There is no insurance policy against academic accidents. Occurring most frequently during the freshman year of college, such accidents result in academic probation, suspension and dismissal. Recovery is difficult, expensive and time-consuming.
Like car accidents, student academic failure most often occurs due to inattention, a lack of preparation and inaccurate beliefs about what it takes to succeed.
Student attention to academic tasks is sometimes hijacked by new freedoms, student over-involvement in campus activities, video games and substance abuse. Some common college myths also a contribute to academic fender benders:
- class attendance in college is optional (they now take attendance by federal mandate)
- reading the class text is a waste of time because it is not mentioned in lectures (students are supposed to know the text and lecture material)
- not realizing that college is significantly harder than high school (even if the student was enrolled in AP classes)
Just as student drivers are taught defensive driving, parents and educators can teach high school students about defensive studying. Defensive academic study tactics and skills include:
- regular class attendance,
- effective study skills,
- adequate rest,
- communication with faculty,
- effective time management,
- making friends with other students who are academically successful,
- assertiveness skills,
- self confidence,
- having a defined academic major early and
- taking advantage of campus academic support services.