Being a Successful Student

Tips for being a successful student

Being a successful student involves more than "just good grades." Successful students are involved in campus organizations, create positive relationships with faculty and staff, and utilize resources available to them.

Here are several tips for being a successful student:

Study on a schedule - Studies show that two hours of study for each hour of class time is about right. Managing oneself properly by setting aside blocks of time and a good spot with little or no distractions on a weekly basis is ideal.

Choose courses wisely - Picking a course in a subject you are interested in, or one taught by an instructor you like, adds additional motivation which translates to better grades and enjoyment.

Exercise - Good cardiovascular fitness translates into alertness, good attention span, better sleep and more energy. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle you should be engaging in 20 minutes of aerobic activity 3 times a week.

Attend class - Research indicates that higher class attendance correlates with higher grades and earlier graduation and since they're there, successful students take notes and participate.

Sit in front - Listening is one of the most important, yet least recognized skills necessary for learning from lectures. To listen effectively, you must "engage" the instructor - that is, create an internal conversation between you and your instructors as they are lecturing.

Attend office hours - Most faculty have a background beyond the course materials. The time spent in one-to-one conversation with faculty can influence the choice of a major or a career.

Eat healthy foods - Our bodies are complicated biological machines. They need proper fuel to keep running at peak efficiency. A good diet is a balanced one - lots of different foods and not too much of any one food.

Get active in campus life - MSU is full of opportunities to broaden your horizons. Check out Campus Link groups where like minded people come together to pursue similar interests, make friends, and have fun at the same time.

Have fun - All work and no play leads to stress which blocks academic performance. Reward yourself for your good study habits with a bit of fun.

Getting Skills Valued by Employers

Part of being a successful student includes "thinking outside the box," and preparing for the future--whatever it may hold.

While in college, you will develop skills that go beyond the classroom. There are many skills desired by employers that you can develop in college, these skills are acquired through coursework (both within your major and within general education requirements) and through experiences outside of the classroom by participation in extracurricular activities.

Many of these skills are called "soft skills" and they include:

  • Working well in a team
  • Effectively communicating verbally
  • Solving problems and making decisions
  • Planning and organizing work
  • Analyzing quantitative data
  • Writing clearly
  • Working competently with computers

(Job Outlook 2013, National Association of Colleges and Employers).

You can learn more about career readiness competencies from the National Association of Colleges and Employers Career Readiness for New Graduates Fact Sheet.

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