How to Succeed in College, and Still Have Freetime!

 Maggie Bruneau 

Maggie Bruneau 

Maggie Bruneau

1. Invest in a planner

This is one of the best things that you can do and will be essential to managing your time. Write everything down and color code your classes. 

·   Look for a planner that has a month view as well as a weekly view

·   Make sure your planner is big enough to write down enough details so that you know what assignments/tasks you have to complete

·   Some planners will even have a card holder in the back which is very useful for Professors contact information or business cards

2. Always work ahead

Anytime you get a chance to work ahead will save you time. Have a book you need to read for an English class? Read at least one chapter beyond the assigned reading. Remembering to read is one of the easiest things to forget. Already know you will be taking a challenging course next semester? Review and look over the textbook before you start the course. By doing this, you will be able to identify any potential problems before you start. Studying a foreign language? Invest in audio(CDS, music, audio books, etc.). The more you hear the language you are studing, the easier it will be for you to develop accent. Also, if you know a native speaker for the language you are studying, practice with them. This will help improve your conversation skills and give you confidence to speak in class.

3. Get help as soon as you start to have a problem

Often the biggest mistake people make is waiting to long to get help. Any courses that involve science or math will constantly build off the previous lessons. Below are some tips for getting help in these courses. 

·   Struggling in a science or math course? Check out Khan Academy. Khan Academy is an online learning tool that provides color coded videos, explanations, and practice problems. Simply search for a specific topic and watch the video


·   Check out Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble has a ton of workbooks geared towards college level courses that will provide shorter explanations as well as additional practice problems

·   Take advantage of your University's writing center and library. The writing center will be able to provide you with one on one writing support on shorter notice. Also, many University libraries have librarians geared towards a specific topic. As a result, they will be able to help you find sources for your research paper in a shorter amount of time

·   Utilize your professor's office hours. I can't stress this enough. Your professor's are the best resource that you can use to get help in a course. They are the ones who teach it, write the tests, grade assignments, and determine your final grade. Meeting with your professors will show them that you really want to learn the material and they may decide to bump your grade up a bit for your efforts. 

4. Recognize when you are the most awake and efficient in completing your assignments. Build your schedule around this time.

For some, this might mean from 7am-9am while for others it might be from 8pm-10pm. This may take some time to identify and will vary depending on the individual. However, once you find your time frame and build your schedule around it, you will be able to complete more tasks in a shorter amount of time. 

5. Don't get over involved

This is perhaps one of the hardest things to manage because let's face it: you aren't going to have time to do everything you want to do. You have to decide what's most important to you and identify how much time it will consume. Have patience as this will vary from person to person

·   Always ask how much of a time commitment something will be before getting involved

·   If you aren't sure how much time your classes will consume, wait a few weeks into your classes if you can

·   Don't be afraid of some trial and error

6. Get enough sleep

Recognize how much sleep you as an individual need in order to be awake and functioning. For some, this could mean 8 hours while others may be able to get by with 6. Again, this will take some time to determine and will depend on unique circumstances

·   Keep your phone on silent. If you have an Iphone, your alarm will still go off even if the rest of your phone is silent

·   Take about 15 minutes before you go to bed to write down anything that needs to be done tomorrow and relax. 

·   Don't drink any caffieniated beverages three hours before you want to go to bed

·   Turn off any lights before you sleep. If your room is darker, you will be able to sleep better

·   Go to bed and wake up at the same time each morning


7. Allow time to take a break

This is probably one of the most challenging things to do especially for those who have an extremely busy schedule. However, you will be able to work more effeciently if you allow some time to relax and do something you enjoy. The amount of time will vary at different points but the longer you work without a break, the more time you need to recharge. 


8. Celebrate your accomplishments

Take some time to celebrate your hard work!