Tips for College Students
I grew up in an insular community without a secular education. Seeking the knowledge I was deprived of, I took the GED so that I could enroll in college. When I went to sign up for classes, the advisor asked me what I wanted to major in. "What's a major?" I asked. The advisor laughed until it was clear that I wasn't making a joke.
I quickly gained an excellent reputation among my peers. Although at times felt like I was walking in the dark, I studied real hard. The work paid off in January of 2019 when I graduated with the highest GPA in my major in the history of the college.
Following are my top 25 tips for academic success:
🍏 1. Show Up To Every Class
It's easy to assume that you'll catch up on the material online via your professor's power points, by reading the textbook, etc. However, you may miss valuable information by not being in class. Your professor may mention that a particular topic is or isn't on the exam, add material that isn't included in their online notes or even offer an extra credit assignment.
🍏 2. Don't Be Late For Class
Better yet, arrive early. Professors appreciate students who are always present and punctual. Coming to class late not only disturbs the professor, but also the students around you. If you have trouble waking up early, try scheduling your classes later in the day or consider taking an online class.
🍏 3. Choose Your Seat Wisely
Sitting in front of the classroom will help you pay attention to the lecture.
🍏 4. Participate In Class Discussions (I can't stress this enough!)
Not only will you gain clarity on the topic, but you'll also score bonus points from the professor towards your final grade. Professors adore students who take part in the lecture.
🍏 5. Stay Attentive
Showing up to class isn't enough if you're dozing off or busy texting others. Avoid distractions such as Facebook, Instagram, doing online shopping, etc. I know it's easier said than done. I sometimes get distracted with those things too. Think of your lecture as though you were in a business meeting. Again, your professor will appreciate it, and it'll boost your overall grade.
🍏 6. Take Notes
Taking notes is a way of studying/ remembering material. Moreover, it'll help you narrow down what you need to study during midterms and finals so you won't have to reread an entire textbook (or two).
🍏 7. Catch Up On Lectures Which You've Missed
If you miss a class, make sure to snap a photo of your classmate's notes.
🍏 8. Ask Questions
Don't worry about feeling ignorant or stupid. Chances are, other students have the same question as you. If you don't get an opportunity to ask your question/s during the lecture, then make it a priority to see your professor during office hours. Students who excel in their studies understand that asking timely questions is a crucial factor to success.
🍏 9. Take Advantage Of Office Hours (this is the most valuable tip of all!!!)
Professors are waiting for students to seek out their help during office hours. Take advantage of it! Create a list of questions or topics you'd like to discuss and head on over to their office. Not only will you get one on one guidance, but they may even tell you which topics will (or will not) be on the exam. Moreover, if you make it a priority to see them several times during the semester, they will get to know you better and likely bump up your grade. (True story: I would see my physics professor almost every week during office hours. I was taking Organic Chemistry along with physics during that semester - big mistake. Unfortunately, physics and I didn't quite get along that well. However, when it came to handing in my final exam, the professor made a big star on my paper and mentioned that since I attended his office hours frequently, he'll make sure to give me a good grade. I received an A(-) in that class. I still do not know the first thing about physics.)
🍏 10. Time Management.
Use the time between classes to review your notes, work on your research projects, or finish your homework. Create a study schedule; Write down the subject you'll be studying/ working on, and the time of day you're dedicating towards it. Try not to procrastinate (I know, it's easier said than done). Most importantly, avoid pulling all-nighters.
🍏 11. Don't Cram & Take Breaks
Review the material over several days and in smaller chunks. After a certain point of continuous study, the brain becomes less effective with retaining new information, thereby granting you with inferior results. Take frequent breaks, stretch, get some fresh air. This method of studying will provide your subconscious with the time it needs to process and sort through the information, allowing it to make connections that lead to clearer and better understanding.
🍏 12. Find The Right Study Place
Study in a quiet and calm place such as the library, your bedroom, etc.
🍏 13. Explain It Out Loud
When trying to remember a difficult concept, it may be beneficial if you try hashing it out in your own words. Meet up with a study partner and have them listen to you, or find an empty room and explain it to yourself.
🍏 14. Flashcards
Creating flashcards can be very useful when you need to memorize something. The key to its effectiveness is using it throughout the course. Take it with you when you know you'll have some time to kill. On the bus, train, at the doctor's office, etc. and instead of (or in addition to) playing on your phone, review the cards.
🍏 15. Keep Your Body Moving
Exercise is great for keeping your mind sharp. Instead of sitting, try walking while you're studying. If you can't do that, then take a study break and go for a quick jog or do some jumping jacks.
🍏 16. Set Priorities
Set your priorities straight and don't be afraid to cut back on activities and social gatherings. Being a part of 5 clubs, volunteering, doing an internship, as well as excelling in your studies, can be very stressful. It's okay to drop an activity or two and spend more time on what's most important to you.
🍏 17. Avoid Time Wasters
Don't spend all night binge-watching the latest show, or playing Xbox. You'll regret it the next day.
🍏 18. Get Some Sleep
Get enough rest before exams. If your brain is well-rested, it'll be sharper, and you'll do better on the exam. Especially since the brain needs sleep to properly process and recall the information which you've recently learned.
🍏 19. Read The Instructions
When taking an exam, make sure to read the instructions carefully. You don't want to be halfway through the exam and realized that you must start all over again.
🍏 20. Turn In All Assignments
Try to complete assignments on time. However, it's better to hand it in late than not at all. If you're struggling with sticking to the due date - for a legitimate reason, then talk to your professor. They may grant you an extension. Make sure that you discuss it with them in advance, and not the day it's due (obviously).
🍏 21. Use Email Etiquette
When sending an email to a professor, do not address them by their first name. Use their title i.e., Professor, Dr., etc. (don't start with "yo, whassup?"... they're not your bro 😉 they're your professor)
Also, DO NOT USE ALL CAPS. i.e., HEY, I NEED AN EXTENSION FOR THE LATEST ASSIGNMENT.
🍏 22. Get To Know Your Professor
Professors can be incredible resources when it comes to networking, internships, and finding other great opportunities. They can also provide you with glowing recommendation letters. The critical part is to make a genuine connection. Be respectful. Don't be fake or super 'cutesy.' Visit them during office hours to discuss topics of interest and projects they might be working on. The value of having a great relationship with the right professor is limitless.
🍏 23. Practice Gratitude
If you've enjoyed the class, let the professor know about it. They will have an easier time remembering you for future references, recommendation letters, internships, and even jobs. Practicing gratitude will serve you well in the long run! #practicegratitude
🍏 24. Show Appreciation
If your professor has written a recommendation letter, send them a "thank you" email - even better would be a handwritten note! If you get accepted to whatever you've applied for, then let them know!
🍏 25. Pursue Your Passion
With all the core requirements and prerequisites, it's difficult to forget those topics that genuinely interest you. Try to take one course per semester on a topic that truly interests you, something you're good at. It will infuse joy, confidence, and positivity in your college journey.
💪Most importantly remember that you've got this!!!