Nine ways to succeed in college

Good advice as we start Finals Week!

College creeps up on many unsuspecting victims, leaving them anxious and confused about what to do next.

This anxiety only makes it harder to step back and make a plan for success. 

Whether you are a senior in high school or a junior in college, the pressure of college life can be daunting. 

Lucky for you, I am here to help!

These nine steps are all you need to dodge anxious confusion and ace your college experience. 

First impressions matter.


A positive first impression is always a good thing, but in college, it could be the difference between a pass or fail grade. It is important to take time out of your day to get to know and bond with your professors. 

Reports from the International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology state that if professors believe they are similar to a student, they are more likely to grade them positively compared to students they feel no similar connection.

They are human too and everyone likes to feel like they have something in common with someone else, so never miss a chance to impress.

Sit down and pay attention.


Paying attention in class ensures that you will never miss a beat. 

Harvard Business Review asked top executives of a major manufacturing plant in Chicago to survey how listening still plays a role in their jobs today. 

They all reflected on the fact that listening would have solved a lot of their problems. 

It can solve yours too.

Listening in class not only helps you stay focused during a long class but helps you better understand the material and avoid silly errors.    

Schedule everything.


Scheduling for when homework is due is great, but it does not incorporate everything else you have going on. 

It is important to schedule out meals, fun activities, club meetings as well as when you will do all the homework you have due. 

The Hour Insider reported on a new wave of scheduling that was helping millions succeed.

It is called block scheduling, which allows you to block out large parts of your days to get certain tasks done and improve productivity.  

Ask loads of questions.


Asking questions in class allows you to own your college classes.

Bay Area Medical Academy states that “Asking your instructor questions will clarify what you are being taught, increase your knowledge about a topic, single you out as a student who likes to participate in class and show commitment to and interest in your education.” 

These are only a few of the benefits they mentioned and they can be all yours with just a raise of your hand. 

Expand your attention span


Art Markman, the writer for
Fast Company News, states that monitoring your internal and external factors can improve your attention span.

He states that the number of internal factors is lack of sleep. Getting more sleep will help you be able to pay attention and focus longer. 

The No. 1 external factor that should be controlled is our technology. Markman states that if we turn off our devices while trying to focus, our attention span can be lengthened.   

Make friends with people who do their homework.


Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and no, this is not because they can give you the answers. 

This key to success is motivation. Surrounding yourself with achievers will push you to succeed as well.

An article titled Surround Yourself with Success–You Are Who You Hang Out With, uses a quote by Booker T. Washington: “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” 

The article advises that if you want something, be around people who already have it. 

This goes for your studies as well, if you want to succeed be around people who are doing their work, going to class, getting the grades and succeeding.    

Collect weak ties and a lot of them


Author of the book
The Defining Decade,” Meg Jay discusses heavily in her book about the importance of weak ties. 

Weak ties are people you know but not as well as you know your best friends. 

You should take advantage of weak ties and reach out to the ones who are doing things you want to do. 

These people could be professors, mentors or managers of an old job you used to have. They will help you succeed.

Get social with strong ties


Annalise Parady with Arizona State University wrote an article talking about the
importance of strong and weak ties.

“Strong ties developed within an organization create support between employees that foster a positive work environment and a sense of team cohesion,” Parady states.

This positive work environment and a sense of team cohesion leave people less likely to feel alone. This does not just matter in the workplace, these same ideas apply for college students.

Going out on the weekend with people you connect with helps blow off steam and builds bonds many students so badly need to make it through the tough times of college. 

Always have a basic plan for your future.


Having a basic plan for your future is always a good idea but is especially important while in college. 

In an article with Let’s Make A Plan, the idea of thoughtfully planning for your future is heavily talked about.

This article offers three things – share your goals with others, set realistic resolutions and take small steps forward. 

Constantly trying to figure out what you like to do and what major could get you into that field is the best way to ace college. 

Allowing yourself to plan for the future not only gives you hope for the success that one day you will have, but also give you the tools to stay on track and graduate in a field you love.  

by Catherine Flanders

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