In college, your study habits and time management skills will play a big part in your success. To help you figure out what works for you and your schedule, the South University faculty and staff will assist you in every way we can, and today we’re sharing some of our favorite study tips for new college students – whether you’re straight out of high school or you’ve been out of the classroom for years.
1. Schedule time for studying
We all have busy lives, and finding time to study can feel like a challenge. To address this problem, look at how you spend your average day. If you’re not sure where the time goes, carry a notebook and jot down your routines, noting when you’re doing something valuable versus simply passing time. By looking at what you do daily and factoring in when you feel most mentally alert, you may be able to adjust your schedule to make time for extra reading and studying in your day.
2. Plan ahead to avoid distractions
Where you study is just as important as when, and removing distractions so that you can focus needs to be a priority. Don’t study in front of the TV or somewhere your children or housemates will distract you. A quiet library or a secluded bench on campus can be among the best places to study. When at home, playing white noise, nature sounds or classical music to drown out distracting noise can work wonders.
3. Make your study habits routine
Consistency is critical. Do your schoolwork at the same time and place throughout the week to start forming good study habits. To stay on track, set regular reminders through our online learning platform Brightspace or mark time on a physical calendar or agenda. Just remember – creating a routine isn’t easy. It can take months to create a habit. If you slip up, don’t feel guilty; just recommit to your routine the very next day. Of course, if you find that over time one routine isn’t working, you can always change it up and trying something new!
4. Study in short bursts
Cramming in all of your studying at once is not effective. You may be able to memorize the material you need to know for your assignment or an upcoming quiz, but it won’t stick in your long-term memory. Instead, study for 20 to 30 minutes at a time and then take a 5-minute break. Stretch, move around and give your mind a rest. Repeat this process of focused studying with short breaks for 1 to 2 hours a day. Use a timer to stay focused, and avoid checking your phone or computer during that period. If you struggle to stay focused, you can use software or apps to block social media and other websites during set times.
5. Start studying early
Planning ahead leaves room for surprises. Bad traffic on your way home, a computer or internet connection that stops working, or a family member who needs your attention – these things can happen anytime. If you wait until the last minute to study, unexpected circumstances could get in the way of you learning the material you need to know for your class. If you procrastinate, there’s also no time left to connect with an instructor, classmate or tutor if you need clarification on a concept. To avoid procrastinating and avoid deadlines and tests sneaking up on you, save important course dates in your calendar. Set deadlines for yourself ahead of those dates to give yourself extra wiggle room.
6. Get organized
If you set your space up for a task beforehand, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate later. For example, if you want to study at home on a weekend afternoon, in the morning or before lunch, lay out your notes, books, pen, paper, and whatever you’ll need to reference and review. You can then go do whatever you need to do; when you return, your study materials and space will be organized and ready for you to get started.
7. Ask for help
Admitting you don’t know something can feel intimidating, but South University makes so many resources available to you, including tutoring, the library, the writing center, your instructors, your program director and more. The entire faculty and staff want to help students succeed, so, reach out as soon as you have a question! If your question is about how to make time in your schedule or develop your study skills, Admissions Representatives and Academic Counselors are also available to offer advice and assistance and point you in the right direction.
Get on the path to a brighter future!