Getting the most out of the academic year

Welcome back, Sharks! I hope you had a wonderful summer. My name is April Coan and I am an Academic Success Coach and the Assistant Director at the Office of Undergraduate Student Success. Throughout the fall semester, I will be offering tips and suggestions in The Current which will focus on topics like success in college and taking advantage of the unique opportunities available at NSU.

I’m originally from Texas, and, feeling adventurous after high school, I accepted a scholarship to attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduation, I decided to do something even more adventurous and joined the United States Marine Corps. I spent five years in the military, where I learned a lot about leadership and management and had some amazing experiences. I also found the time to earn a graduate degree from Boston University. Eventually, I left the military and took up roots in South Florida. I now work in the field of higher education and would like to share with you some valuable information that I’ve learned along the way.

As I look back on my undergraduate and graduate college experiences, I learned some valuable lessons, and I am here to pass this wisdom on to you and be your success coach. So if anything I write resonates with you, please feel free to contact me at the Office of Undergraduate Student Success (954-262-8356) or email me at

If you think that coming back to school is just about learning how to analyze poems written in iambic pentameter or memorizing all the stages of mitosis, think again. The new academic year is about starting fresh and taking advantage of opportunities to build better you. To make the most of your new academic year, the first month of school is the perfect time to plan goals that will help you build your brand and gain the most from your university resources. Some opportunities available at NSU that you may want to consider this academic year include:

  • Meeting with an academic coach. Paulo Coelho said, “Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” In that same vein of thought, there are many unique opportunities in college to create an amazing experience. However, if you don’t know what you want or if you’re unsure of how to get there (i.e. if your eyes are closed), you probably won’t reach your goals. NSU’s Office of Undergraduate Student Success provides Academic Success Coaches to help you develop personal success plans to help you achieve your personal goals. They can also help you with time management, organizational skills, study strategies, campus engagement and academic recovery.
  • Studying Abroad. During my undergraduate years, I took advantage of a study abroad program in Belgium. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life because, on weekends, I made trips to Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Spain and Prague, and I was even able to complete an internship at the European Union. I am proud of myself for taking the chance to go overseas, and I highly recommend studying abroad to anyone who is curious about other cultures, living in another country or building new life experiences. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, you can explore your options by visiting the Office of International Affairs in the Horvitz Building. The office can also assist you with study abroad scholarships.
  • Getting Involved. Getting involved with a student organization is one of the best ways to meet new people and expand your social network. NSU has hundreds of student organizations to choose from. You can find the ones that best meet your interests by visiting or the Student Activities Office on the first floor of the University Center. Getting involved is also a great way to get some leadership experience, which will improve your chances for scholarships, jobs, and graduate school opportunities in the future.
  • Earning an Internship. Before I earned an internship in college, the only work experience on my resume was a summer job at my local movie theater. Needless to say, my resume wasn’t that impressive at the time. But, while in college, I earned two internships and was able to build my resume with professional experiences in accounting and public administration. Internships are an excellent way to experience careers associated with your interests and can help you network and build your resume. To discover which internship opportunities are available, just visit the Office of Career Development on the first floor of the Horvitz Administration Building.

Exploring these opportunities available at NSU can not only help you enhance your education but can also help you build memories and valuable life experiences. If you’re interested in any of the opportunities I mentioned, the best time to act is now. You can explore these opportunities further by contacting the Office of Undergraduate Student Success, Office of International Affairs, Student Activities or Career Development.

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