What Every Student Needs to Know

Your Responsibilities

Unlike in second grade, middle school, or even high school, all academic responsibilities are your own in collegeónot your parent's, not your advisor's or your professor's responsibility. If you have a problem, are falling behind, or have questions, it is your responsibility to get help. Do not delay; you will just fall further behind, and at the end of the semester, it is too late

Set yourself up to succeed.

It is your responsibility to plan your schedule and choose the courses that you take. If you have trouble with this, go back to your advisor. You can still change your courses during the first week of school. Make sure that you have time to get from class to class. It is unacceptable to always leave a class early to get to the next class or to constantly arrive late. Make certain that you don't sign up for too heavy of a course load. The semester always starts out easy, but you need to be able to handle the load when everything is due at the end of the semester. Everyone is busy and everyone has the same number of hours in a day; so the excuse that you are behind or need extra time on an assignment because you are taking 18 hours, have a job, or have other commitments falls back on you. How you decide to use your time is your choice. You have the same amount of time in a day as each of your classmates. It is your responsibility to carefully schedule your time and to use your time wisely. You also need to be sure that you have the required materials, textbooks, etc.

Attending class is required for success.

Class attendance, whether your classes are held online or in-person, is not optional if you want to succeed. It is your responsibility to attend class. The main reason students flunk out of college is from not attending class. You may need to go to bed earlier, buy another alarm clock, or not go out the night before. If you are sick and miss class, it is your responsibility to get the notes from someone in the class and to catch up. The most important advice for a college student is: Never miss class.

Do not schedule appointments during class time.

An academic advisement appointment is not a reason to miss class. Never schedule academic advisement appointments during your class. It is your responsibility to ask your academic advisor for an appointment that is not during any of your classes. If you have a job, schedule your work time outside of your class time. An excuse from your boss is not an acceptable justification for missing class.

It is your responsibility to read the textbook.

It is your responsibility to read the text and stay caught up. If we are covering chapter 3, it is your responsibility to read chapter 3 without officially being given a reading assignment. Read ahead so that you have already read the material before it is covered in class. In college you are expected to read and study the text without being reminded to do so.

It is your responsibility to contact the professor to ask for help.

If you have special circumstances and had to miss class or have fallen behind, it is your responsibility to contact the professor to ask for help. Don't wait until you are way behind; instead, do this as soon as you can. At the end of the semester, it is simply too late.

Always take notes.

Write down what is said during your class lectures. It is difficult to remember all of the details if you don't write them down. Even if you think that you are not good at taking notes, do it anyway. Tests usually come from the lectures, and your notes are the best study guide that you will have. The second most important advice for the college student is: Always take notes.


Know what is on the class web site.

It is your responsibility to look at the class web site frequently. It contains useful information such as the dates of tests and other announcements, assignments, deadlines, handouts, and study guides.


Deadlines are deadlines.

You need to schedule your time in order to meet the deadlines. If you are given a week to do an assignment, do not wait until the night before or even the day before to start the assignment. Start assignments early.

Asking for help

If you have problems with an assignment, it is your responsibility to ask your professor for help. All professors have office hours, and if you have a class during those office hours, it is your responsibility to ask for an appointment at another time.

The grade you receive is the grade that you earned.

The grade you receive for a class is based on your achievement on the required tests and assignments. The assignments were your responsibility to complete and turn in on time. Your grade is not based on special extra credit dreamed up to improve your grade because you did not do well on the required assignments, so don't bother to ask. Read the comments by Kurk Wiesenfeld of GA Tech for additional insight on this topic, which are available here: Making the Grade.

Student Success Center

The Student Success Center at the University of South Carolina provides one-on-one coaches to help students with a variety of issues from academic planning and goal setting to study skills, concentration, note-taking, and available resources. Their help can be beneficial for students in general or for problems with a particular class. If you are struggling (or better yet, be proactive and don't wait until you are already struggling), schedule an appointment and talk with them. Student Success Center

Worried about how you are doing?

