3 Things to Figure Out Before College for Academic Success

Student, University of Central Florida

Aug   2016



Since I began college, I have noticed countless articles and videos about “X Amount of Things I Wish I Knew Before College.” These get thousands of views and shares, but they usually focus on basic skills that every person should learn, like laundry and looking people in the eye during a conversation. These skills are no doubt important, but they aren’t skills that will benefit college students in particular; they clearly weren’t written with college-bound students in mind. So I’ve made a small list of what every student, no matter how young or old, should learn in order to do their best in school.

1. Determine your learning style

This is so important, and I believe it’s the foundation of doing well academically. A learning style is basically what way(s) you individually like to learn. There are visual learners (like myself), auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners (sometimes called tactile learners). It is also possible to have a dominant learning style, with another style as a sort of backup. Knowing your learning style can help you figure out the most effective ways to study, take notes, and more. Ultimately, it will help you throughout your academic years, and depending on your career choice, beyond that. You can find plenty of information on learning styles online, such as quizzes like this one and a site packed with different learning styles and preferences here.

2. Figure out how you like to take notes

I mentioned that knowing your learning style can help you do this, but the two are not necessarily linked together. There are tons of ways to take notes, whether it’s on a computer or tablet, in a notebook or on loose-leaf paper. You can use the Cornell Notes method, write in outline form, use bullets, or whatever form you like. The key to this is figuring in out what method works best for you as a student, but make sure it falls within the policy of your professor or school!

Related: How to Take Better Notes in High School and College

3. Find a way to stay organized

Organization is key in school. If you’re not organized already, you need to get organized right now! Purge or give away the stuff you don’t need or use; otherwise it literally just takes up space. Give the remaining stuff in your room or dorm a designated place; otherwise it still just takes up space. And use a planner or notebook to keep yourself organized. I don’t know how I ever managed to juggle a part-time job and full-time class load without a planner; now I can’t live without it, and I feel so much better about my busy life. If you personally don’t like the whole pen and paper thing, feel free to use a planner app on your phone, but be sure to check reviews on how other people like them.

Related: Why Every Student Should Keep a Planner

Have you tried any of these tips before? Do you already use a planner or know the best way for you to take notes? Tell us in the comments section below!

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