foundation for college success by implementing the following seven behaviors:

    1. Show Up

    • Be present mentally and physically for EVERY class.
    • Pay attention to your attention so that you stay focused during class and while studying rather than becoming distracted or daydreaming.
    • Establish a consistent, regular study schedule that takes priority over other activities.

    2. Be Prepared

    • Develop an accurate, realistic picture of your academic strengths, weaknesses, skills and behaviors so that you know where to put your attention and how to do your best work.
    • Make a personal commitment to have ALL of your reading and studying done prior to each class and turn ALL of your assignments in ON TIME.
    • Look ahead prior to each class to see what will be covered and skim relevant chapters of the textbook so that you can take more effective notes during class.

    3. Manage Your Time, Your Life, and Your Stress Levels Effectively

    • Make school a priority and keep a good balance between school, work, friends, and family.
    • Don’t let immediate pleasures get in the way of important long-term tasks.
    • Have back-up plans in place in case the unexpected happens.

    4. Put in the Effort

    • Learning, like life, is not easy or automatic, you will need to work hard to get ahead. Plan on several hours of reading and study for each class each week to do well.
    • Be an active learner by studying regularly and learning as you go instead of putting it off until right before the exam.
    • Use effective strategies for deeper, more lasting learning rather than just memorization.

    5. Stay Motivated

    • Be clear about the reasons you are here and what you can gain from continuing your education now and throughout your life.
    • Set some realistic academic goals for each day and week and monitor your progress on them.
    • Make a personal commitment to stay on course even when the going gets tough.

    6. Seek Assistance Whenever Needed

    • You are here to learn, but you don’t need to do it alone. Make use of all the available resources: your instructors, the Learning Lab tutors, study groups, advising, etc.
    • When crisis strikes and life feels overwhelming, stay in touch with your instructor and get support from the free counseling services rather than just giving up and disappearing.

    7. Finally, Learn from Everything!

    • When you succeed in learning and getting good grades, pay attention to what helped and keep doing those things.
    • And when things don’t turn out as you would like, figure out what went wrong or got in the way and make appropriate changes.
    • You are responsible for your successes in life and you can improve your performance with committed effort and persistence, so give it your best and keep on learning!

    Growth Mindset Vs. Fixed Mindset

    What is the difference between a student with a growth mindset versus a student with a fixed mindset?  Students with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed. These students focus on learning over just looking smart, see effort as the key to success, and thrive in the face of a challenge. On the other side, students with a fixed mindset believe that people are born with a certain amount of intelligence, and they can’t do much to change that. These students focus on looking smart over learning, see effort as a sign of low ability, and wilt in the face of a challenge.

    Carol Dweck, author of the 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, defined both fixed and growth mindsets:

    “In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”

    Which student do you think has more success in college? Think about this statement: You can learn new things, but you can’t really change your basic intelligence. People who really agree with this statement have a fixed mindset. People who really disagree with this statement have a growth mindset, and, of course, people might be somewhere in the middle.

    It turns out that the more students disagree with statements like these, the more they have a growth mindset, the better they do in school. This is because students with a growth mindset approach school differently than students with a fixed mindset. They have different goals in school. The main goal for students with a fixed mindset is to show how smart they are or to hide how unintelligent they are. This makes sense if you think that intelligence is something you either have or you don’t have.

    Students with a fixed mindset will avoid asking questions when they don’t understand something because they want to preserve the image that they are smart or hide that they’re not smart. But the main goal for students with a growth mindset is to learn. This also makes a lot of sense. If you think that intelligence is something that you can develop, the way you develop your intelligence is by learning new things. So students with a growth mindset will ask questions when they don’t understand something because that’s how they’ll learn. Similarly, students with a fixed mindset view effort negatively. They think, if I have to try, I must not be very smart at this. While students with a growth mindset view effort as the way that you learn, the way that you get smarter.

