How to Succeed in College: 9 Tips (2023)


Professional development

How to Succeed in College: 9 Tips

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Recognizing your values, creating SMART goals, and knowing your learning style can help put you on the path to college success.

How to Succeed in College: 9 Tips (1)

The secret to success in college is to remember that the idea of ​​success is relative. Because we all have different priorities, goals, and values, your success may look very different from your classmate's success, and yet the two of you can be equally successful.

Whether you are a full-time student on campus or anon-traditional studentBy balancing academic work with work, family or other commitments, college success is within reach. Here they areNine tips to help you reach your goals:

  1. Know your goals and values.

  2. Turn long-term goals into short-term plans.

  3. Go to class and attend office hours.

  4. Develop skills relevant to your course.

  5. Assess your learning style.

  6. Try new things.

  7. Maintain social balance.

  8. Manage your time with intention.

  9. Take care of your health.

Let's take a look at how you can approach each of these tips.

How to Succeed in College

As you read these tips, remember that you can take what resonates, leave what doesn't, and return to areas you want to revisit in the future. There is no "right" path to success, only the right path for you, and you can decide what that path looks like.

1. Know your goals and values.

Recognizing your goals can be a way to visualize your version of success. Recognizing what you are trying to achieve by getting an education can help you shine a light on your values, and you can use those values ​​toyou motivate and youwhile working towards your idea of ​​success.

For example, if your goal is to protect yourgraduationto get a job, then you might realize that you value independence and self-support. Ultimately, your version of success may be achieving independence.

Sticking to your values ​​when interpreting your success can help you stay focused on your individual version of success and avoid falling into comparison traps.

Understand your goals with powerful questions

If you're having trouble determining your goals and values, try asking yourself a few questions.powerful questions. Powerful questions can invite exploration and stimulate deeper thinking. The key is to be honest with yourself and remove judgment. Some examples of powerful questions you can ask yourself are:

- What do I want to get out of college?

- What am I trying to achieve?

- How is success?

- When have I felt successful in the past?

- When I think of a more perfect future version of myself, what do I see?

How to Succeed in College: 9 Tips (2)

Read more:What are your professional goals? how to find out

2.Turn long-term goals into short-term plans.

Now that you have an idea of ​​what success looks like for you, you can start translating your vision into an action plan. Action plans break big goals down into smaller and smaller accomplishments. It helps make those big goals more accessible and gives you a chance to check in with yourself along the way.

One method of distilling long-term goals into short-term plans is to create SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific:Identify your task.

  • Measurable:Determine how you will measure your objective.

  • Realizable:Create realistic goals that you have some control over.

  • Important:Focus on goals that will guide you towards your idea of ​​success.

  • Limited time:Set a deadline for staying on task.

SMART goals can help you stay focused on reaching your end goal in a manageable way.

So if your long-term goal is to earn your college degree, consider the individual requirements you'll need to meet to earn your degree. One of these requirements might include maintaining a specific minimum GPA. Create SMART goals based on things you can control, like the time you spend studying for a class, which could look like this:

“My goal is to start each weekday with an extra hour of study during the first three weeks of school.”

This goal can help guide you toward your target GPA, keeping you focused on one thing you can control: the amount of time you spend studying.

3. Go to class and attend business hours.

No matter your measure of success, a key aspect of getting there is showing up. In terms of academic success, attending classes and during office hours can affect your overall success in many ways.

First, the classroom is often the primary place of learning. If a teacher introduces a new topic, he or she will usually flesh out that topic in class and may include information that is not covered in the textbook. Attendance is your best chance of getting all the information presented. At the very least, establishing yourself as a constant presence in class can show the teacher that you care about doing well.

Take your relationship with your professors and advisors a step further by participating during office hours. Many students use office hours to clear up confusing concepts, find out their grade, get advice on future career goals, or just socialize.

Teachers and advisors have a wealth of knowledge – use it to move closer to your goals. And later, as you prepare for life after college, whether that means going to graduate school or applying for a job, these are the people you might one dayask for a letter of recommendation.

How to Succeed in College: 9 Tips (3)


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4. Develop skills relevant to your course.

As you work towards your degree, you may notice that certain types of assignments pop up over and over again. An English student may have to write many essays, while a chemistry student may work on countless lab reports, and a math student may take exams that require memorizing complex equations.

