Being a proactive college student means that you anticipate future challenges, advocate for yourself and seek advice and help when needed. Proactive college students plan ahead, setting aside enough time for their studies while also recognizing the importance of balance, including time for socialization and relaxation. Taking a proactive approach can help increase your chances of academic success and help you take charge of your education, according to the College of the Canyons Office of Student Development.
Know Your Professors
Proactive college students take the initiative in getting to know their professors. Knowing your professors is one of the most important elements of academic success, according to the Dartmouth College Academic Skills Center. Your professors probably can't take time out of their busy schedules to seek out your company, especially if you're in a big lecture class, so it's up to you to make contact. Getting to know your professors can help you when you have questions or need extra help and can separate you from the other faces in the crowd. It's also beneficial to have a relationship with your professor when you need letters of recommendation.
Create a Study Plan
Creating a study plan is another proactive step you can take toward becoming a better, more dedicated student. Proactive students are able to effectively and efficiently manage their time so that they don't fall behind. Write down your schedule and make a daily list of the tasks that must be accomplished, starting with those that have the highest priority. The truly proactive component of this step comes when you figure out how much time you will need to devote to each task in advance and then schedule this time into your daily calendar, says professor Christine Harrington in her book, "Student Success in College: Doing What Works!"
Develop Social Connections
Meaningful, strong social connections can help you cope when the going gets tough and provide you with an outlet when you need a distraction from your studies. It can also help if you're the type of person who benefits from studying in a group -- knowing your classmates makes it easier to assemble a study group comprised of people who work well together. Proactive, successful college students engage in healthy socialization and are more active in student activities, according to a study published in the February 2013 issue of the journal, "Learning and Individual Differences."
College is a stressful time for most students. They need to juggle their studies, social life, extracurricular activities, family needs, financial concerns and other issues. Proactive students don't wait until the effects of stress accumulate to the point where they cause negative physical and mental symptoms. They make sure they have enough time set aside on a daily basis to release stress through physical activity, meditation, journaling or other helpful activities. If you don't actively plan time to relax and unwind, you might find it harder to finish assignments and you might even end up getting sick more often, suffering symptoms such as headaches, changes in appetite, muscle aches and pains and other problems, according to the Inver Hills Community College Campus Health Service.
- College of the Canyons Office of Student Development: The Proactive College Student
- Dartmouth College Academic Skills Center: Getting to Know Your Professors
- Student Success in College: Doing What Works!: Christine Harrington
- Learning and Individual Differences: Personality, Freshmen Proactive Social Behavior, and College Transition: Predictors beyond Academic Strategies
- Inver Hills Community College Campus Health Service: Dealing with Stress
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.