    Where you’ll really see a difference in students with fixed and growth mindsets is when they are faced with a challenge or setback. Students with a fixed mindset will give up because they think their setback means they’re not smart, but students with a growth mindset actually like challenges. If they already knew how to do something, it wouldn’t be an opportunity to learn, to develop their intelligence.

    Given that students with a growth mindset try harder in school, especially in the face of a challenge, it’s no surprise that they do better in school.

    Students with a growth mindset view mistakes as a challenge rather than a wall. Many students shy away from challenging schoolwork and get discouraged quickly when they make mistakes. These students are at a significant disadvantage in school—and in life more generally—because they end up avoiding the most difficult work. Making mistakes is one of the most useful ways to learn. Our brains develop when we make a mistake and think about the mistake. This brain activity doesn’t happen when we get the answers correct on the first try. 

    What’s wrong with easy? According to Dweck, “it means you’re not learning as much as you could. If it was easy, well, you probably already knew how to do it.”

    Watch this supplemental video, Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck, to understand more about how you can develop your own Growth Mindset.

    Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck

    And, remember, You Can Learn Anything!

    You Can Learn Anything

    Supplemental Activity – Check Your Growth Mindset

    Take this quick assessment to learn about your own mindset. 


    A concept that was first introduced by Albert Bandura in 1977, Self-efficacy is the belief that you are capable of carrying out a specific task or of reaching a specific goal (Bandura, 1977). Note that the belief and the action or goal are specific. Self-efficacy is a belief that you can write an acceptable term paper, for example, or repair an automobile, or make friends with the new student in the class. These are relatively specific beliefs and tasks. Self-efficacy is not about whether you believe that you are intelligent in general, whether you always like working with mechanical things, or think that you are generally a likable person. Self-efficacy is not a trait—there are not certain types of people with high self-efficacies and others with low self-efficacies (Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998). Rather, people have self-efficacy beliefs about specific goals and life domains. For example, if you believe that you have the skills necessary to do well in school and believe you can use those skills to excel, then you have high academic self-efficacy.

    Self-efficacy may sound similar to a concept you may be familiar with already—self-esteem—but these are very different notions. Self-esteem refers to how much you like or “esteem” yourself—to what extent you believe you are a good and worthwhile person. Self-efficacy, however, refers to your self-confidence to perform well and to achieve in specific areas of life such as school, work, and relationships. Self-efficacy does influence self-esteem because how you feel about yourself overall is greatly influenced by your confidence in your ability to perform well in areas that are important to you and to achieve valued goals. For example, if performing well in athletics is very important to you, then your self-efficacy for athletics will greatly influence your self-esteem; however, if performing well in athletics is not at all important to you, then your self-efficacy for athletics will probably have little impact on your self-esteem.

    Self-efficacy beliefs are not the same as “true” or documented skill or ability. They are self-constructed, meaning that they are personally developed perceptions. There can sometimes be discrepancies between a person’s self-efficacy beliefs and the person’s abilities. You can believe that you can write a good term paper, for example, without actually being able to do so, and vice versa: you can believe yourself incapable of writing a paper, but discover that you are in fact able to do so. In this way, self-efficacy is like the everyday idea of confidence, except that it is defined more precisely. And as with confidence, it is possible to have either too much or too little self-efficacy. The optimum level seems to be either at or slightly above true capacity (Bandura, 1997).

    Self-efficacy beliefs are influenced in five different ways (Bandura, 1997), which are summarized below.



    Performance Experiences

    When you do well and succeed at a particular task to attain a valued goal, you usually believe that you will succeed again at this task. When you fail, you often expect that you will fail again in the future if you try that task.

    Vicarious Performances

    If someone who seems similar to you succeeds, then you may believe that you will succeed as well.

    Verbal Persuasion

    This involves people telling you what they believe you are and are not capable of doing. Not all people will be equally persuasive.

    Imaginal Performances

    What you imagine yourself doing and how well or poorly you imagine yourself doing it.

