Top tips for academic success: 7 habits of highly successful students

Ever wonder how some of your classmates make academic success look so darn easy? Wish you could pick their brain without actually having to confess you don’t have all the answers yourself? We all know that achieving any goal worth having is going to take persistence and passion. So, take a look at our latest list of the top 7 habits of highly successful students and see just what you can do to get yourself started down the right path for the new year!

#1 Gather your tools

Successful students don’t necessarily know everything but they do know where to find it. For many students the first stop for academic writing, reading and research is Questia, the world’s largest online library with thousands of full text books, magazines and reports. But more than that, Questia also has tons of cutting-edge tutorials, videos, and examples to help you research and complete your writing projects in record time.

#2 Manage your time well

Mastering your time schedule is a top priority for the successful student. No one knows this better than Hai Nguyen who earned his doctorate at Stanford University while also acting as a teacher’s assistant, researcher, and part-time consultant.

In a June 14, 2012 article for titled, “Top 10 time management skills for college students from a Stanford entrepreneur,” Nguyen listed his top tips for time management.

“Write everything you have to do down, especially if you are thinking about it. The worst thing that you can do on a daily basis is use your active brain to think about small irrelevant things. It destroys your focus and makes it impossible to enjoy the moment,” Nguyen concluded.

#3 Show up

According to the great humorist Woody Allen, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” What he means is that you stand a much better chance of succeeding if you dive in and get involved with your project — whatever it is. In your case it’s your classes. Showing up also means being an active participant, sharing, taking notes and doing the work.

#4 Know and be known

Showing up to class also means that you’ll get to know your instructors and they will get to know you. Developing a working relationship with your instructors can pay off in many ways. Not only will you feel more comfortable asking for help on assignments, you may be able to get recommendations for internships and jobs down the road.

#5 Take care of yourself

Just because you’re working hard to develop your mind doesn’t mean that you can get away with neglecting your body or your spirit. Be sure to take time for sleeping, eating, exercise, and recreation with friends. St. John’s University offered its list of “Ten Tips for Student Success,” which included the following tip:

“Get involved in campus activities. It will help you learn valuable skills, expand your social network and enhance your self-confidence. Seek out opportunities to apply what you learn in the classroom.”

#6 Learn it right the first time

Steve Pavlina graduated college with two degrees and did it in three semesters. In a May 8, 2006 post to titled, “10 Tips for College Students,” Steve described how he approached his college tasks. Key strategies included:

  • Setting goals for each class: goals include the grade, a letter of recommendation, or mastering the material
  • Allocating time based on specific goals: spend more time in achieving the goals with the bigger payoff
  • Mastering advanced memory techniques: learning the material the first time it’s presented can save students a lot of time

#7 Find your grit

Researcher Angela Duckworth found that intelligence is not the only predictor of student success. Character is just as important. Specifically, Duckworth found that passion and dedication to success, despite meeting obstacles, was a reliable predictor of success. She termed this quality, “grit.”

In a May 3, 2012 post for titled, “Got Grit? The Secret Sauce to Success,” Shabbir Dahod described what he has learned about the theory of grit. “So people are not just born great technologists, salesmen or marketers and it requires constant effort in a specific direction to build the knowledge and skills to become great at a task or market,” Dahod said.

It’s like the old story of the tortoise and the hare. Those who are successful, who win the race, are not necessarily those who run the fastest. Success goes to those who stick to their task despite setbacks, failure, and discouragement. The winners are those who work hard and focus on constant improvement especially in areas where they lack talent or skill.

The moral of the story is, to be a winner you have find your passion — find your grit.

14 replies
  1. Justice Gaveh says:

    Hi Questia, thanks. This is ever so helpful. However, it seems the tips have been written for students on campus. Any tips for part time students, specifically adult students who are working and studying for a professional qualification?

  2. Obinna says:

    There are somethings i do take for granted before but now i know they are good tools to achieving successs in life. Thanks for the information

  3. ntirushwubwenge jeanine says:

    just to say thank you questia for mantioning of the manage of the time. i like that because it is very important. god bless.

  4. Shem Chisala Chitambo says:

    To who ever is making questia possible for me, thanks and you are changing a lot of lives around the world. God bless.


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