Achieving your academic goals often depends on the effort you make, and good students maintain good habits. Whether you’re in elementary school, high school, or college there are plenty of fundamental strategies that will improve your learning capacity and the way you present yourself, both of which are important elements of a successful future. While it’s easy to get distracted or try to play catch-up before a big exam, having a plan that puts you in the best possible position to do well is essential, and there’s no need to put yourself at a disadvantage before classes even start. If you’re not sure how to start on the right foot, let’s go over five habits of successful students.
1. Choose programs and classes that work for you.
If you’re in high school, you’ll probably have the freedom to start choosing some of your classes. You want to take the most challenging classes available to you, within reason. If you push yourself too hard, bad grades won’t be much of a boon. It’s better to take a more moderate class and get high marks than to take a class that’s over your head and do poorly. Still, colleges will notice if you’re only doing the bare minimum.
When choosing a college, don’t be afraid to look at lesser-known schools that specialize in the type of education you’re hoping to receive such as Full Sail University who helps prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry. Not every school specializes in every discipline, so make sure the program you choose is one that’s actually the best fit for your desired future career.
2. Be organized.
Smart students are able to keep track of all their notes and assignments and tend to make it easy for themselves to find old material to call upon when they need it. Have different notebooks for each of your subjects and make use of post-it notes, different colored pens, and other tools like highlighters to make your notes clear and differentiate different topics easily. Consider investing in a planner so you can keep track of when everything is due so you don’t fall behind or find yourself surprised by a test you didn’t prepare for.
3. Dress for success.
No matter what level of school you’re at, the way you present yourself will always be noticed. When it comes time to write recommendation letters or help students pursue a job, teachers will be aware of who shows up looking ready for the next step in their career. For women, if you have an interview, a meeting with a professor, or a formal event to show up to, consider looking at business staples like womens white jackets blazers. For men, a classic suit or tailored pair of slacks with a crisp button-down shirt can do wonders for your professionalism.
4. Take good notes.
Everyone knows that paying attention in class is important, but being able to remember what was said and study it later is just as crucial. You may tell yourself that you’ll be able to remember certain things or that you’ll write them down later, but there’s no substitute for taking thorough notes in class. Taking notes helps you to retain what it is you’re actually learning and will make it easier for you when the time comes to get ready for exams later.
5. Ask questions in and after class.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s something you don’t understand. It’s difficult to catch up when you fall behind, and if you don’t understand the underlying concepts in a certain subject, you’ll find yourself lost with much of what comes after that too. If you come up with a question later or don’t want to ask in class, meet with your professor or send an email right away asking for clarification. Participation will often benefit your grade in addition to helping you understand the topic.
Success as a student, in many ways, ultimately comes down to how much you’re willing to invest in your education. Investment isn’t always financial, though tools like planners, highlighters, and different notebooks can be helpful. The most important investment you can make is time management, planning, and effort. Whether it’s maintaining a class schedule that challenges you while still offering you an opportunity to thrive, working on the way you present yourself, or spending more time on notes and preparation, there are lots of simple ways to improve your academic performance. Start with these five basic tips and you’ll start seeing better results in school that will help you find success in the career you want.