While college is certainly a time to have fun, make new friends and learn about yourself and the person you would like to become, we can’t forget about the real reason for attending an institution of higher education — academics.
In order to help ensure that your academic studies receive the attention they deserve, we’ve compiled a number of useful tips from some of our student guide pages and past blog posts. With this advice in your back pocket, you can hopefully tackle homework assignments, midterms and finals with ease and embark on the path to academic success.
1. Find out what kind of studying works best for you.
While there are some people for whom studying in groups works, it’s not for everyone. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you’re chatting with a group of classmates, you’re studying for your upcoming exam.
Studying is often best done alone, and in a quiet place. Your college library is just one of the many quiet study spaces you can make use of on campus.
2. Schedule classes around your habits.
While early morning classes may be right for some people, they’re certainly not right for everyone. If you’re not a morning person, do not sign up for 8 a.m. classes! A very common mistake students make in the first semester of college is scheduling classes for when they are least productive. If you’re trying to achieve academic success and your brain isn’t fully active until after noon, make sure that you’re not doing any heavy thinking before then.
3. Consider listening to books.
Depending on your class load and college major, you may have bitten off more than you’re used to in terms of reading. If you find yourself strapped for time, rather than read each book, simply put on your headphones and listen to the book on tape while doing something else. While this may not be available for college textbooks, it works great for novels.
4. Set goals for yourself.
A good way to start off each semester is by setting an academic goal for yourself. Have you always wanted to make the dean’s list? Do you want to raise your GPA by a few points? Make it happen! And the goals don’t always have to be about grades. Finally take on that tough language course you’ve been putting off, or commit to a club that you’ve been thinking about joining. Success in college depends a great deal on the individual — make your goals work for you.
5. Rewrite your notes.
When studying for finals, many students simply reread their notes enough times to feel like they’ve retained as much as they possibly could. Paving a path toward success on college exams means taking it a step further — rewrite your notes, by hand! For some reason, the physical act of writing out the information helps you retain and organize it in your mind. And if you happen to be a good notetaker, it’ll be even easier!
6. Don’t procrastinate.
I know it’s difficult when we are inundated with so many opportunities for distraction (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), but resist the urge to procrastinate! Whether it comes to studying, scheduling your classes for next semester or buying books, you are best off diving in right away. You’re going to have to take care of your academic responsibilities at one point or another, so take some initiative and save yourself the stress of scrambling to finish everything at the last minute.
7. Balance work with play.
Knowing how to achieve academic success in college doesn’t just mean knowing how to get good grades. On the other hand, “playing hard” doesn’t just mean going to parties. You have to know how to keep yourself fulfilled both emotionally and creatively. Make sure that you have a healthy outlet for whatever creative juices are flowing inside of you — paint, keep a journal, join a fencing class — whatever! Just make sure it keeps you happy and gives you something to look forward to outside of academics.