So you want to learn how to do well in college?
Whether you’re new to campus or want to take things to the next level this semester, here are 5 tips for student success.
Let’s jump into it.
1. Get 7 Hours of Sleep
It might seem like stating the obvious, but getting enough sleep each night is the key to student success.
Why? When you get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, you’ll perform better at school. Rest keeps you alert, focused, and motivated. On the other hand, sleep deprivation can lead to increased anxiety and stress.
But who doesn’t want to sleep more, anyway?
Well, college isn’t exactly known for its downtime. Late night sessions at the library and all-nighters during exam time aren’t exactly news here. And to be 100% honest, there likely will be times where you find yourself up WAY later than planned to finish working on a project or writing the rest of that paper.
Hey, nobody’s perfect.
But if we’re being real, those late night study sessions can usually be prevented with better planning. Yes, you’re juggling a lot in school. You’re busy running from class to class and balancing homework with extracurricular activities or jobs—but you probably have a little more time than you realize.
So how can you find enough time to get in those zZz’s and stay on top of your studies? Keep reading to find out.
2. Break Up Your Tasks
This student productivity idea has two steps. First, find pockets of time where you can complete some work.
Then break up your major projects into smaller chunks. Instead of trying to cram in 150 pages into one study session, you could read a couple of chapters while you’re waiting for your next class to start.
You might need to reorder your to-do list.
I’ll bet that if you find yourself with 10 minutes to kill, you probably spend it on social media. However, keep in mind those few minutes will add up big time throughout the day. What are some other ways you can squeeze in a small task during that time?
I know you can find some pockets of time in your day if you try hard enough. Because the truth is, another benefit of breaking down your tasks is the big assignments become less overwhelming. For example, when you’re working on a paper. Have you ever found yourself staring at a blank page, struggling to get started? Writer’s block is pretty common.
What if you could cut the amount of time you spend on writing in half by turning that 15-page term paper into a step-by-step process?
Start with gathering research, put it into a thorough outline, and then turn it into a paper. If you flesh out your outline, the paper will nearly write itself. (Seriously, try it out and let us know how it goes!)
When you start using your time more efficiently, you can improve your performance.
How’s that? Let’s go back to the cram session. If you’re trying to read 150 pages in one session, it’s tough. You’ll probably rush through the material and skim through a lot of it, missing out on a lot of information.
At the time same, when you know you only need to read 1 or 2 chapters you’ll feel less pressure to rush through the material.
3. Participate in Class
Believe it or not, your professors want you to learn.
Participating during their lectures will actually help you retain the material better. This is because it forces you to think critically and analyze what your professor is teaching. What’s more, participation makes the class more interesting.
When your professors know you want to learn, they’ll naturally try to help you in any way they can. Class discussions offer you the opportunity to receive feedback from your professors that will help you improve and grow as a student.
Plus, starting conversations leads to a mentor relationship. If something ever DID come up or you made a mistake, your professor will probably be more understanding with a student they know is hard-working.
4. Get Organized
Now, you don’t need a ton of supplies to stay organized. An accordion binder (labeled for each class) and a planner are a great place to begin.
Take these with you to every single class so they’re always handy. Pencil in assignments, exams, and other major due dates into your planner as soon as you find out about them.
Then, take time at the beginning of each week to (roughly) plan things out.
In this case, you’ll be able to see what’s on your agenda ahead of time and go into each week with a game plan.
5. Take Notes (Lots of Them)
You already know you’re supposed to take notes–but I want to offer you one particular piece of advice on note-taking.
Physically write them out. In a notebook during class. Even if your professor gives out printed notes or study guide…take your own. According to NPR, handwriting out notes seems to help your brain retain what you’re learning better than note-taking on a laptop or tablet.
Remember how we said participating in class helps make it more interesting? So does taking notes.
In fact, professors seem to LOVE throwing in extra credit on exams that came directly from lectures. It’s their reward for attending class. It never hurts to take advantage of extra points, right?
Overall, college is learning time management skills. Getting enough rest, organizing your deadlines, and following along in class (through participating and note-taking) are all ways to boost your performance in school.
And breaking down huge projects into smaller tasks will make everything more manageable–and less overwhelming.