    Affective States and Physical Sensations

    When you associate negative moods and negative physical sensations with failure, and positive moods and sensations with success.

    These five primary influencers of self-efficacy take many real-world forms that almost everyone has experienced. You may have had previous performance experiences affect your academic self-efficacy when you did well on a test and believed that you would do well on the next test. A vicarious performance may have affected your athletic self-efficacy when you saw your best friend skateboard for the first time and thought that you could skateboard well, too. Verbal persuasion could have affected your academic self-efficacy when a professor that you respect told you that you could get into the college of your choice if you worked hard at community college. It’s important to know that not all people are equally likely to influence your self-efficacy through verbal persuasion. People who you trust and respect are more likely to influence your self-efficacy than those you do not. Imaginal performances are an effective way to increase your self-efficacy. For example, imagine yourself doing well on a job interview may actually lead to more effective interviewing. Affective states and physical sensations abound when you think about the times you have given presentations in class. For example, you may have felt your heart racing while giving a presentation. If you believe your heart was racing because you had just had a lot of caffeine, it likely would not affect your performance. If you believe your heart was racing because you were doing a poor job, you might believe that you cannot give the presentation well. This is because you associate the feeling of anxiety with failure and expect to fail when you are feeling anxious.

    Consider academic self-efficacy in your own life. Do you think your own self-efficacy has ever affected your academic ability? Do you think you have ever studied more or less intensely because you did or did not believe in your abilities to do well? Did you skip math homework or not turn in a paper because you thought you weren't going to do well on it? Students who believe in their ability to do well academically tend to be more motivated in school (Schunk, 1991). When students attain their goals, they continue to set even more challenging goals, which can lead to better performance in school in terms of higher grades and taking more challenging classes. For example, students with high academic self-efficacies might study harder because they believe that they are able to use their abilities to study effectively. Because they studied hard, they receive an A on their next test. 

    One question you might have about self-efficacy and academic performance is how a student’s actual academic ability interacts with self-efficacy to influence academic performance. The answer is that a student’s actual ability does play a role, but it is also influenced by self-efficacy. Students with greater ability perform better than those with lesser ability. But, among a group of students with the same exact level of academic ability, those with stronger academic self-efficacies outperform those with weaker self-efficacies. 


    Campus Resources For Success

    There are many resources available at Collin College committed to helping you succeed during your time here and beyond.  Being familiar with these resources, and be committed to using them when needed, is essential to your success. You may not need them right away; some you may not need at all. But you will at least find several to be vital. Be familiar with your options. Know where to find the services. Have contact information. Be prepared to visit for help. Use the following links to learn more about the services available at Collin to support your success. A more comprehensive list can be found on Collin's website: Student Resources at Collin College.

    Support and Services

    Academic Advising

    Academic advisors will help you select your classes, stay on track for your degree program, and make decisions about your educational and career goals. They can help you:

    • Review your degree progress before each registration period.
    • Explore degree programs and areas of study, as well as transfer and career options.
    • Learng more about degree programs and career options.

    Career Center

    The Career Center provides career guidance, resources, and programs to help students strengthen academic and career goals, establish career plans, and make successful career transitions. They can assistant with your resume, cover letter, and interview skills. 

    Counseling Services

    Collin College Counselors are licensed professionals with Master's or Doctoral degrees who have been trained to provide guidance and potential solutions to emotional and psychological difficulties. They offer services and programs across the district to foster life balance, develop personal and academic growth, and help maintain a safe and healthy learning environment.


    The ACCESS (Accommodations at Collin College for Equal Support Services) Office provides support to eliminate barriers. They offer a variety of services that offer equal opportunities for qualified students with a disability. Once you qualify for services, Accessibility Services staff meets with you to determine reasonable, appropriate, and effective accommodations based on the courses in which are enrolled and your disability.

    Veterans Resources

    The Veterans Resource Centers coordinate college-wide services to connect military-affiliated students, with on-campus and community resources to ensure a smooth transition into college life and to foster academic success.  Services range from providing information about admissions, academics, financial aid, and VA education benefits to advocacy and resource referral.

