Back to School: Five Habits of Successful Students
It doesn’t matter whether you’re taking courses online this fall or packing your bags and heading to campus. No matter which of those paths is your choice, here are some habits to cultivate as you head back to school.
Success Habit #1: Be curious. This is the foundation for success in any course. So try to cultivate a curious outlook toward any course you are about to take, especially toward general education courses that you don’t expect to be too interesting. Even if you expect a course to be dull, there will be some nugget of information or wisdom that you can discover. So go looking for it. You’ll be more energized, and your instructor will notice.
Success Habit #2: Start work early. If you know that you have to turn in a paper at the end of the term, write an outline for it during your first week of class. If you have a big reading assignment due for the second class, start it right after you leave your first one. Starting work early, without procrastinating, will net you better grades with far less stress.
Success Habit #3: Get organized. Set up a different folder on your computer for each class you will take. Also, set up separate physical folders on your desk for papers, readings and other on-paper materials. A little organizing ahead of time will get you off to a faster and easier start.
Success Habit #4: Get to know other students in your classes as early as possible. If you’re in online courses, try to communicate with them on class message boards and forums if they are part of your class. If you’re in classrooms with other students, chat them up after the first class. They will turn into your greatest assets later on. You can set up study groups with them, divide up huge reading assignments, and enjoy other benefits too. So don’t be shy. Start networking early.
Success Habit #5: Get to know your instructors without being a suck-up. The most effective way is to ask questions in class, after class, or online. And start early. If you open lines of communication before you need them, you’ll be a few steps ahead.
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