Habits of Successful Students
12 Habits for Student Success (Photo: CC BY jmsmith000)

When it comes to having a successful college experience, the path for every student will be different. What works well for one student, may not work for another. But by following a few basic core principles, you can set yourself up for a fulfilling and successful time at college.

You can follow a countless number of college tips, but we’ve narrowed it down to the most important ones for those looking to get good grades and get the most out of college.

We’re not saying success is limited to following a dozen or so tips, but follow most of the advice listed below and you should find yourself doing quite well in college. We’ll keep it short and simple, but feel free to follow the links provided within each tip to dive deeper into each topic.

12 Habits of Successful Students

  1. Successful students set short-term and long-term goals. Setting goals and reaching them really gets the momentum going on success. Having goals gives you a sense of direction in your college journey and pushes you to go forward when you’re not sure what lies ahead. Write down your goals: set long-term goals, set short-term goals, set short-term goals to get to your long-term goals.

  2. Successful students stick to a weekly study schedule. College is all about mastering the art of multitasking. To do this you need to create some sort of schedule to follow and have a study plan.

  3. Successful students know to use their biggest resource: The Professor. They do this by taking advantage of office hours. Students who utilize office hours often do better on exams and papers, are more satisfied with their classes, and feel more connected to their college, classroom and professor.

  4. Successful students use effective study techniques and note-taking skills. This allows them to study better and more efficiently.

  5. Successful students are active in activities outside the classroom, being involved in things like college clubs and intramural sports. Contrary to popular belief, extracurricular activities do not detract from academic performance; instead, they increase students' overall satisfaction with their college experience and contribute to learning.

  6. Successful students get the most out of college by taking advantage of resources available on a college campus. They use resources, such as the library and career center, to their full advantage.

  7. Successful students take on a balanced course load. They choose classes that vary in both size and difficulty.

  8. Successful students go to class and participate. The most successful students sit in front and are involved in classroom discussions. Ask questions and contribute. It’s this kind of class participation that molds you into a better student (and gets you better grades).

  9. Successful students use study tools to their advantage.

  10. Successful students are prepared for exams. Knowing exams are a large percentage of the overall grade, successful students know how to properly study and prepare for exams.

  11. Successful students form study groups with their peers. Students typically learn more when they study together in small groups than they do studying alone. By studying with others, you learn better by teaching. When you explain how to do something to someone, the material gets reinforced in your memory. The teaching benefit works the other way around too: You can seek guidance from your study group. If you don’t know something or if something is unclear, a fellow student can explain it to you.

  12. Successful students get proper sleep. When it comes to college, you need to be well-rested, healthy, and mentally ready. The amount of sleep you get has a major impact on your academic performance. A sharp brain starts with getting proper sleep.

About the Author:


Ted Reimers

University of Washington Graduate and Publisher of CampusGrotto.com.
Has surveyed hundreds of college students nationwide in an effort to provide some of the best tips for college success on the web.