    Center for Academic Assistance

    The Anthony Peterson Center for Academic Assistance provides free learning support to students and community members. Services including subject-specific tutoring, Writing Center, Math Lab,  and Science Den. Both virtual and on-campus options are available.

    Library Services

    Library Services offer a variety of support and services to students, including research assistance, study rooms, and the popular "Ask a Librarian" online option. 

    Student Engagement

    The Student Engagement Office is the center for out-of-classroom activities on every Collin College campus and throughout the District. Participating in co-curricular activities helps you gain valuable leadership skills that complement your academic work and enrich your college experience. In addition, Student Engagement issues student id's and serves as the "Lost and Found" location for each campus. 

    Intramural Sports/Fitness Centers

    Intramural programming is offered in various sports. Campus fitness centers are free for students and help promote a healthier lifestyle.  

    Financial Aid and Scholarship Opportunities

    Collin's low tuition rates and financial aid options make college a possibility for thousands of students each year. Information about paying for your education at Collin, including scholarships and loans, can be found here.


    Practicing Academic Integrity


    I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating. —Sophocles

    At most educational institutions, “academic honesty” means demonstrating and upholding the highest integrity and honesty in all the academic work that you do. In short, it means doing your own work and not cheating, and not presenting the work of others as your own.

    The following are some common forms of academic dishonesty prohibited by most academic institutions:


    Cheating can take the form of cheat sheets, looking over someone’s shoulder during an exam, or any forbidden sharing of information between students regarding an exam or exercise. Many elaborate methods of cheating have been developed over the years—storing information in graphing calculators, checking cell phones during bathroom breaks, using apps like Chegg to complete your homework or a take-home exam, using online solutions, etc.  Cheating differs from most other forms of academic dishonesty, in that people can engage in it without benefiting themselves academically at all. For example, a student who illicitly telegraphed answers to a friend during a test would be cheating, even though the student’s own work is in no way affected.


    Deception is providing false information to an instructor concerning an academic assignment. Examples of this include taking more time on a take-home test that is allowed, giving a dishonest excuse when asking for a deadline extension, or falsely claiming to have submitted work.


    Fabrication is the falsification of data, information, or citations in an academic assignment. This includes making up citations to back up arguments or inventing quotations. Fabrication is most common in the natural sciences, where students sometimes falsify data to make experiments “work” or false claims are made about the research performed.


    Plagiarism, as defined in the 1995 Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary, is the “use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”[1] In an academic setting, it is seen as the adoption or reproduction of original intellectual creations (such as concepts, ideas, methods, pieces of information or expressions, etc.) of another author (whether an individual, group, or organization) without proper acknowledgment. This can range from borrowing a particular phrase or sentence to paraphrasing someone else’s original idea without citing it. Today, in our networked digital world, the most common form of plagiarism is copying and pasting online material without crediting the source.

    Common Forms of Plagiarism

    According to “The Reality and Solution of College Plagiarism” created by the Health Informatics department of the University of Illinois at Chicago, there are ten main forms of plagiarism that students commit:

    1. Submitting someone else’s work as their own.
    2. Taking passages from their own previous work without adding citations (submitting a paper you previously wrote for another class or another assignment.)
    3. Rewriting someone’s work without properly citing sources.
    4. Using quotations, but not citing the source.
    5. Interweaving various sources together in the work without citing.
    6. Citing some, but not all passages that should be cited.
    7. Melding together cited and uncited sections of the piece.
    8. Providing proper citations, but failing to change the structure and wording of the borrowed ideas enough.
    9. Inaccurately citing the source.
    10. Relying too heavily on other people’s work. Failing to bring original thought into the text.

    As a college student, you are now a member of a scholarly community that values other people’s ideas. In fact, you will routinely be asked to reference and discuss other people’s thoughts and writing in the course of producing your own work. That’s why it’s so important to understand what plagiarism is and the steps you can take to avoid it.

