University prep courses, finding right major, cited as key for struggling students

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Image Credit: Courtesy AUS

By Jaewoong Lee

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – University preparation courses can be very important for student success, but so is finding the right major, according to Claire Murphy, senior instructor in the American University of Sharjah’s Achievement Academy Bridge Program.

Interviewed on April 22, Murphy said that the university preparation courses (UPA) offered by AUS are important for students who are on probation, because these courses give them the opportunity to get more out of their student experience by developing their time management, goal setting, presentation, and organizational skills. UPA200 is a non-credit course which is committed to helping students succeed at university, she said. It does this not only by stressing the importance of critical thinking and having a positive mindset, but also by making attendance a prerequisite of passing, Murphy said.  

Murphy added that the courses are adjusted every semester to better focus on what students need the most, with recent work focusing on the challenges of adapting to an online learning environment, for example. 

She added that many students who struggle early in university life, and end up on probation, are grateful at the end of the course for having a better understanding of what a student needs to do to succeed at college, as well the facilities and support available at AUS. 

The UPA course also greatly benefits from its ongoing collaboration with the university’s Academic Support Center, Murphy said, whose advisers aid students who may be struggling with the pressures of student life.