If your measure of success involves academic performance, consider improving the skills you are tested on most often. Look at how you can build on your strengths, and try not to judge your perceived flaws. To help you with your areas of improvement, your school or department may have other peer review resources available to students, such as writing workshops or group study sessions.

The benefit of improving your academic skills is likely to extend after you earn your degree: often the skills that enable you to succeed academically in your major are also the skills that will emerge as you pursue a career in a related field.

How to Succeed in College: 9 Tips (4)

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5. Assess your learning style.

Each person's brain processes information slightly differently. Find out how you learn best and whatstudy habitsthat suit your learning style can help build confidence in your ability to succeed academically.

To help figure out when you work best, think of a test or job you did well at. What did you do to prepare? In what kind of environment did you complete your work? How much time did you spend on homework? Did you study alone or in a group?

Study Tips for People with ADD, ADHD, or Other Neurodiversity

Certain forms of neurodivergence can get in the way of commonly suggested study tips. If you suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or any neurodiversity, you may benefit from additional study techniques. Here are some suggested tips [1]:

- Develop a routine.

- Give yourself more time to study

- take breaks

- rewrite notes

- Stay motivated by writing in the margins, highlighting or reading aloud

- Stay up to date with a to-do list

How to Succeed in College: 9 Tips (5)

6. Try new things.

Academic success is not the only measure of college success. You might want to use your time at school to learn something completely new or pick up skills not fully explored in your other courses.

If you value adventure and exploration, another measure of success can be experience. Are you satisfied with your studies? Are you challenging yourself in exciting ways?

To benefit from the variety of courses your school has to offer, here and there, take classes that look like fun. Use your elective courses to broaden your horizons. Take a minor on a passion subject. It can do wonders for your brain, helping you to overcome fears, stimulate creativity and discover new facets of yourself [2].

How to Succeed in College: 9 Tips (6)


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7. Keep a social balance.

Along with education and experiences, another way to measure success in college is your social life. One of the benefits of college is that you're surrounded by like-minded people who likely have similar goals, even if their values ​​and motivations are slightly different.

As you simultaneously embark on your similar goals, you might want to consider how you can help each other achieve them. In the short term, you can swap notes with a classmate or study for exams together.

Meanwhile, the partnerships you form in college study groups and by participating in clubs and extracurricular activities can become lifelong partnerships. Years after graduation, you can lean on these relationships as you look for new job opportunities or consider other life changes.

8. Manage your time with intention.

Time management is a daily practice. When it comes to achieving success, use your goals to guide how you manage your time, prioritizing the tasks that will keep you on track.

Of course, it's not always realistic to expect your priorities to easily align. Sometimes life happens and other days procrastination can get the best of us. (A US survey of 2,219 people found that 88% of the workforce admitted to procrastinating for at least an hour a day [3]) If you can, it can be helpful to make time in your schedule to deal with the unexpected. Some people schedule early due dates on large projects, while others may schedule a few hours a week to sit with their thoughts.

If you're having trouble prioritizing your college goals, consider whether your lifestyle and needs allow you to achieve your goals the way you currently set them. Don't abandon the right course: There are many options when it comes to earning a university degree and, for some lifestyles, learning part-time orget your degree onlineit can be a more productive environment.

How to Succeed in College: 9 Tips (7)


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9. Take care of your health.

Above all, you cannot achieve success without taking care of yourself. Maintaining your mental and physical health is crucial to reaching your goals, regardless of what those goals entail. For example, lack of sleep can impair your body's ability to function [4].

If you have responsibilities outside of the classroom, such as work or family obligations, balancing your academic and social activities can be challenging. Take space to notice when you feel low, reset priorities as needed, and seek professional help if needed.

How to Succeed in College: 9 Tips (8)


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succeed in college

When you align your actions with your values, you can set yourself up for college success.

Ready to start earning your degree? Consider your goals and lifestyle and take a look atBachelor's Degree Programs on Coursera. Learn at your own pace anywhere, with course options from top universities.

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article sources

1. Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Strategies/Techniques for ADHD,". Accessed May 12, 2022.

2. Smoke pole. "A Look at the Amazing Benefits of Trying New Things,". Accessed May 12, 2022.

3. Medium. "How common is procrastination? A study,". Accessed May 12, 2022.

4. Forbes. "New studies show what sleep loss does to the brain and cognition, Accessed May 12, 2022.

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