Success Tips

The Manoa Sophomore Experience sent out a campus-wide email at the end of the Fall 2014 semester, asking students to submit advice they’d learned from their time at UHM. We received an overwhelming number of tips–over 2000!–from 220 students of all majors and class standings. Sorting through the tips was no easy task, but we managed to narrow them down to the top 10 in 10 categories. Hopefully these tips help enhance your experience at UHM!



  1. Go in for academics advising to do a graduation plan! This really helped me determine how long it would take me to graduate and what classes to take to fulfill requirements.
  2. Don’t be pressured to pursue 15 credits in a semester. If you feel as though you need to take 12 credits in a semester to be able to concentrate and do better, go for it!
  3. Always have a back-up plan. Try to take required classes as early as possible, just in case you are unable to get a class you need to graduate, you won’t have to panic or extend your graduation one more semester.
  4. Be realistic about your time. Saving money by taking 19 credits in a semester may not be worth the stress and lack of sleep you may undergo, depending on the difficulty of the classes you enroll in or your work/extracurricular schedule.
  5. Speak with an academic advisor about what classes to take. It is helpful to know what you need to graduate from Manoa and from your major. If you are an undecided major then advising would be great because you will know what graduation requirements you need and you can take those classes instead of taking random classes.
  6. Educate yourself with registration, scheduling and what classes you need. Advisors can only help you so much. The more you take on the responsibility of figuring out what you need, the more successful you will be.
  7. It’s always best to plan ahead on what classes you’re planning to take about halfway through the semester. I always found it helpful to plan with my counselor to see all the possible routes I could take. Also, is your best friend. It’s the best way to get an honest opinion of the professors you’re planning on taking. Compare their learning styles and determine which professor best suits yours.
  8. Get to know your professors so they, in turn, will get to know you.
  9. Check your email regularly. UHM sends emails regarding specific deadline dates. Additionally, this is a major form of communication with your professor, so you’ll have to get used to it anyway.
  10. If a teacher asks for volunteers for a project outside of class, seriously consider doing it if your schedule permits. This will help develop your professional relationship with your teacher, as well as your classmates if it is a group volunteer project. It may also give you valuable experience in your area of interest, if it is an opportunity in a class from your major.


  1. Try the introductory course of a major you are interested in.
  2. Pick what makes you happy. It’s better to be set back a couple years instead of being stuck doing a job you hate for the rest of your life.
  3. Talk to an advisor, they don’t bite.
  4. Look at the requirements for the major and see if you can handle it.
  5. Think about your interests and sit down with a counselor to discuss the numerous options available to you. It helps.
  6. Don’t be afraid to change your major. As you go through college, you’re exposed to new experiences and concepts that shape what you may want to do.
  7. Do what you love and love what you do. Plain as that. If you major in something you hate, it’s only natural that you’re not going to enjoy it, especially if you have that as your mindset. Also keep in mind, the difference between the requirements for a B.A. and a B.S. for students that want to try and grad a little earlier, or even be able to double major, a B.A. would be better suitable than a B.S.
  8. Consider all the things that interest you and try to pick one that makes you think, “I could really do this for the rest of my life.”
  9. Don’t stress out if you don’t exactly know what you want to major in.
  10. Changing your major more than once is okay. I changed mine three times my freshman year. #NoShame.


  1. Career Center: career advising, FOCUS testing, use resources to look at different career areas
  2. School/college can refer you to internships and opportunities
  3. Shadow/intern with a professional in your area of interest to gain experience
    1. Network/speak to professionals/fellow students/professors in your career of interest to ask them questions
  4. Take advantage of clubs, internships and job opportunities on campus
  5. Job fairs on campus
  6. Resume building workshops and career workshops
  7. Take a variety of classes in your interest areas
  8. Hone the skills that will benefit your career (i.e. communication, critical thinking, etc.)
  9. Think about what truly interests you and your passions. Don’t just think of the money.
  10. Have an open mind. Explore all possibilities.


  1. Beef up your resume during your college career. Scholarship committees like to see you are doing well in academics but also that you are gaining experience and are involved in the community.
  2. Don’t buy textbooks till you know they will be necessary for your classes.
  3. Give yourself a weekly allowance you don’t spend all your money at once
  4. Most food places give a student discount. It never hurts to ask!
  5. Scholarships may seem like a hassle when you’re applying, but in the end they will definitely be worth every second you spend applying!
  6. Consider making home lunch. Eating out everyday may be more convenient but it is also costly.
  7. Needs versus wants: spend money on only what you need and not what you want.
  8. Plan your day ahead of time. If you know what you need to spend money on ahead of time, you’ll be less tempted to spend on other things.
  9. Save money by turning in the FAFSA on time so you have a greater chance to receive as much financial aid as possible. It really does help to turn in the FAFSA!
  10. If you are looking for a job, I would definitely recommend looking for something on campus. It pays more, is often more convenient (if you live on campus) and is also a good way to make friends and get know other people on campus as well.


