Congratulations on taking a major step towards achieving success by enrolling in college. As any new or returning student will soon discover, there are several new obstacles that you will need to adapt to in order to get ahead. Although it’s true that some things never change, here are 10 habits that every college student should form.
1. Be Organized
Organization is one way to prevent overlooking assignments, due dates and exams. Well-written notes, textbooks and handouts make studying much easier since you have clear documentation on what you need to know. Online textbooks are a great way to keep required materials accessible at any given time, allowing you to keep everything centralized in one place while also providing you with more work space.
Many students find eTextbooks to be a useful way of studying and staying organized. Research papers typically require multiple sources, many facts, examples and citations. Keeping it all straight can help when you finally have enough to start writing. Knowing where to begin for something as rigorous as a research paper allows you to both do it well and not waste time.
2. Get to Know Your Professors and their Assistants
It helps to know your professors and TA’s to do well in college. The relationship proves to be a vital tool, especially in classes that are difficult for you. Most professors and their assistants have hours posted as well as sign-up sheets to schedule one-on-one sessions. It’s an excellent opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback on pending assignments both during and after class.
3. Schedule/Manage Tasks
Coursework that comes with taking several classes can seem daunting. It is handy to have a calendar-type notebook and plan the day with related assignments that need to be started, continued or completed and also noting completion dates for assignments, tests, exams, etc. Starting early on long or difficult projects means more time to make them great and get help along the way.
4. Set Goals and Challenge Yourself
Setting goals and challenging yourself means you aren’t settling for grades, assignments or tests that you will regret later. If you push yourself and set realistic goals, like successful students in the first year of attendance at University of Notre Dame, you will know you did your best every time. Setting goals can be short term like learning one section of material that will be on the next test or long term like specific semester grades.
5. Study Groups
These make an excellent way to study for difficult classes. Studying in a group can give you a new or different perspective on the material. Students have their own way of learning and your professor’s way of teaching a topic may not be as helpful for you as one used by your classmate. Subjects you don’t understand might be understood by someone else and instead of wasting time by yourself trying to get it, another student can work with you. Peers might also be more available and have more time to work with you than your professor.
6. Learn from Mistakes and Feedback
Being unwilling to be flexible in what or how you do something can make being successful throughout college nearly impossible. Learning from mistakes and using criticism or feedback to your advantage will help you improve your work and it will show in your grades.
7. Use Resources
Most colleges, such as Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts, provide Academic and Financial resources on their website to help improve what you get out of college. This can be information related to majors and careers or where to find scholarships.
This means both in class and in general. Participation in class will help you understand what you are learning and help you remember the information that you learned. Participation in clubs and activities can be a way to de-stress, meet people or explore subjects you are interested in outside the classroom.
Sleep is underrated but a very important part of doing well. There are known effects of sleep deprivation on cognition. Exhaustion can make learning challenging at best and you may find yourself needing to revisit topics you already covered.
Getting distracted or discouraged is easy. If you give up then college will never be a rewarding learning experience. Students who do best throughout college are the ones who continue to try even when the classes are challenging.