College students face significant distractions that can impede effective studying. Socializing, personal relationships, jobs, apartment or dorm noise, TV and video games are among the disruptions to focused study. To succeed in college, you need to find dedicated opportunities to invest in studying for class preparation, homework and tests.

Find a Quiet Place

Unless you live on your own, your dorm room or apartment is not always conducive to focused study. A noisy roommate, loud neighbors or the sounds of activity nearby can distract you from reading or note taking. The library is often a good starting point to find solitude. Typical college libraries are large enough that you can find an isolated corner. If not, they often have private study rooms you can reserve for quiet study. Finding a quiet place helps you get the ball rolling on reading and study without concern about disruptions from friends or noises.


Often, a college student's lack of focus on studies is simply a result of a failure to prioritize. Professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa indicated in their 2011 book "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning On College Campuses," that college students reported spending 75 percent of their time sleeping or socializing and only 16 percent attending class or studying. Falling prey to persistent friends who want to go out or party is common. To achieve focused study, you often need to schedule a regular time each day. This may mean a couple of hours between classes or after dinner each evening. If you carve out specific time to focus on studies and communication your schedule with friends, you may find it easier to balance your academic and social lives.

Get Help

It is not uncommon for college students to seek out help to achieve focused study. Many colleges and universities offer free or low-cost academic support or tutoring services. You can usually go to your college's academic support center and request help in a particular class. They will either line you up with an existing tutor or find a student who did well in that class. Getting peer help is an effective way to learn focused study skills from a successful student. Study groups are another tool to improve learning in classes in which you struggle. Find a few diligent peers to discuss reading and course content with you.


A common error well-meaning students make is to have no plan for study. They simply sit down and read from the textbook with little ability to recall the information later. The Southwestern College Academic Success Center provides students with a number of tips for concentrated study, including a "Read-Write-Speak-Think" approach. To improve short-term and long-term memory, you can write notes, talk about and think about what you read to help your brain engage with the content from a book. Support center instructors can help with customized tips to fit your particular learning style.

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About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.