If you are worried about how you are doing in a class, go and talk with the professor. Don't put it off; the sooner you go, the better. Find out what help is available, if your professor can give you advice on how to study, and if your professor can help you better understand a particular topic, etc.


It is your responsibility to check your university email account frequently. Always use your university email address when communicating with your professors. Keep your emails professional: do not use colored text, backgrounds, or cute quotes, etc., and do not use texting abbreviations. Be certain that the email contains your first and last names as well as your course number and section number.

Do Not Cheat.

Don't ever cheat; not even on homework. All cases of cheating are to be reported; here, at the University of South Carolina, cheating incidents are reported to the Office of Academic Integrity. The consequences of cheating could be expulsion, which you certainly don't want. It is easy to share information or to copy information from the web, so be certain that the work that you turn in is your own work. If you cut and paste from the web into your work, it is plagiarism. Carefully provide citations in your work to all quoted passages and referenced propositions and materials.

It is okay to discuss your work with others, but you need to understand the material and later do the work on your own. If two students turn in the same work, the student who did the work and gave it away is just as guilty as the student who took it and turned it in as their own.

Think now about how terrible you would feel if you were called in and the proof that you had cheated was spread out on the desk. Frequently, students in this position say, "I did this, but I want you to know that this really isn't me; I am not a cheater." Are these students different from the other students who cheat? No matter the amount of crying and begging, professors are obligated to turn in all cheating cases. It is your responsibility to do what is right; cheating is never worth the consequences.

Technical Issues

If you are having technical issues with your computer, your blackboard account, or your university account or email address, contact the Division of Information Technology (DoIT). If you have problems with a computer account that was given to you for a particular course or lab, please contact your instructor for help. See Division of Information Technology (DoIT). The technology help you need is available from DoIT in any of the following ways, among others:

Carolina Tech Zone

The Carolina Tech Zone (CTZ) provides hands-on technology support for all students, including connecting to the network, installing software, diagnosing computer problems, removing viruses, providing mobile support, and more. The CTZ is located on the first floor of the Byrnes building, 901 Sumter Street, Suite 119, which is right across from the Horseshoe.

During the Fall 2020 semester, the CTZ will be operating on an appointment-based system during hours that will be determined. Students can call 803-777-1800 to schedule an appointment with the CTZ. Masks will be required upon entry and students will be encouraged to stay six feet apart while visiting. See Carolina Tech Zone for more information.


Blackboard is the course management system used by the University of South Carolina allowing students to see and upload assignments, view grades, take quizzes, and communicate with the class. Every course at USC will have a Blackboard site. Blackboard Support and Information and Blackboard Login



Student Health Services

Your personal well-being affects your academic success. If you are sick, go to the student health center. Don't wait! Go before you get worse. The link to Student Health Services at the University of South Carolina is Student Health Services.

Mental Health Services

Taking care of your mental and emotional health is one of the most important things you can do. The University of South Carolina offers comprehensive mental health care and offers extended hours, Walk-In Sessions, and after-hours phone services. Mental Health Services

If you are having trouble functioning, are unhappy, think you could be suffering from depression, or have a relationship or family problem, there is free help available to you on campus. Don't be embarrassed; this is not uncommon. Call or go online and make an appointment, and then go and get help. Your information will be kept confidential. Don't delay! Get help as soon as possible. Counseling at the University of South Carolina

If you need help or know someone who needs help concerning an incident involving harassment, sexual assault, or interpersonal violence, please see the following resource: Interpersonal Violence Support

Student Disability Resource Center

The Student Disability Resource Center helps students with many different types of disabilities. Their new office location is 1705 College Street, Close-Hipp, Suite 102. Phone: 803-777-6142. Email: sadrc@mailbox.sc.edu. Student Disability Resource Center


Have a problem and don't know what to do?

If you have a problem and don't know who to ask, talk with your instructor, your advisor, or someone in one of the offices mentioned above. Even if the problem is out of our field, we may know or be able to find out who can help you. The faculty and staff, even those of us who appear to have a gruff exterior, really care about students and want to help.