Being Successful at DCC-Marissa Ammon


   Most college students strive for exceptional grades, but many college students do not take the time and effort necessary to achieve their goals. Many tend work less hard for what they want, believing that good grades are handed to them on a silver platter as the level of difficulty was minimal in grade school. College takes immense dedication. To become a student, who makes the Dean’s List, follow these tips to help you become a successful student here at Dutchess Community College.

Tip #1: Choose a major, use Degree Works, and plan your schedule effectively.

        This seems simple, right. Choose a major that you are the most passionate about. Ever since high school, I knew that I wanted to major in Adolescent Education and English. This major requires sixty-three credits. This is true for most majors. This results in about five classes per semester with the ability to finish in two years. When I took the placement test, I was placed in Math 092 and Academic Reading 103, which are both remedial courses I knew I needed to take them my first semester. My schedule the first semester was Weather & Climate Physical Science 111, Psychology 111, English 101, Liberal Arts Teaching Seminar 100, and the two remedial courses. In total, took six classes. Once you choose a major, you receive a list of required classes you need to take in order to graduate. The required courses per major are found on Degree Works and on the Dutchess Community College online catalog. Some majors give you a choice for which classes you can take for each group of general requirements. These include: American History, Natural Sciences, Math, Social Sciences, Arts, Foreign Language, English, and Humanities. Becoming an excellent student involves taking the right classes in order to be successful. For example, if you do not like or need chemistry for your major, choose another type of science like one of the physical sciences. Choose classes you will do well in. Think about your high school years. You not do so well in math and science courses? If so, you should take the minimum amount of courses needed for your major.  

   Jennifer Cirigliano, who is a General Studies major and has an excellent average of 3.6, focused more on biology/science classes and was accepted to the Nursing Program at Alfred. “My advisor advised me to take classes that I would need to transfer to apply for the Nursing program.” Another DCC student, Nicholas Weiss, who made the President’s List last fall semester, is a Liberal Arts and Sciences major. He said, “I chose a major that was the most generic, but I take mostly science classes (general biology, general chemistry, etc.) because I want to go into either psychiatry or medical laboratory technology.” Focus on what you would like to do after Dutchess and if you are not sure yet, take a few classes you think will work best for you and your future career.

   In addition, consider scheduling your classes carefully. Think about how much time your classes will take up of your day. If you are working part-time while going to school, it is best not to take too many courses. If you do not have any other responsibilities other than your coursework, you should take anywhere from fifteen to nineteen credits. Finally, schedule your classes during times that are most optimal for you to learn. According to a recent article from and a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, many Neuroscientists believe that morning classes are doing more harm than good, particularly because teenagers have “body clocks” set up differently than adults.


        Tip #2: Find the right professors.

   Getting a great professor is another key to success. Sometimes you do not get the perfect Professor, but there are ways you can make sure you are not setting yourself up for failure.

   Ask around for who is the best professor to take for which subject. This will give you an idea of how well you may do in the class. Find a professor that fits your learning style. If you are a better writer, find a professor who gives more writing assignments. If you do not have test anxiety, choose a professor that gives more tests than essays. Go on to or ask other students which professors they had and if they recommend them.

   Also, schedule your classes early, so you will have a chance at getting a professor you want. If you wait about a week to register, go to MyDCC and look up to see that certain classes are filling up fast. “Ask friends and ask what grade they got in the class,” Jennifer Cirigliano adds.  


        Tip #3: Do NOT procrastinate.

   The most obvious; that way you do not accumulate stress about coursework later. If you tend to have busy weekends, do all or most of your work on Thursday or Friday nights. According to a 2015 study conducted at Warwick Business School in England, research has proven that procrastination leads to lower grades: “Studies concluded that close to ninety percent waited towards the end of the deadline and that caused their grade to drop five percent” Take your time with all your assignments!


        Tip #4: Balance is important.

   Many college students struggle with balancing their own personal and academic life, which is crucial for achieving academic success. There is only twenty-four hours in a day. It does not make sense to go to class for six hours, party for thirteen hours, only to do homework for an hour, and sleep for only four hours. For every hour you are in a class, an extra hour of studying needs to be done after the class. For example, if you are taking a three-credit Psychology 111, you should spend at least an hour studying and doing homework for that class. Here is what Jen said about how she keeps herself focused: “I turn my phone on to sleep mode, so I don’t get distracted, or turn it off, or I don’t even take it to the library. I also do my work in the library.” What do I do before each semester? I make a daily schedule of everything I will be doing each day, which includes my classes, enough time to fit in homework, when I will do laundry, etc. For example, I do laundry Wednesdays after my classes. Since I am also a tutor in the Writing Center, I know not to work on Tuesdays because Tuesdays I am extremely busy.

Nick is a student who works part-time as a Computer hardware technician as well as a full-time student at DCC. Here is what Nick does to keep his life balanced, “Keep a planner, and I drink a lot of energy drinks to keep myself awake. Also, my mother is supportive of me and keeps me motivated.”

Final Tip #5: Understand what “good grades” are.

        Some students do not know what it takes to be on the President’s nor Dean’s List. By understanding how your grades and academic titles, you could find which group, you would fall under. On the Dutchess Community College website under section Academic Honors, there are the qualifications for each academic honor.

   Another important tip: You do not need perfect grades all the time. “If you want a better grade in a class if you just got a C, retake the class. It’s about the effort you put in!” Jen adds. “I was on dean’s list before, I worked really hard, asked teachers for help, studied, and went to tutoring and office hours,” Nick adds. Take advantage of the FREE tutoring and your professor’s office hours. You may feel that you do not need tutoring, but the Math and Science Center can help you with any questions you may have. Even if you have not started an essay yet or have no clue about what you are going to write about, come to the Writing Center. If you have a paper already written, come to the Writing Center because they can make you a better writer. Good grades are possible to achieve at DCC. According to DCC school official, Michael Roe, the overall mean GPA of DCC students as of December was 2.77 and the median was 2.69.

Other beneficial tips those are easy to follow!

  • Attend every single class and be on time
  • Take advantage of extra credit opportunities
  • Retake classes if you believe that you can achieve a higher grade
  • Take notes during lectures
  • Get a tutor help does not hurt
  • Focus on academics and make it your number one priority