Academics

“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 time frame
  • not utilizing appropriate time management and study skills
  • stress related to maintaining a scholarship or some other financial award

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  

 Personal/Other: 

  •  homesickness 
  • questions about your sexuality 
  • relationship issues 
  • general financial concerns 
  • loss of a loved one 
  • parental or familial pressures  

Academic Resources

  

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 not.
  • 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 decision.
If you’re are thinking switching your major, pause and reflect on your reasons for the switch. Some of the questions you may consider include: 

  • 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 and opportunities?
  •  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 health concerns

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.
 

Judicial Sanctions: 

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.