  1. Respect other residents in your residence halls
  2. Communication is important with roommates, RA’s, friends, etc. Make your living situation as comfortable as possible, after all, it’s your temporary home. It’s important to stay healthy because it can have an impact in school, work, and other facets of life.
  3. Make life easy on yourself. Try to do laundry before you actually need to have laundry done.
  4. You don’t always have to stay on campus. Explore the islands a bit.
  5. Know your payment schedule for housing.
  6. Research each dorm or housing offered before deciding on one.
  7. Value your alone time
  8. Use all of your meals per week to minimizing wasting money.
  9. See what kind of utilities the front desk offers.
  10. Know where your resident assistant lives in case of emergencies or questions.


  1. Reserve your parking pass as soon as you register for classes
  2. Utilize your bus pass
  3. If you don’t have a parking pass, go early to park in the structure
    1. If you pay to park in the structure, you can use the
  4. Carpool parking pass, split the cost with a friend
  5. Neighborhood parking, come early, allot enough time to search
  6. Parking on campus is expensive—$2/20 minutes
  7. Off-campus paid parking: Wesley Foundation, Japanese Cultural Center, Korean Church
  8. If the lower-campus parking structure is full, try the Hawaiian Studies parking structure
  9. Do not park your moped on the sidewalk, HPD will give you a $30 ticket
    1. Biomed Moped Parking: don’t park outside the railings or you’ll get a ticket
    2. Lock your moped. Thefts are at an all-time high.
  10. Safety: Be careful when walking to your vehicle at night.
    1. Never leave valuables out in the open in your car


  1. List of organizations at the following:, academic departments, off-campus, talk to professors
  2. Get involved in something you enjoy
  3. Join a Registered Independent Organization that interests you or create your own
  4. Attend the student involvement fair
  5. Consider leadership positions
  6. Keep your other commitments in mind, do not over-involve yourself or stress yourself out, you’re a student first
  7. Join a Chartered Student Organization (CSO) and get a stipend for your service
  8. Benefits: look great on CVs and resumes, networking, connection to future jobs, improve interpersonal skills, develop professional skills
  9. Check out the campus events calendar on MyUH, the SLD website and the UHM homepage
  10. Sports: attend a free sporting event, intramurals, KRS classes, Warrior Recreation Center, dodgeball tournaments/weightlifting competitions


  1. Outdoors: hike, beach, surfing, sailing, diving, snorkeling, spearfishing, GoPro photography
  2. Rent equipment or take lessons from Student Recreation Services
  3. Live like a tourist: North Shore, Waikiki, Hanauma Bay, shop at Ala Moana, shave ice, eat a poke bowl, talk to locals for more tips
  4. Certain places give discounts to students
  5. Try new restaurants, try Hawaiian food
  6. Explore. Don’t pass up chances to do things that kids going to school elsewhere would love to be doing.
  7. Carpool (chip in for gas)
  8. If you live in the residence halls, the RAs offer a lot of activities like hikes, trips to Ice Palace or the beach
  9. Resources: Yelp, Ka Leo newspaper
  10. Visit the neighbor islands with friends


  1. Check your email! That’s how you’ll find out about 80% of opportunities available on campus
  2. Explore your new environment
  3. Balance is key. Learn what works best of you and always remember to rest, eat healthy, and not neglect your schoolwork too much
  4. Just be. Learn that friendships are going to shift around a lot. Know that you are always the only one you can depend on
  5. Join a club or get an on-campus job
  6. Only think the best of people. Stay clear of judgement. It will open your perspectives to new friendships and social gatherings
  7. Stretch yourself, get outside of your comfort zone, fall, make mistakes. College is a training ground, learn about yourself and others
  8. If you take the bus often (or to avoid lines), get your U-Pass at Campus Center the week prior o school starting
  9. Be open to every opportunity
  10. Don’t stress out thinking too much of the future, just take every day as it comes.


  1. Make sure to take advantage of the campus services and resources such as the recreation center, computer lab and printing sources, and free events! You paid for your education here and you should get as much out of it.
  2. Campus security escort service (956-6911)
  3. Learning: LAC, tutoring, KOKUA, writing center, Learning Emporium, library tools
  4. Health: Health Promotions, counseling, health center, pool, Warrior Recreation Center (gym and free fitness classes)
  5. UH Shuttle services
  6. Advising: Manoa Career Center, academic advising, PAC, talk to your RA’s, Financial Aid office, Native Hawaiian Student Services, Women’s Center, LGBT office
  7. Fun: clubs, retailers, and more at Campus Center tables; concert or event tickets
  8. Finals: Campus Center Cram Jam (free energy drinks, snacks and coffee), Sinclair open 24 hours/day
  9. Read campus emails for the latest updates and event invitations
  10. Printing is cheaper at the Campus Center computer lab (vs. at library computers)