“Work hard, play hard”
“Work hard, play hard” is something you may hear people
use to describe students’ attitudes toward life at Rice. That may sound
like a pretty cool motto for your total Rice experience, but it also
short-changes the fact that, for most people, Rice is a
rigorous, academically challenging school. We all feel overwhelmed from
time to time, but if your academic performance is suffering due to
persistent issues; something else in your life is interfering with your
ability to perform optimally; or you feel you need to take time off from
Rice, then you need to talk to someone.
Rice cares about its students, and that includes supporting you
in decisions that benefit your overall, long-term wellbeing.
Common Academic-Related Concerns at Rice
Many students at Rice encounter academic difficulties at some
point. You are not alone if you experience any of these common academic concerns
you may have while at Rice:
- not knowing how to prepare for the course requirements
- not feeling academically prepared for the course requirements
- not feeling interested in the course material
- not motivated to be in college
- not knowing what to major in
- missing class or university deadlines
- feeling disillusioned with your major but too far along to quit
- general career indecision
- missing classes due to illness or some other concern
- not taking advantage of available resources in an appropriate
- not utilizing appropriate time management and study skills
- stress related to maintaining a scholarship or some other
Your optimal academic performance depends largely on your
personal academic goals and standards. Some of the academic performance-related
concerns you may have include:
- when you believe you are not performing to the level of your ability,
- when you find that your coursework is interfering with your
ability to be involved in other activities and functions at the university
- you are getting close to not meeting university requirements for
your academic standing,
- you are concerned about potentially not meeting requirements to
continue a university scholarship or financial aid,
- you miss the GPA requirement to participate in an internship,
research opportunity, or job
College students can experience other concerns that can impact
their health or personal wellness. At Rice, in some cases, these concerns
affect the student’s academic experience.
Physical or psychological health:
- physical illness
- mental health concerns, such as depression; not feeling like
yourself for considerable periods of time; anxiety; or having difficulty taking
care of yourself
- concerns about abnormal eating habits
- sleep difficulties
- addictive behaviors
- unexpected health concerns
- concerns that you were or may have been a victim of the behavior
of another Rice student
- behavioral concerns that result in a referral to Student Judicial
Programs or Rice University Police Department
- questions about your sexuality
- relationship issues
- general financial concerns
- loss of a loved one
- parental or familial pressures
Rice offers many ways for you to address any potential academic
issues you’re facing. If you are concerned you’re not performing to the
academic level that you’d like, Rice offers many resources to help you:
- Contact the Office of Academic Advising for general academic
support, advice, and further direction on resources and opportunities. Call
ext. 4060 or check out their website for more information.
- Consider talking to a faculty mentor, either a divisional
advisor or a major advisor, depending on whether you’ve declared a major or
- Get academic insight from your peers through the Academic
Fellows program. Students at your residential college can offer advice and
guidance based on their experiences within their majors. Check out the Academic
Advising website for specifics and contact information.
- Check out the Center for Career Development for more
opportunities associated with your major. For more information, check out the CCD website.
- Reach out to the Student Wellbeing Office if you need help
navigating the university’s academic procedures. Contact us if you need help if you missed a
university deadline, if you are not sure about the academic procedures
available, or you’re just not sure where to start to get your academic
questions answered. We’re here to help.
Is it okay to switch my major?
At Rice, it’s not uncommon to switch majors—in fact, 50% of
students change their major during the course of their undergraduate career. Before
you decide to switch majors, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched your
If you’re are thinking switching your major, pause and reflect on
your reasons for the switch. Some of the questions you may consider
- Why did you choose your current major to begin with?
- Why are you thinking about switching majors? Is it because you
think the new major would be “easy”?
- Have you considered and thoroughly explored other majors
- Have you talked with a faculty mentor and/or academic
advisor about switching?
Some of the recommended action items for you to take during your
consideration process include:
- Talk with an academic advisor about it. They are best equipped
with the knowledge, resources, and opportunities to guide you through the
process. For more information about academic advising, visit the
Academic Advising webpage.
- Talk to a faculty member. They may seem intimidating when
they’re lecturing in a huge hall, but most faculty are friendly and willing to
help if you approach them after class or during their office hours.
- Ask yourself how passionate you are about your current major.
Passion is a huge motivator and factor in academic success, not only at Rice,
but also throughout one’s career path. Moreover, committing to a major due
solely to external pressures does not set you up to intellectually thrive in
your educational development.
- Reassess your time management and study skills. Are any academic
issues with your current major potentially due to the lack of time you’ve
invested in it? Could you significantly improve your academic performance if
you dedicated more time to your studies? Check out our tips for ways to ramp up your study and time management
skills here. If these aren’t enough, consider contacting an academic advisor
for more guidance.
- Remember that “easy” is a relative term. If you’re
considering switching majors because you think the new major would be
considerably easier for you academically, keep in mind that Rice is an
academically rigorous institution. What may seem comparatively “easy” may turn
out to be much more challenging, in terms of the amount of time and preparation
needed, than you first thought.
I’m experiencing physical/mental issues related to my academic
difficulties. What should I do?
If you are experiencing physical and/or mental health issues
that are interfering with your everyday life, then you need to seek help.
Contact the Student Wellbeing Office or the Counseling Center for mental
health concerns or academic concerns related to your health so
that you can talk with someone who can help you figure out what’s going on and
what to do next. You can also contact Student Health Services for physical
What do I do if I think I need time off from Rice?
Rice supports students when they decide to take time off.
Undergraduates at Rice are sometimes faced with a variety of challenges that
can result in poor academic performance and can impact a student’s wellbeing.
In addition, taking the time to better understand your individual problems,
what lead to them, what you can do to ameliorate them, and what you can do to
seek help and prepare yourself to return to Rice are important steps. Even if
you’re just thinking about taking time off, we encourage you to contact
the Student Wellbeing Office because we’re experienced in
supporting students through this process.
Suspected Honor Code violation:
For more information, check out the Honor Council's website at
http://honor.rice.edu/ or contact Student Judicial Programs.
If you received judicial sanctions, check the Student
Judicial Programs website for more information. Contact
SJP for next steps and any clarifications you need during the process.