Academic preparation program for new Flinders students

Academic Preparation Program


Update 19/2/19 – I now have a formal flyer and dates/times for these programs. Click here.

When people ask me for my thoughts on how students should maximise their wellbeing during their time at university, I ALWAYS talk about study skills.

If your studies aren’t going well, or you lack the basic study toolkit to perform well at your degree, then there is a very high likelihood of struggling emotionally.

Because of this I suggest students start their university life with a laser-like focus on getting off to a good start academically.

Part of doing that is is knowing about and utilising the services of the Student Learning Centre (SLC)


The Student Learning Centre (SLC) offers support to all students in the areas of:

  • Academic writing
  • Basic mathematics
  • Endnote
  • General study skills
  • Statistics
  • Referencing

They offer one to one support through the Learning Lounge at the library, online support through Studiosity and an academic skills kit and study guides that you can access anytime through Flinders Learning online (FLO).

You can find out more about their services here –


During Orientation Week, the SLC run their ‘Academic Preparation Program’ a series of 50 minute seminars addressing the following topics:

Academic writing and referencing What is academic writing? Conventions of academic essays, how to approach essay writing, how to generate and sort ideas, writing arguments, essay structures, paragraphs, essays vs reflective writing, paraphrasing, referencing alluding to EndNote.


Reading academic texts The difference between academic texts and non-academic texts. How to select reading materials in university, common reading issues, reading strategies, typical structures and types of academic texts, critical reading, how to take notes effectively, what constitutes a good academic source, how to integrate your reading notes with your essays/assignments.


Assignments how-to (including academic integrity) Describes types of assignment, planning, researching and reading, structuring, drafting, writing, proofreading and editing, and submission stages. Turnitin is also addressed, as are academic integrity issues.


Critical thinking Critical thinking is defined, and why it is important. Also covers critical reflexivity, independent thinking, unpacking reading texts, context, purpose and audience, essay question analysis, the importance of evidence, and argument structure.


Maths refresher Useful for students who require basic maths principles for studies as a refresher. Covers topics such as algebraic equations, ratios, scientific notations and logarithms. Useful for students to self-identify areas of mathematics to improve.


If you are helping a 1st year student during orientation week, consider letting them know about these seminars. Naturally they are going to be a little overwhelmed with all the new information and opportunities available to them, but I think prioritising getting off to a good start academically is their best bet. They may not think so, and be a little more attracted to range of fun activities organised by FUSA. But you know, deep down, that their future selves will thank you for being a source of sage advice, during a period of excess.

Here is a suggested script:

“Hey, there. Welcome to Flinders! I can see that you’ve eaten 4 donuts, have collected approximately 15kg of handouts from the various stalls, and are trying to work out how to get hold of the free condoms from the Health Service without people seeing you, but I just wanted to tell you about the Academic Preparation sessions that the SLC is running. Those sessions will teach you some of the basics of ensuring you get off to a good start with your studies, including: academic writing, referencing, reading academic texts, doing assignments, critical thinking and maths. You can find out when the sessions are running and register by visiting –  Granted it’s not quite as exciting as Beer Pong, but maybe a better investment in your future.”

I can’t guarantee you will get a very enthusiastic response, but I reckon it is worth a try.


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