Academic Habits

First-Year Seminars introduce students to academic habits of mind, preparing them to become active participants in their own learning.

Success as a student requires commitment and discipline, the determination to do one’s best. It requires learning how to exchange ideas constructively; develop a critical reflex; respond to intellectual challenges; approach problems systematically, logically, creatively; appreciate both complexity and simplicity; and infuse one’s work with passion. It also requires a strong work ethic, including the capacity to manage one’s time, set priorities, meet deadlines, while following directions and responding to feedback.

First-Year Seminars offer ongoing opportunities to develop academic habits of mind through regular and intense reading, writing, and discussion, in the context of faculty and mentor feedback as well as co-curricular linkages. Assignments that call on students to tackle a problem or dilemma, complete work in stages or by revision, evaluate the quality of sources, or reward intellectual risk-taking can be especially effective.

  • ​Studies by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA have found that academic experiences during the first year of college are significant in establishing habits of mind and a lifelong commitment to learning, especially when reinforced by intellectual exchanges outside of the classroom.

Student Resources:
A set of videos produced by Dartmouth College’s Academic Skills Center focuses on learning strategies—from note taking, active reading strategies, concentration and memory to preparing for exams and time management.