Academic Success - Take Benchworks!

You're not in high school any more and sometimes, the adjustment to college socially and academically can have unique challenges. That's where taking Benchworks can help!

Now - October 16, 2019, you can take a 20-minute assessment called Benchworks. The assessment asks questions that can help you figure out where you're doing well and where you may need a little help. Results are shared with staff on campus when the assessment closes and they'll reach out to connect you with campus resources that can help in areas you might be struggling in.

Plus, if you take it, you get $10 in ISU Dining Dollars added to your ISUCard!

Your Hall Director, Apartment Community Manager and Community Adviser are also all resources in your Cyclone Home that are here to help you! Questions or concerns? Just ask them and they'll connect you with campus resources.


The Department of Residence has been utilizing first-year assessments like Benchworks to help students for 10+ years. Assessments have shown us some common areas students may struggle with in their first semester. 

Here are some tips to help you if you're struggling with any of the following topics.


TEST ANXIETY - This is a test. It's only a test.

Most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam. However, it can become an issue when anxiety affects performance. Fear of failure, procrastination, and prior poor performance can all increase test anxiety.

NAME YOUR FEELING: Identifying feelings of anxiety can help lessen the power they have over your overall performance. You can create and implement strategies once you have awareness of your feelings.

USE RATIONAL AND POSITIVE THINKING: Write down your negative thoughts and review them rationally. Determine if these thoughts have any basis in reality. Anxiety can stem from irrational thoughts that persist unchecked.

LEARN YOUR CAUSES AND CURES:
Some students find their test anxiety worsens with poor eating habits, sleep deprivation, or social isolation. Learn what can cause your test anxiety and develop strategies to prevent it from developing. 

USE ACADEMIC RESOURCES: Advisers, CAs and the Academic Success Center can provide valuable guidance. ISU staff are knowledgable and they are eager to help you!


Go for the "A"!

It’s beneficial if students attend all course sessions, yet, 43% of first- year first time Cyclones will miss at least one class this semester while 37% will struggle in at least two courses. Most student who face initial challenges eventually manage to improve their grades if they follow a few success steps: 

  1. Go to class. Yes, go to class and come to class prepared. You hinder your chance for academic success if you’re continually missing class. 
  2. Talk to your instructors during their office hours. Ask them about content and assignments that you have questions about. 
  3. Discuss your situation with your instructor if you miss several class sessions, if you miss an exam or oral presentation, or if you are unable to turn in class assignments on time. 
  4. Find a study buddy in each class. Contact them to get an update on the session you missed.
  5. Don’t give up. Meet with your academic adviser. If you live on-campus, reach out to your community adviser who can help you get connected to study groups. Hire a tutor. Get organized and develop your time-management skills. A low test score doesn't mean the end of your academic career, it's probably a sign that you need to make adjustments.
  6. Stay the course! Get up and go to your classes, get yourself organized, establish a study routine and stick with it, but most importantly, take ownership over your time and enjoy it as a Cyclone.

Social Connections Count

Eight out of 10 students indicate that connection with others was important to their success. Want to get connected? Try these tips:

  • Connect in your hall or apartment by attending house or government meetings.
  • Talk to your classmates before or after class.
  • Be part of the team by participating in intramurals through Recreation Services.

Homesick? You're not alone!

It's normal to miss what's most familiar to us. In fact, half of students feel homesick at various points in their university experience. Following these tips can make Iowa State feel more like home:

  • Get connected and meet new people.
  • Invite others to try something new - check out campus, try a new restaurant or visit a new place in Ames just for fun.
  • Focus on the positive aspects of your new environment. Whether that's friends, interesting classes or a new leadership position, good things are possible every day!
  • Stay in touch with friends and family by chatting with them now and then.