    Avoiding Plagiarism

    Below are some useful guidelines to help you avoid plagiarism and show academic honesty in your work:

    • Quotes: If you quote another work directly in your work, cite your source.
    • Paraphrase: If put someone else’s idea into your own words, you still need to cite the author.
    • Visual Materials: If you cite statistics, graphs, or charts from a study, cite the source. Keep in mind that if you didn’t do the original research, then you need to credit the person(s) or institution, etc. that did.

    The easiest way to make sure you don’t accidentally plagiarize someone else’s work is by taking careful notes as you research. If you are doing research on the Web, be sure to copy and paste the links into your notes so can keep track of the sites you’re visiting. Be sure to list all the sources you consult.

    There are many handy online tools to help you create and track references as you go. For example, you can try using Son of Citation Machine. Keeping careful notes will not only help you avoid inadvertent plagiarism; it will also help you if you need to return to a source later (to check or get more information). If you use citation tools like Son of Citation, be sure to check the accuracy of the citations before you submit your assignment.

    Lastly, if you’re in doubt about whether something constitutes plagiarism, cite the source or leave the material out. Better still, ask for help. Most colleges have a writing center, a tutoring center, and a library where students can get help with their writing. Taking the time to seek advice is better than getting in trouble for not attributing your sources. Be honest about your ideas, and give credit where it’s due.

    Consequences of Plagiarism

    In the academic world, plagiarism by students is usually considered a very serious offense that can result in punishments such as a failing grade on a particular assignment, the entire course, or even being expelled from the institution. Individual instructors and courses may have their own policies regarding academic honesty and plagiarism; statements of these can usually be found in the course syllabus or online course description.




    • You determine your success and everyone’s definition of success is personal.
    • Successful students have certain traits, characteristics, and habits, all of which can be learned and developed.
    • Having a Growth Mindset, believing that intelligence and skills are gained, is a key to success.
    • Self-efficacy, the belief that one is capable of reaching a goal, is another predictor of success.
    • There are several campus resources available to support your success.
    • Understanding and practicing Academic Integrity is a crucial component of college success.



    For this activity, create your own definition of success. defines success as “the favorable outcome of something attempted.” For many students in college, success means passing a class, earning an A, or learning something new. Beyond college, some people define success in terms of financial wealth; others measure it by the quality of their relationships with family and friends.

    Here is an example of a brief, philosophical definition of success:

    To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Ultimately, before we can know if we are successful, we must first define what success means for ourselves.


    • Write a journal entry defining what success means to you in college and beyond. To help you develop this essay, you might want to consider the following:
      • Find a quote (or make one up) that best summarizes your definition of success (be sure to cite the author and the source, such as the URL).
      • Why does this quote best represent your personal definition success?
      • What people do you consider to be successful and why?
      • What is your definition of success?
      • What will you do to achieve success?
      • What is the biggest change you need to make in order to be successful in college?
      • How will you know you’ve achieved success?





      • Set Yourself Up for Success. Authored by: Heather Syrett. Provided by: Austin Community College. LicenseLicenseCC BY-NC-SA 4.0
      • Seven Keys to College Success. Authored by: Tobin Quereau. Provided by: Austin Community College. LicenseCC BY-NC-SA 4.0



      • ACC Students. Provided by: Austin Community College. Located at: LicenseAll Rights Reserved
      • Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck. Provided by: Standford Alumni. Located at Rights ReservedLicense Terms: Standard YouTube License
      • You Can Learn Anything. Provided by: Khan Academy Located at: Rights ReservedLicense Terms: Standard YouTube License


      • Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191–215. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191
      • Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Worth Publishers.
      • Dweck, Carol S (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House.
      • Schunk, D. H. (1991). Self-efficacy and academic motivation. Educational Psychologist, 26(3–4), 207–231. doi:10.1080/00461520.1991.9653133