Strategies for Academic Success

Academic success in a college or university is part of a larger picture of personal success. Listed below are some important things you can do to succeed in your college or university studies.

1. Choose a university that is a good fit for you, one you will like and that offers the field of study you want to specialize in.

2. Ensure you have the finances to cover your educational costs. Calculate the costs of your

education and determine how you will cover your expenses. University costs include tuition and fees, room and board, as well as books, educational supplies, and lab fees. It’s also important to set aside money for vacations and recreation so you can pace yourself properly during your years of study.

3. Make your education your most important priority. An education is the single most important personal investment anyone can make. During your years of study your primary goal is to succeed in your studies and build a solid foundation for future success.

4. Set goals for yourself. Set academic, personal, and career goals for your university years. What will you want to have achieved by the time you graduate? Discuss your goals with older and successful students who have chosen the same specialization as you have. Find out what they did to succeed and what their own goals and plans are.

5. Optimize the hours available to you each day, each week, and each academic semester. Draw up a schedule for your day, your week, and your semester. Set aside important time for individual study, group study, exercise, rest, sleep, and time with friends. Study each and every day.

6. Develop and internalize effective study habits. Set aside periods of time each day for study and study when you are most energetic and alert.Many courses require you to develop skills as well as retain knowledge. Mastery of skills requires practice and practice requires time. Regular, daily, and short sessions of 60 minutes in length can be more productive than one long session for mastery of study material and most study assignments. Be an active learner. Write down an outline of the major points in each section, even each page, and then quiz yourself about the points.

7. Develop and maintain good health habits. Learning and mastery requires alertness and energy. Eat a hearty breakfast and regular meals and get sufficient sleep every day. Exercise regularly. Spend quality time with family and friends on a regular basis and take a vacation every year.

8. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Take a course load you can master, taking into consideration your other responsibilities – a course load where you can be fair to the course material and what is required and also be fair to yourself. Students who graduate with high grades have more career and job choices. Students are better off graduating a bit later with high grades than a bit earlier with lower grades.

9. Get to know the other students in each of your classes and form study groups in each of your classes.
Students learn more when they include studying with others in small groups than when doing all their study alone. Join your university’s student chapter of the professional society for your field of specialization. The more experienced students in these organizations can provide study tips, used textbooks, and internship and job information that will help you succeed.

10. Get to know your professors. Visit them after class or at their office. Consult with the professors in your field of specialization.

11. Get to know and regularly meet with your academic advisor. Map out the courses you need and want to take to meet your graduation requirements and discuss your plan and career options with your advisor. Learn the rules and regulations of your university. Can you drop a class? What is the procedure? Must it be done by a certain deadline?

12. Develop your computer skills and your oral and written communication skills. Strong computer and communication skills are among the most important skills necessary for success in almost any profession. Make mastery of these skills one of your goals for your university education.

13. Learn how to make use of your university’s wealth of knowledge. Learn how to use the many resources of your university’s library and nearby museums and archivesto research a topic and identify reliable information.

14. Explore the world around you and make lasting friendships. Your university years are important years not only for academic and professional learning but for personal, cultural, and intellectual growth, and for making lasting friendships.

15. Keep the end goal in mind. University study is difficult; it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Pace yourself, be patient, keep at it; be strong.