Student Life

How to Be a Better Student

See the 10 steps you can take to become the best student. You may find your lifestyle is holding you back from reaching your full, academic potential!

Shawna Newman

December 28, 2022

How to Be a Better Student
Teacher’s pet didn’t make the list.
A college education is no easy feat, and it’s certainly not inexpensive. Whether you’re worried about securing your seat in a specific college program, you’re a community college student concerned about the admissions records necessary to move to a bigger university, or you’re a high school senior focused on financial aid—United States students have a lot on their plate!
Review the following steps, which outline simple changes you can make, and soon you'll be on your way to becoming the good student you've always wanted to become. Below is how to become a better student in 10 steps:

  1. Set short-term and long-term goals.
  2. Goals, both short- and long-term, are a great way to measure your success. If you don’t have goals insight, you have nothing to achieve or strive for. in your courses. If you set concrete goals for yourself, it’s easier to become motivated and measure your success in those goals. Maybe you want to achieve a good grade in math or English course? Whatever your goal is be sure to write them down—and be specific. For instance, I want to earn at least a B in my Calculus course. Make sure your goals are realistic and measurable! While you should challenge yourself, you shouldn't set yourself up for failure, either. Remember, you can always set higher goals once you've achieved your first set. Here’s an important part: Place your written goals in a place you look at or pass by often. Consider them your mantra.

  3. Create a study schedule and stick to it.
  4. Scheduling is vital to maintaining a healthy learning balance and keeping up with rigorous courses.

  5. Know When to Ask for Help.
  6. If you’re awake and alert, you’re certainly more likely to absorb information given in class, during study sessions and in class activities and participation. Think of it as an equation: awake + alertness = A’s. In addition to attending class, there are a variety of resources available to aid students in thriving and achieving in class. There are many free resources in college and high school that students are not aware of—and we’re not just talking the library. These free student services could include, career centers, tutoring, editing or paper review, and even mental health counseling services at some schools. School resources are abundant and students who take advantage of such resources are much more likely to succeed.

  7. Attend Class.
  8. This should be common sense – if students go to class, they will likely become more successful in the course. Obviously, the course material is presented during class periods and students that are paying attention tend to learn while in class and, thus, are more likely to perform well on exams.

  9. Embrace self-care routines and stay active.
  10. Self-care is beginning to become a social norm for students. With many celebrities focusing on the importance of mental health awareness, more Millennial and GenZ students are comfortable looking within to beat stress before it becomes too much. Rare Beauty’s Mental Health 101 Campaign adds, “7 out of 10 Gen Zers were most likely to report experiencing common symptoms of depression...” It’s important to have the ability to notice when you’ve overcommitted or just need a break to take care of yourself. Make self-priority a focus...even as a student. Create a life outside of academics, like participation in extracurricular activities, such as intramural sports or college clubs. Extracurricular activities increase a student’s overall college experience, contribute to the learning process, and exercise can help you feel happier.

  11. Create healthy study habits.
  12. Your study techniques for proper exam preparation need to be healthy ones. Study techniques considered “healthy” include balance, time-management and avoiding all-night study “cram” sessions. Information is certainly easier to absorb when reviewed in increments, rather than procrastinating until the last minute. Try a new study strategy for finals week!

  13. Take good notes and review them later.
  14. Listening and taking notes actively during class not only ensures the recording of accurate information, but also reinforces the information through recording the information as you take it in. It's helpful to go over your note after class and either rewrite them or outline the key information while it's still fresh in your mind. You'll find it's easier to understand your notes and retain information, come exam time.

  15. Find your tribe.
  16. Collaborating with other students is a great way to learn - if you're sure to choose students who you'll stay on task with. Try finding various students in your class, rather than friends you already have. It can expand your social group and you're more likely to stay focused on the schoolwork. Students who form study groups with one another can often learn more through learning by teaching. When students explain concepts to one another, they can learn and absorb the information more easily. Try an element of fun to find your tribe; consider using your use zodiac sign to better understand your strengths and weaknesses as a student.

  17. Take on a manageable course load.
  18. When taking on a well-balanced course load, students are more likely to succeed because of realistic expectations in the workload that can be handled successfully. Talk with your high school counselor or college academic adviser to know what the hardest classes are. Use your school's guidance to help you plan the best schedule. Don’t create a semester schedule full of the hardest classes! You’ll experience burn out.

  19. Participate in class and communicate with your teacher or instructor.
Going to class is one thing but paying attention and participating in class is another. If you listen to the lessons, questions are likely to arise. If they come up in class, ask! If you’re too shy in a large class, wait and ask the professor after class or during office hours. It’s important to know, however, that if you’ve got a question, it’s likely that other students have the same question as well. Whatever you do, DO NOT wait until it comes time to study for the exam! What other tips do you have to become a better student?

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