Skip to main content

Take a Seat: Acing Your Academics

Your number one goal at Purdue will be academic success.  And fortunately for you, Purdue offers countless resources to help you along the way.  Now here comes your first homework assignment: start familiarizing yourself with the information on this website.  Then, when the time comes, you’ll know where to turn for assistance.

Ultimately, you’ll be responsible for how you perform in the classroom, but you’ll always have a support system of fellow students, staff, and faculty here to help you reach your destination.

U.S. Classroom Culture

The U.S. higher education system may be very different from the education system in your home country.  Here you’ll find that critical thinking, creativity, and participation are highly valued.  You’ll also see that our professors are friendly and approachable.  They schedule time outside of class (called office hours) to meet with you one-on-one.  Professors will usually learn your name, may ask you to answer questions during class, and will be genuinely interested in helping you achieve your academic goals. 

Understanding U.S. classroom culture will make your transition to Purdue easier and will help you be successful.  

Purdue Speak

As you journey to your degree, you’ll find that Purdue has a language of its own.  But don’t worry, it’s simple compared to learning English!  You will need to master some key phrases and acronyms (groups of letters that stand for words), though, in order to understand what fellow students, staff, and faculty are talking about.  Check out the Purdue Speak guide and start learning now.

The Registration Process

At Purdue, you’ll be able to customize your schedule, meaning you’ll choose what courses you take and when you take them.  All that freedom can be a little overwhelming, which is why you’ll be assigned an Academic Advisor. 

Academic Advisors support students by:

  • Recommending appropriate courses

  • Assisting with the registration process

  • Monitoring academic progress

  • Encouraging student success

  • Supporting students who experience difficulties

You should plan to meet with your Academic Advisor at least 2-3 times each semester. 

Purdue students register themselves via the myPurdue portal.  After meeting with your Academic Advisor, you’ll be given a list of suggested courses and a registration pin number.  Registration pins change each semester.  That’s our way of ensuring that you meet regularly with your Academic Advisor and stay on track. 

For international students entering their first semester at Purdue, the initial advising appointment will be held remotely. 

 Use Scheduling Assistant to help you draft a workable schedule before you register in myPUrdue.  You can access it through myPurdue, under the academic tab. It may seem complicated at first. However, after you follow the instructions and try it a couple times, you will fall in love with it.  Therefore, make it your best friend as soon as possible!


Blackboard is a learning management system that allows instructors to add an online component to their courses.  You will find a range of Blackboard uses at Purdue, from distance learning courses that deliver all course content online to other courses that don’t use Blackboard at all.  Most courses are somewhere in the middle, though, and use Blackboard as a tool to supplement course instruction.    

Often you can find the course syllabus (a course description and outline) on Blackboard.  Faculty may also use Blackboard in any of the following ways:

  • To distribute reading material

  • To use the discussion board feature

  • To post assignments

  • To receive submitted assignments

  • To post grades

On the first day of the semester, you will be able to log in to Blackboard and see your courses.  If you click on a course and get the error message, This section is not available yet, it means that your course instructor has not activated the Blackboard class.  Just keep checking; if your instructor is going to use Blackboard, you will eventually be able to access the course.

Because understanding Blackboard is an important component to your academic success, take a few minutes to learn more about it using Blackboard Vista Student Tutorial.