Want Student Success in College?

What is student success in college? What does it mean? How do I achieve it so that I can have the college success I want?

These might seem like fleeting questions, but there are some simple habits and principles that, if applied, will produce success in college.

If I were to define student success, I think I would say:

Student Success/noun/: doing the things you need to in order to get the grades you need to get the degree you want.

I assume you can fill in the rest...(to get a job that will make more money, make a difference, etc.) Truly, this definition is going to be different for every student.

Even though there is no ONE WAY to find success in college, there are some things that have helped me, and I am sure many college students before me, to succeed!

Try each of these tips and find which ones work best for you. Then, implement those on a consistent basis. You'll find out quickly that consistency is the name of the game when it comes to success in college.

The Areas Contributing to Student Success in College

While there are many areas worth mentioning (probably too many to mention for the scope of this web-page), there are only a few on which I want to focus. These are the areas:

  • How you use your time before, during, and after class
  • Your specific learning style
  • Time management (we'll get to this in a minute)
  • Study habits
  • Leisure time (ah, the one everyone loves)

All of these areas of your life are important and all link together to help you have student success in college.

Don't over think or spend a ton of time on these areas. The important thing is to try the suggestions I give you, and then stick with what works for you.

Why Did I Have to Bring Up Time Management?!

If you manage your time well as a college student, you will never have to CRAM (which is a terrible way to learn for long term retention and test taking anyway), you will never have to do an all nighter to get a paper done, and you will have time to do the things you want to!

Plus, you can overcome test anxiety and avoid college stress.

My suggestion would be to get a planner (<--Amazon affiliate link, thank you!). It doesn't have to be some super efficient time management system (unless you like those)! But, it does have to be something where you can write down assignments and other must do items.

Have Weekly Planning

When you get your planner, take a few minutes each week (Sunday evenings work very well) and:

  1. see what assignments are due that week, 
  2. decide when you are going to work on them, and
  3. figure out how it will all work with your school classes, work, & leisure time.

Then, live by that schedule flexibly.

Time management a big key to student success in college!

Go to Class (if you really want an A)

As difficult as it may seem to get out of bed to get to those early morning classes, it is a must to go to class to have student success in college. Just plan on attending every time.

What to do Before Class

Before you go to class, take a few minutes to read the material you will be covering from the textbook. This can be done efficiently by following along with the course syllabus. Read what the teacher tells you too (common sense, right). Take a few notes to use for the lecture.

Don't expect to have perfect knowledge and perfect recall of everything you read. Getting it in your mind and then using class lecture to build upon what you read is the repetition your mind needs to learn the material.

What to do During Class

During the class pull out your notes so that you can participate in the discussion. One of the biggest things you can do to get your professors to like you is to be prepared for class and participate in the discussion! Your notes will help you do that.

Ask questions about things you don't understand. Questions are how we learn! A toddler, perhaps one of the greatest examples of learning we have, is constantly asking questions about the world around them! No wonder they learn so much!

Add important insights and ideas to your notes.

What to do After Class

Then, it is a good practice to take a few minutes (maybe 10) to review your notes again later on in the day. This is another exposure to the material and the repetition will help your long-term recall (thus making it easier to prepare for tests).

For a better way to be actively engaged in lectures, try mind-mapping.

Have Consistent Study Habits Outside of Class

Study habits are just that - habits! They are something you do or you don't. Making it a habit to study is good. Making it a habit to study effectively is great!

You need to have consistent, daily study to have student success in college.

There are a few things that you can do to make your study sessions more effective.

Have a Purpose for Each Study Session

The first thing is to have a purpose for studying in each class. Why are you studying this? What for? When will you use it? Why do you need to know it?

Think about when you can actually use this in your life. Or, think about what you already know about the subject and what you think you should know more about it. This becomes your purpose for study.

Looking at the syllabus is a good way to determine a purpose. The teacher will often list the chapters being covered and when. Your purpose many times will be to study the chapter and then answer the assigned questions.

Have a Daily Study Area

The next thing is to have a time and place to study daily. This is where your planner will come in handy! Setting aside a daily time and place (with little or no distractions) will help you get your homework done quicker and with better quality.

You will be the one to determine what time and what place is best to study. My optimum study environment is in the early morning, in a quiet place that has plenty of lighting. The library works great for me.

But, depending on your learning style, maybe a relaxing place with some music playing in the background (not full blast in your headphones) is what works best for you.

Try out several different places and times and figure out what works. Then stick to that! Diligence is a part of having student success in college too.

Take Time For You

You do need to have fun during college too (a definite necessity if you want to have student success in college)! And you can, with good time management.

True freedom doesn't necessarily come from complete control over your time, but the correct management of it. Just as you make time for study and class, you need to make time for fun.

The great news with college is that there are lots of fun activities happenig on campus.  Get involved in clubs and organizations. Find a group of friends to hang out with. Take advantage of campus resources like the on-campus gym and the student union building.

Whatever it is you like to do, make time for it. Giving your mind a break to do something that you like is very good.

Plus, giving your mind some time away from your studies will give it time to "incubate" and process the information that you have been studying, thus helping you to understand and retain it better.

You should take frequent breaks when you study (every 30 minutes or so) to allow this processing time to happen.

In the End

Like I said before, there are many things that contribute to student success in college. Trying these different methods and keeping what works for you is absolutely important.

Remember, your learning style might be different from your roommate. The things that work for him or her might not work for you. Learning what works and what doesn't is part of the learning process. Find out what works best for you quickly!

After you know what works for you, then you just have to keep those study habits going through your senior year (or graduate school). Plus, they will make you a great asset wherever you go to work after your degree.

Just do it, and do it right, and you'll have the student success in college that you want!

What Do You Think About these Tips? Share Your Comments in the Comments Section Below or Share Your Own Success Tips!

Other Great Reads:

What is there to know about freshmen student success in college?

How to Read a Textbook the Right Way

Learn How to Mind Map for Better Retention and Recall of What You Learn

Use Mind Maps to Make Presentations and Speeches

Learn 10 College Study Tips for Success

Learn 7 Great Test Taking Strategies

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