As a college student, you want to succeed in everything—including your classes. Let’s take a closer look at some strategies to improve your academic performance, and some things you should avoid.
1. Find out what your weaknesses are
Chances are, you already know what you’re good at. Keep being good at those things. To succeed academically, you need to figure out where you need help.
How? For starters, take a look at your grades. Look where you’re earning low grades and try to discern a pattern. If you underperform in writing and literature courses, for example, you may need to brush up on your writing skills.
The important part is next: figure out what’s stopping you. Are there external factors that are making a negative impact on your grades? Are you struggling with a specific skill? Are you maximizing your study-time and space? There’s a good chance that all of these factors could affect your grade.
Bottom line: once you figure out where you need help, go get it. Talk to your professors and advisors, parents, friends, and counselors. Get the help you need so that you can be and do your best.
2. Ask questions in class
Don’t ask for the sake of asking. Pay attention, focus, and ask—even if it’s just a clarification question. Make sure you understand concepts in class and don’t be afraid—someone else probably has the same question you do, too.
Don’t take notes without thinking—take your notes, reflect on them, and ask the questions you need.
If you need time to process and maybe feel a bit shy at first, don’t worry. Make time to meet with your professor or send an email with your question. You’ll be glad you did.
3. Be physically active and eat healthy food
Physical activity makes your body—brain, heart, and lungs—strong. In 2011, researchers in Denver found that students who are healthy and physically fit do better in school.
What does this mean? Eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, limit your alcohol consumption, and get outside and play—preferably with friends.
4. Improve your daily organization
We don’t just mean how organized your study space looks. We mean this: organize your day and plan your time. By doing so, you won’t late until the last minute and you’ll prioritize your goals.
How? Put the hard stuff at the top of the list and tackle it first. Then do the easy stuff. Trust us.
1. Get a ghostwriter for your essays
Do your own work! Not only is it ethically and morally wrong to submit work that isn’t yours, it’s illegal.
Academic writing is tough, so what should you do if you need help? Ask for it. That’s why you’re in school, anyway, right? To learn how to do challenging things? Asking for help when you need it is one such thing.
Don’t let writing intimidate you and don’t hire a ghostwriter. Take pride in the work you submit and get help when you need it.
2. Abuse Prescription Medication
We know you may be tempted, especially if you know others are using prescriptions to help them concentrate or stay up later. But medication, of any kind, used without a doctor's prescription and direction, can be dangerous.
In sports, using medication to improve your performance is considered unethical and illegal both because they give players unfair advantages over their peers, and because these types of drugs can have dangerous side effects. In academics, the lines may appear a bit blurry, but the reality is that using prescription medications in any way that is outside its prescribed intent can get you into trouble. The same goes for sharing your prescriptions. Your doctor considered your unique medical history and treatment goals when she wrote your prescription, and what is safe and beneficial for you may not be for someone else.
The long and short of it - don't take other people's prescriptions, don't share yours with anyone, and don't take medications for any reason other than their intended use.
3. Give up
Failure is not an option. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. Get help.
It’s ok to feel disappointed if you didn’t do as well as you liked. Get your attitude right and focus on improving—take a positive approach, get the help you need, and move forward, even if it feels like you’re moving too slowly. You’re not.
4. Stay up all night
It’s not fun and it’s dangerous. Staying up all night has adverse affects on your immune system, your ability to concentrate, and your ability to make decisions. Exhaustion is never the answer. Avoid it at all costs.
You can improve your academic performance with a positive attitude, grit, perseverance, and hard work. Allow yourself to make mistakes—and then learn from them. After all, you can always try again and do better.