How to Succeed in College

Learn 10 effective techniques for how to succeed in college.
Allan T
5
min read
Nov 5, 2021
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Effective Techniques How to Succeed in College

Going to college takes a few years in the prime of your life, is often challenging and difficult, and not to mention, incredibly expensive. So if you make it to college or university you should think about how to succeed in college. After all, you shouldn't waste this incredible opportunity to learn and to make more money in the future. 


For most people, the measure of success in college is how well they do in classes since this is a good indicator of salary and potential jobs in the future. In this article, you will learn ways to succeed in university and get tips on how to succeed in college. 

Find Study Strategies

There are so many things that demand your time in college that it is important to study smart, not to study hard. This means devising various study strategies that work for you. 


  • Go over and practice various studying techniques like SQ4R and find the ones that suit you best.
  • Learn about concepts like elaborative interrogation, interleaving, spaced study, and other studying strategies.
  • Figure out whether you prefer to study by yourself or study in groups
  • Figure out what time of the day you prefer studying
  • Find your learning style and take advantage of it

Set Goals

Setting goals gives you something to aim for and is one of the best ways to stay motivated. Setting goals is especially important in university where financial goals, academic goals, extracurricular goals, and social goals are all things you need to think about. 


  • Financial goals can help you stay within a budget and reduce student loan debt.
  • Academic goals are important to get the best grades possible so that you get the job you want.
  • Goals for your extracurriculars can give you a sense of pride as well as show potential employers your leadership and teamwork skills.
  • Social goals are important because making friends reduces stress and they can be valuable allies in your professional career in the future.


One of the most common frameworks for setting goals is the S.M.A.R.T. system.

S stands for specific. Set specific goals, don't just say I want to get better at something. The goal should be to score 10 points higher in your next test, not just to do better next time. 


M stands for measurable. Set goals that are measurable. This means that you need to have a way of tracking how you are doing. A measurable goal is something like I will study for 5 hours every day after class, or I will wake up at 7 a.m. every day.


A stands for achievable. Set goals that are achievable. It's good to aim as high as possible, but setting goals that are too challenging can make you feel unmotivated and add stress to your life.  Carefully think about how much time you have and set goals that are attainable.


R stands for relevant. Set goals that are relevant. Make sure you understand why the goal is important to you. This will keep you motivated because you know that achieving the goal will help you in the future.


T stands for time-bound. Set deadlines for your goals. Without a time frame, goals are meaningless. Choose specific dates for when a goal should be achieved, this makes your progress easier to track as well as keeps you motivated. 

Attend Class

One of the biggest mistakes students make in college that stops them from succeeding is missing, ditching, or cutting class. It's pretty obvious that if you don't go to class you will miss out on information. Many people think that they can make up for it by doing the required readings or going over somebody else's notes, but there are many benefits of physically being in class. 


  • Going to class and listening to a professor is an auditory way of learning and creating specific memories that cannot be replicated by reading. 
  • Taking your own notes in class is one of the best ways of improving memory. 
  • There are some things that can best be explained by a knowledgeable expert (AKA your professor).


One way to avoid missing class is to calculate how much money you are spending per class and think of missing a class as flushing money away.  

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Get Involved

One of the best ways to succeed in college is to get involved with activities apart from just academics. Sure, academics and getting good grades are some of the major ways of measuring success in university, but if you really want to know how to succeed in college you have to get involved with other activities as well.


This could include things like clubs, sports, fraternities and sororities, or any other activity. Not only does this give you a chance to make friends and build connections that will serve you well in the future, but it also gives you the opportunity to discover new interests, passions, and hobbies. 


Eventually, when you apply for a job, companies look for more than just your GPA. Involvement in extracurricular activities is a chance to learn how to work with others and hone your leadership skills, and companies know this. 


Finally, college can be hard and stressful, and finding fun activities is essential to managing your stress levels. 

Learn to Focus Attention

Research has shown that studying requires focus, attention, and concentration. This applies both to when you are in class absorbing information, as well as studying out of class. Learning how to focus your attention is going to help you retain more information and benefit you not just in college but in life as well. 


We live in a world where entertainment comes in bite-sized pieces. Instagram stories, Tik Tok, YouTube videos, and Twitter have trained us to have short attention spans. College classes tend to last for at least an hour though, and study sessions every day can take up to 4-5 hours,  so it is essential to learn how to focus for long periods of time. 


One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that they can multitask. Studies have now shown that it is impossible for humans to actually multitask. When people try, they end up taking longer to do individual tasks and don't perform as well as they could have. This means that you shouldn't be checking social media or browsing the web when you are in class. Your attention should be focused on the professor. When you are studying, avoid distractions. You may think that having a show playing in the background is relaxing, but it is actually just making your study less effective. 


Find some quiet places you like to study on campus, find a study group that helps you focus, find some relaxing music that makes you feel comfortable while studying. Figure out what you need to do to focus your attention, this is one of the most important tips on how to succeed in college. 

Take Notes

Taking notes is one of the most important ways of figuring out how to be successful in college classes. Notes are essential for a few different reasons. 


  • Taking notes means that you have to pay attention to the professor. 
  • Taking notes means that you have to rephrase what they say in your own words which means that you are processing that information.
  • Making your own notes rather than copying somebody else's means that you can take notes in a way that makes the most sense to you.
  • Notes are an excellent way to review material that you've learned in class.
  • Notes can have information that you cannot find in a textbook or supplementary materials.
  • You can often sell your notes to other students at the end of the semester.
  • Note-taking is a skill that will serve you well in the professional world.
  • Learning how to color-code notes will help you get organized and understand the material better. 

Manage Your Time

College life is busy, so making schedules and using a calendar becomes very important.  Scheduling allows you to plan how much time you can spend studying and lets you prioritize the most important tasks. Time management is a skill that will serve you well your entire life and is one of the secrets of how to succeed in university. 


Make a schedule on the weekend for the entire week including classes, extracurriculars, social events, and study times. Stick to your schedule as much as possible and re-evaluate your plans for the next day every night.

Make Friends

You don't go through life alone and friends make life easier. College can be tough at times and friendships can help you with loneliness. Another benefit is that having friends you can hang out with is free, which is great in university when you're broke. Friends can also help you study and can become connections that will help you in the future. College friendships are some of the most enduring friendships according to studies, so this is a chance to make lifelong connections.

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Take Care of Yourself

It's easy to get caught up in college life and avoid taking care of yourself. This can include things like

 

  • Not getting enough sleep, which negatively impacts memory, health, and general satisfaction in life. 
  • Not eating well, which negatively impacts health and mood.
  • Partaking in alcohol and other substances which are bad for you and possibly illegal
  • Not getting enough exercise


Make sure you take care of yourself. Not only is it important for your health, but sleeping enough, eating well, being careful with alcohol, and getting exercise will help you study more effectively as well.

Take Pride in Yourself

One of the most important ways how to succeed in college is to take pride in yourself. Whatever you study or whatever activities you do, do your absolute best at it. A feeling of self-worth is important and succeeding at things feels good. College and university are a chance to show the world who you are and what you are capable of, so don't waste this opportunity.


After reading these 10 tips on how to succeed in college you should be well prepared to do well, but everyone needs help once in a while. It is important to reach out and ask for help when you need it. Studyfy is an online platform for students that takes care of all of their academic needs.  Whether it's help with homework, understanding assignments, or editing and proofreading essays, the experts at Studyfy are always there for you and eager to help. The website contains many free resources for students, so go check it out!