Nearly every community college and university across the country includes a Dean's List, a roster of students who have performed particularly well during the previous semester or school year. The Dean's List has traditionally been a prestigious honor for which to strive during your years of higher education because it demonstrates a commitment to academic excellence and the ability to rise to the workload, however heavy it might become. Whether you are just entering the hallowed halls of academia, or are currently working through your degree program, we have a list of reasons to strive for the dean's list and tips to help you get there.
What is the Dean's List?
According to Wikipedia, the Dean's List is "a category of students in a college or university who achieve high grades during their stay in an academic term or academic year." The term is primarily used in North America, but some European institutions offer a Dean's List as well.
Requirements for making the Dean's List vary from institution to institution, but most mandate a specific number of course hours to be taken and a set GPA to be maintained during the term or school year. It is important to inquire with the advisement center or your academic counselor regarding the specific requirements for the Dean's List at your college.
Benefits of the Dean's List
The benefits of making the Dean's List also vary from school to school, with some colleges even offering additional financial aid to students who make the Dean's List and exhibit a financial need. According to The Personal Excellence Blog, other potential benefits of the Dean's List include:
- Personal Achievement – The Dean's List is solid evidence that you have worked hard in college and did your best during the academic year.
- Invitation to Special Events – Some colleges, like the Community College of Allegheny County, offer receptions to celebrate the achievements of Dean's List students.
- Getting Your Name Recognized – Suddenly, your name is known to the Dean's Office of your college, as well as to the rest of the campus when it is published on the school website, or in the campus or community newspaper.
- Attractiveness to Prospective Employers – With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, any edge you can get over fellow applicants is a welcome one. Inclusion on the Dean's List, especially for multiple semesters or quarters, is one way to make your resume stand out from the crowd.
- Prestige – Making the Dean's List is synonymous to academic success and has traditionally been looked upon favorably by fellow students and faculty alike.
Requirements for the Dean's List
The Dean's List is structured to be a lofty goal for students, with relatively strict requirements involved. If you are serious about getting your name on this prestigious roster, it is important to learn the specific requirements for your college's Dean's List as soon as you sign up for your first semester of courses. We have a few examples of the Dean's List requirements at certain community colleges across the country to give you an idea of what you are striving for:
- Johnston Community College in North Carolina requires students to take at least nine credit hours a semester and maintain a GPA of 3.5, with no grades lower than a "C."
- Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana requires Dean's List students to accumulate 12 or more credit hours, with six credit hours taken during the term in question. Students must also maintain a 3.5 GPA during that semester with no "D" or "F" grades issued.
- Roane State Community College in Tennessee offers a Dean's List to full-time students completing 12 or more credit hours in a semester and maintaining a GPA of 3.5-4.0 during the term.
- Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, requires students to maintain a 3.5 GPA and have no F’s for that academic term.
- Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, stipulates that students have at least a 3.5 GPA with no F’s for the academic term. The college also requires that students cannot have an incomplete in the academic term for which they seek to be on the Dean's List.
Tips for Making the Dean's List
Inclusion on your school’s Dean's List carries many potential benefits along with it. However, making the Dean's List is an honor that isn't always easy to attain. Students who are serious about achieving this goal should consider the following tips from CollegeScholarships.org:
- Be Organized – Keep a detailed calendar of assignments and create an organizational system for coursework. College syllabi will generally outline the entire semester’s schedule, including due dates for assignments and exams. Input these important dates into your smartphone or into a traditional calendar so you can plan accordingly for upcoming assignments.
- Find a Quiet Place to Study – If you live on campus, the dorms can be the worst place to try to study. Instead, find a quiet corner in your school library, at your parent’s house, or at one of your college’s study centers – wherever you can study easily without distraction.
- Attend all Classes – No sleeping in after a late night! It can be difficult to muster the willpower to attend those 8:00 am biology lectures, but if you want to succeed to your best abilities, attending class each day will certainly help. Some professors include attendance and participation in their calculation of final grades, so the more often you show up and engage in class, the better off you will be.
- Implement the 15-Minute Review – Spend 15 minutes before class reviewing material from the previous session. Underline or highlight any material that you don’t understand. Write down any questions you might have so you can ask your professor for clarification. It is also a good idea to implement a 15-minute review each evening for each class in which you are enrolled. For example, if you have four classes, revisit each course’s material for fifteen minutes. In just one hour, you can brush up on all your classes and have the concepts you’re studying fresh in your mind.
- Limit Social Interactions – Remember that college is about getting an education first and foremost. While your friends are out partying, you may need to stay behind and study in order to meet your academic goals. However, it is important to recharge your batteries! Be sure to take some breaks from studying and interact with your peers. The more refreshed you are, the easier studying will be and the more information you will retain.
- Study – Setting aside a specific amount of time to study each day will prevent the need for last minute cramming and all-nighters to finish term papers. A slow, steady and methodical approach to studying is far more productive. The general rule of thumb for surviving college is that for every credit hour in which you enroll, you should spend two to three hours each week studying. Therefore, if you’re enrolled in 12 credit hours, you’ll need to plan on 24-36 hours of studying each week. Breaking that time up into daily chunks will make studying much easier and much more efficient.
The Dean's List is an honor that most community colleges reserve for those committed to academic excellence. If you believe you are part of this crowd, begin formulating positive habits like those outlined above. Doing so will keep you on top of your studies and on the Dean's List semester after semester.
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