Grades, GPAs and graduation honors often fall behind the social scene that comes with college life. The significance of earning high grades is sometimes difficult for a student to grasp. Recognizing the need to improve your standing as a student is the first step in actually earning better grades and absorbing more of the information taught in your courses. With small lifestyle changes, organization and dedication, you can become the student that you want to be.
Take care of your body so you are physically able to keep up with your school work. Avoid the temptation to stay up late socializing, instead giving yourself an early bedtime so you are rested. Power your studies with nutritious meals and snacks. Exercise to improve your health, reduce stress and focus your mind. Blow off steam in a positive way with relaxation techniques, deep breathing and sharing frustrations with friends.
Set goals and write them down so you see them everyday. Choose concrete goals that you can track, such as, "I will earn at least a B+ in calculus." Avoid general goals, such as, "I will do better in class." Give yourself specific ways to reach your goals, such as studying calculus at least three hours per week, attending all classes, finishing all assignments and meeting with the professor when you have difficulty with the material.
Get organized. It's hard to do well in school when you don't know where anything is and you are constantly losing things. Organize your files on your computer, your notebooks and other class items. Ideally, you will have a notebook for each class so that you have a place to put items for each course you are taking.
Create an area in your home for homework and studying. Choose a quiet, well-lit area without distractions, such as the television. Add a dry erase board or bulletin board to track important dates for assignments and projects.
Schedule time each day for studying and homework completion. Pick a time when you are awake and alert to maximize your time. Study consistently. If you wait until the last minute to cram for a test, your brain won't retain the knowledge. Give yourself breaks -- at least one per hour of studying -- to rest your brain and refocus your attention.
Prioritize your studies. This means skipping some social occasions when you need to study or missing a few episodes of your favorite television show. Effective students know when to say "no" to invitations or requests from peers.
Write lists each day to help you prioritize your work efforts. Review the projects, assignments and tests coming up in all of your classes. List the tasks in order of importance to keep you on track.
Sit near the front of the class so you can take better notes and keep your focus on the instruction. Sitting in the back provides too many opportunities for distraction. Use your front row seat to become an active participant in class by adding to discussions and asking questions.
Be on time to class, don't leave early, and don't skip classes. It sounds simple, but being in class is your best chance for understanding the material being taught.