The pathway towards success in college and beyond starts with making good habits. Proper scheduling, thorough organization and consistent routines are three of the best steps to good grades this semester.
Your Take Stock College Completion Coaches have assembled the following tips that can help you start this semester on the right foot:
- Get ready the day before
Let’s face it—it’s not always easy to get going in the morning! Give yourself extra time by having your materials together before you even wake up. Set out your clothes, pack your bookbag and set your alarms each night before you go to bed. Packing your bookbag the night before class helps ensure you remember everything you need. If you carry a laptop or tablet with you to class, make sure it is charged every night and don’t forget to bring your chargers with you when you leave for the day. Pack healthy, filling snacks and a water bottle so you stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Set a timely morning routine
Your brain can’t function at its best when you’re tired, so leave plenty of time for sleep each night. Know your daily schedule so you can time when you need to get into bed each night. If you have a smartphone, set an alarm for every day of the week according to your class or work schedules. Put your phone on “do not disturb” every night so you don’t get woken up by late-night texters! Make sure you leave enough time in the morning to get something to eat. If you’re a commuter student, plan for early morning traffic jams and hunting for a parking spot on or near campus. If you’re staying in a dorm, you might want to plan for the early morning bathroom rush.
- Learn the best routes around campus
If you haven’t been to your classes yet, it is important to take an hour or two to walk the campus before the semester starts. This way you can locate important buildings, plan your routes and limit any confusion on the first day of classes. If you have classes spread across a big campus, consider taking the campus shuttle (if available) to save you some time. Another alternative is to keep a bicycle locked up on campus for efficient transport between classes.
- Know your syllabi like the back of your hand
After your first day of class, it is important to read over your syllabi and highlight important dates for easy reference. If you can get a hold of your syllabi beforehand, it never hurts to familiarize yourself with its contents prior to even attending your course lectures. Program your class assignments, exam dates, and paper deadlines into either your smartphone calendar or a planner. Consider color-coding your assignments by class so you can keep things organized
- Organize your digital documents
You will amass quite a few documents during your time in college; it’s important to be proactive about organizing these into files. Create folders for each one of your classes you can save to your personal computer laptop, OneDrive (such as Google Drive or iCloud) or USB. If you have digital copies of your syllabi, these can be the first items you save to these folders!
- Check your student email every day
If you have a smartphone, we recommend adding your student email account to your phone’s mailbox. It is important to check your school email multiple times a day to stay updated with your classes and other happenings on campus. Don’t forget to add Take Stock in College on social media to get helpful updates from us!
- Create study habits that work for you
First-generation students often have to juggle school with work or other family obligations, so it’s important to create regular study habits in your first week. Get ahead on your reading assignments and stay ahead by taking active notes on what you’ve read and while in class. Cram sessions might work for some, but others can’t afford to set aside four hours in one night. Working to the deadline will give you stress and will make you more likely fall behind. Instead, try reviewing your notes each day after the class ends. Studies show students that read their daily notes for 10 minutes each day perform much better on tests and retain more of the information.
The most important aspect for all Take Stock college scholars to create solid, achievable study habits is to know yourself. Do you work better in the mornings? Then do your homework in the A.M. Are you a night owl? Then perhaps late-night revisions are best for you. Remember you have the opportunity to define what success looks like for you.
If you need help honing in on how to strengthen your good habits, reach out to your Take Stock College Completion Coach. We will be more than happy to tailor a plan to help you succeed this semester!