Discipline is typically integral to the success of a college student. Some freshmen enter school with well-developed self-discipline that was nurtured in the home, through school or in jobs. Others enter college with limited self-discipline and have to learn the hard way that they need to rapidly develop discipline strategies to get good grades and balance life demands.

Class Attendance

Attending and actively participating in classes are keys to college success. This requires the discipline to get up in the morning, to make education a priority and to give maximum effort during the classroom experience. Disciplined students come to class prepared and ready to participate in class and small group discussions. They also take notes and ask questions. In a traditional face-to-face classroom, attendance and engagement are necessary to learn course content and to succeed in homework, tests and projects.


Some students attend classes, but lack the discipline to read their textbooks and study. The Berkeley Student Learning Center points out that successful study habits of students involve using a regular study area, day after day, to train the body to "sense" that it's time to study. Typically, colleges advise students to plan to spend two to three hours of time outside class on reading, homework and other class commitments. Discipline in these areas usually leads to more complete homework and projects, better test preparation and a better overall learning experience in combination with classroom engagement.

Utilizing Resources

Disciplined students also make use of available resources as necessary. The library, academic support center, instructors and office support staff on campus are some of the resources students can access. Meeting with instructors periodically or with questions and concerns is a great way to stay on top of grades and areas for improvement and helps students and their instructors to build a general rapport. Academic support centers offer tutoring services, test taking strategies and help with papers and projects. Employees in these areas typically have a passion for helping students succeed. Having discipline helps students seek help when needed and make the time to use it.

Avoiding Temptations

Proactive strategies with discipline are a major part of the battle for life balance and academic success. Students also need self-discipline to avoid some of the allures of college that inhibit academic success. Drugs and alcohol are two common temptations most college students get exposed to at some point. These not only involve legal consequences in some cases, but regular partying and use of drugs and alcohol can also mentally and emotionally take away from a student's school focus.

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