5 Tips for Academic Success in College

Here are 5 tips for academic success in college.

5 Tips for Academic Success in College

5 Tips for Academic Success in College

Four of my kids have graduated from college already (all of them magnum cum laude). Over the years, they have shared with me their tips for success in college academics:

1. Make a schedule

Don’t leave home until you’ve taken your class schedule and a daily planning calendar and written all your class times down on it. Then add 2 hours study time for each hour of class time (3 hours for writing intensive courses or really difficult courses).

You can adjust it later, once you find your study rhythms for the semester. Until then, you’ll have a good idea of when and how much to study.

Here’s one of our favorite ways to create a schedule. Download: Scheduling Backwards.

scheduling backwards
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2. Follow your syllabus

Marilyn’s daughter tells about going to her college class one day, the only student in the class prepared for that day’s work. That was because she was the only student who read and followed the syllabus. Some teachers never discuss the syllabus but still expect you to follow it.

Here’s a post on creating a syllabus. Get your teens ready while they are in high school.

5 Tips for Academic Success in College
Oldest and his wife celebrate his PhD

3. Visit your professors

My sister is a college prof. She has assigned office hours. She sits and waits and hopes students will visit.

My kids learned to visit their professors frequently. They would drop by and ask questions about stuff they did not understand. They would continue interesting class discussions. One even asked professors to took over the rough drafts of his papers.

The benefit of visiting professors is that it gives you favor in the teachers’ eyes. That helps if you are on the line between an A and a B.

4. Volunteer in the department office

Sometime early in the first semester, go to your academic department office and volunteer to help out a couple of hours per week. Make yourself available for taking out trash, making go-fer runs, or helping a prof or grad student.

During my youth, I volunteered in my department office and was assigned to work with a grad student doing field research on birds. It was SO much fun and opened some cool doors.

While you are at it, join organizations in your major’s department. Many departments have a group just for the associated college majors.

5) Study and play

In college, your career is studying. So study hard.

6) Bonus tips:

  • Spend time studying
  • Don’t wait until the night before a big assignment or exam to get started
  • Sit in the T-zone in class (first 2 rows or down the middle)
  • Find a study group from each class (or create one)
  • Be the last student out of a class
    • Never close your computer, binders or books while the professor is still talking
  • Type up your notes after each class

We have other blog posts on tips for college:

Homeschool high school graduate Kendall Smythe shares her tips on succeeding in college.

We have a Facebook group of sisters all with different experiences in the homeschool high school journey. If you have a question or want some extra encouragement come and join us!

But all study and no play leads to stressed out brain cells (which means foggy brains during tests). Daily schedule in some free time. (One of my sons had play time on his calendar. At 8 pm, he put away the books and spent time with friends. He could do that because he had studied hard the rest of the day.)

Our kids benefited from learning how to think. One of the most powerful courses on thinking that they completed in high school was History and Philosophy of the Western World. This text was written originally by me when the older kids were in high school, then revised and extended by my son, Dr. Micah Tillman, who teaches at Stanford University’s prestigious online high school.

History and Philosophy of the Western World
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5 Tips for Academic Success in College

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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