Factors that Can Contribute to Academic Difficulty

A realistic assessment of the contributing factors that resulted in unsuccessful academic performance will be an important part of your efforts to improve your work in future semesters. It will be unlikely that you will be able to remedy difficulties and distractions unless you know exactly the nature of those distractions.

Generally, there are 5 main causes of academic difficulty:

  • Motivational difficulties
    Motivational difficulties can include difficulty adapting to and feeling a sense of belonging in a competitive academic environment.
  • Adjustment to college life
    Balancing study with the new freedoms and responsibilities of adult living can be a difficult challenge. For some, it will take practice to develop the personal discipline required to stay focused at a large institution with so many opportunities.
  • Study skills
    Students arrive at Berkeley with many levels of academic preparation. For some, the transition to Cal is seamless, for others, a real struggle. Weaknesses in academic preparation and an inability to organize study time can contribute to unsatisfactory academic performance.
  • Directions/Goals
    Some students report having difficulty directing toward a course of study and or finding a subject matter that "fits" with their interests and abilities.
  • Personal Issues
    At times and perhaps unexpectedly, personal issues can affect academic performance. For example, issues involving health, personal relationships, finances and family responsibilities may overwhelm a student's ability to perform well in classes.

Academic advisers are specially trained to assist you as you assess the variety of issues that may have contributed to academic difficulty. In some cases, you may be easily able to determine the cause of poor performance, in others, there may be a combination of contributing factors. All students on 2.0 AP are required to complete the on-line version of the in-person Reach For Success (RFS) workshop. You may find it at: http://ls-probation.berkeley.edu/ws/. Log on using your CalNet student identification number. In addition, you are also highly encouraged to attend an in-person RFS workshop.

Find out how to e-mail us with academic advising questions.

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