Five Habits For Academic Success in College

Do your teachers in high school ever warn that college is nothing like high school in terms of academics? For the most part, they’re right! Learning in college is a lot different than learning in K-12, with the biggest contrast stemming from an increased level of autonomy and self-discipline on the student’s part. Starting your freshman year, you will build habits that will carry on through the next 4-5 years of your undergrad. If you start off strong with the right set of habits, you can increase your chances of academic success. Here are five habits that will help you keep those grades up:

  • 1) Talk to your professor regularly. I remember being very intimidated by my professors my freshman year of college. They were “real college professors” and I was convinced that they wouldn’t have time for me considering they had hundreds of students to attend to. I was wrong. In one of my classes, attending office hours was part of my grade, so I had to get to know my professor, and I realized that they’re here to help! Professors really want students to meet with them and take advantage of their office hours. When you talk ot them, you’ll find that they’re more than willing to answer your questions and will even give you tips on how to study for their exams. It’s definitely a grade booster to talk to your professor on a regular basis.
  • 2) Plan ahead. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I devised a new system of planning ahead for myself. I had a monthly calendar where I would write down major events for the month, including midterm exam dates and paper due dates. I had a weekly planner where I would write down assignments and meetings for the week. And everyday I would write a list of things I needed to take care of for the day. It worked wonders for my time-management skills and overall organization. I was never caught by surprise with unanticipated deadlines and assignments. Professors will usually hand out a course syllabus at the beginning of the quarter or semester, so I strongly recommend writing down major due dates on a calendar so you have an idea of when to study.
  • 3) Don’t procrastinate! This is somewhat related to the planning ahead point. Don’t wait until the last minute to do things. Even when I plan ahead, I find myself slacking from time to time. It’s not helpful to put things off. In fact, it adds unnecessary stress to your life. In college there are few times that you can get away with procastinating, because assignments and tests tend to be more detailed and challenging. You need all the time you can get to master the material and perfome well.
  • 4) Collaborate with your peers.  As soon as you can, get to know two or more people in your classes. Exchange e-mails and phone numbers. That way you can get notes if you miss class for whatever reason, and you can set up a study group for midterm and final exams. Study groups are super beneficial, because you learn by teaching others and your peers may have information that you missed.
  • 5) Prioritize aka “Work smart, not hard.” Before explaining this little habit, I will start by saying it’s very important to go to class and complete your assignments. Doing so will only benefit you. However, it’s college and you will find yourself caught up in too many things to do from time to time. If you find yourself short on time and needing to skip a class or assignment, make sure to choose wisely. Some professors take roll and will mark you down for being absent, some assginment scores make up a greater percentage of your final grade then others. Working smart means being able to prioritize some courses over others and knowing which courses allow you catch up at a later time.

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Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga is a second year at the University of California Davis double majoring in Political Science and Communications. When she’s not theorizing about the greater meaning behind her day-to-day experiences on her blog, you can find her on a run, enjoying a blend of the outdoors and her favorite tunes. Pamela loves to read, write, and travel, and hopes to work in the fields of Journalism and Media as a career.
Pamela Nonga

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