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The Secrets to Studying in College

When I was preparing for college, I only knew what to expect from what I saw portrayed on TV. I worried about the demands of college and imagined I would be spending much of my time sitting in a dimly lit library late into the night, cramming for a test. And there were times when I needed to study late in the library, but this was not the norm. I learned quickly that I needed to change how I studied to keep up with my college course requirements. Here are some of the most valuable college study tips I learned:

  • Develop a schedule and stick with it. Set aside specific time slots for studying, attending classes, and completing assignments. When you create a routine, it becomes a habit. Plus, you’ll stay organized and on track with your coursework—and avoid many of those late nights in the library.
  • Take good notes. This is a learned skill. You don’t need to write down everything the professor says, but you’ll want to develop a shorthand style that you can read easily when reviewing your notes. Organize your notes in a way that works best for you, whether that’s outlines, notecards, diagrams, or summaries. Review them regularly to reinforce what you’ve learned.
  • Be an active participant. Engage in discussions, ask questions, and take part in group activities. This can help improve your understanding of course material, retain more information, and build relationships with your professors and classmates.
  • Use the resources available to you. Colleges offer a variety of resources to help you be successful. Use them! Tutoring services, academic advising, professors’ office hours, and study groups can help you improve your study skills, strengthen your understanding of a subject, and stay on track academically.
  • Take care of your physical and mental health. Don’t neglect your overall health when you’re studying in college. Prioritize sleep, eating healthy foods, self-care, and exercise. Activities such as meditation, journaling, and spending time with friends can help boost your mood and manage your stress.
  • When you can, multitask. If you have a lot of pages to read or notes to review but want to get in a quick workout, take your notes to the gym! Treadmills and stationary bikes often have shelves over the screen that can be the perfect perch for a book.

If you’re worried about transitioning from high school to college courses—you’re not alone. It can feel like a big leap, but using these tips will help you develop the habits of a successful student. You could also take college courses now to give yourself a head start. Many online schools offer dual enrollment opportunities for high school students to take college courses. You’ll not only get good practice strengthening your study skills, but you’ll also earn college credit—all while still in high school. For more information on dual enrollment, go to K12.com.

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