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Seven Habits of Highly Successful College Students

May 17, 2017
These 7 habits of highly successful college students will help you achieve academic success!

Success breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success.  One arena where this is particularly true is in college academics.  If you have ever wondered why some students appear to be shrouded in a glassy calm before an exam while others seem racked by nervous energy, wonder no more.  Students who consistently perform well in their classes are not simply smarter than everyone else.  They simply hold themselves to higher standards and engage in practices that bring them success.  This article will list seven habits of highly successful college students, some of which are rather obvious while others are more subtle.   

1. Show up to class 

The first habit of highly successful college students is very obvious.  They show up to class.  Professors take attendance, and absences can negatively influence a student's participation grade.  While college teachers do appreciate their paychecks, they often become teachers because they have a passion for the material.  Students who do not show up to class are implying that they do not care what the teacher has to say about the given material.  Teachers are normal people who like to be appreciated and resent when they are not.  Additionally, any information covered while the student was absent that appears on tests will undoubtedly be a source of consternation and incorrect answers for that student. 

2. Take notes in class 

The second obvious habit of highly successful college students is that they take notes in class.  While everyone would like to have a memory that retained everything they wished it would, studies show that people retain less than half of what they hear.  Taking notes makes the student listener a more active participant in the lectures they hear.  The action of taking notes also forces the student to follow the logical track that the teacher is following.  Teachers are paid to write lesson plans that disseminate information in a logical, organized fashion.  Notes on a lecture should in some form resemble the lesson plans of the teacher. 

3. Do the assigned homework 

Yet another obvious habit of successful college students is that they do the assigned homework.  Homework can be time-consuming and tedious, but if a student wishes to do well in a class and understand where the teacher is leading them, then they need to complete the homework that the teacher assigns. 

While these first three habits are rather obvious, the following four habits of highly successful college students are more subtle. 

4. Sit in the front row 

The college classroom can be an environment rife with distractions.  From students browsing Facebook on their laptops to students talking to each other while the teacher is lecturing, it can be difficult to concentrate on what the instructor is saying.  Habit four of highly successful college students is that when possible they sit in the front row.  Invariably those who sit in the front row achieve better grades and are more engaged in the classroom than those who sit in the back of the class.  This holds true for most grade levels, but especially in college where students are expected to hold themselves accountable.  If your goal is to graduate with a stellar GPA then you will want to place yourself physically in a position in each class that eliminates as many distractions as possible. 

5. Be active participant in your classes

Piggybacking on the previous recommendation to utilize seating arrangements for more engagement in the classroom, habit five of highly successful college students is that they force themselves to be active participants in their classes.  Potential for embarrassment at having said the wrong thing is a great motivator for taking the time to come to class prepared and well-informed.  By forcing themselves to share their opinions and answer questions in front of their peers, highly successful college students provide themselves with additional motivation for completing their assignments.  An aspect of active participation that works in the favor of highly successful college students is that their participation is appreciated by their teachers.  Teachers cover the same material semester-after-semester, or quarter-after-quarter, and appreciate when someone else is willing to break the monotony of that cycle by sharing what may be a fresh opinion.  Additionally, participation shows interest, and there are few things more important to teachers than that their students show some interest in the material. 

6. Stay after class and talk to teachers about the material

Habit five builds good will between professor and student, and habit six of highly successful college students advocates further developing this relationship.  The age-old image of a student bringing a shiny red apple to their teacher still applies, but in college the apple is of a different nature.  Students who do well in their classes stay after class and talk to teachers about the material.  They make queries looking for clarification.  Again, the grade a student receives can be directly linked not only to their performance in the class but also to the level of interest they demonstrate in the material.  College teachers spend at least six years of their lives acquiring the necessary degrees to be afforded the opportunity to stand in front of a classroom and discuss the subjects that they find interesting.  Although teachers are incredibly busy and have tight schedules, they are always appreciative of students who demonstrate an interest in drawing upon the knowledge that they have accumulated. 

7. Remember you are working for your future

The final habit of highly successful college students is not a practice but a frame of mind.  College workloads can be overwhelming, and sometimes it can be difficult to envision the payoff for all of your hard work.  Students who do well regularly remind themselves that they are working for their future.  They see college as a worthwhile investment of their time and energy.  They refuse to believe that the reward upon completion of their education will be anything but what they are hoping for.  Keeping this sense in their mind, they are able to overcome any and all roadblocks that may present themselves along the way and are able to not only complete their education but distinguish themselves while doing so. 

Completing college takes a great deal of time and money.  It makes sense, therefore, to do well and make the process as simple as possible.  By utilizing these seven simple steps, virtually anyone should be able to perform well in college and get the grades that they feel they deserve.

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