Student Success Skills

It is important to adopt certain skills and strategies to help you thrive, stay on track, and not be too overwhelmed by the other responsibilities in your daily life. In this part, you will find some tips to help you organize your schedule, as well as some outside resources to support you in and out of the classroom.

Goal Setting

Going back to college can be an overwhelming and busy process. Setting goals for yourself is beneficial because they will motivate you to keep working throughout the semester and overall program.

Creating SMART Goals

The acronym SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

Goals should specific, meaning that there is a clearly defined end-result which you plan on achieving. For example, a specific goal could be to pass all of your classes.
A measurable goal is one that can be assessed. For example, if your goal is to only miss three classes a semester, you can measure this by keeping track of your attendance in all of your classes.
Your goals should be attainable, meaning that the you have access to the necessary resources and teacher support that are needed. For example, if your goal is to turn in all your research papers on time, you should make sure that you have access to the library and its online databases.
You want your goals to be relevant, meaning your goals should be related to your courses and future career plans. For example, if you are taking a lot of math courses and want to pursue a career that is related to math, you would not want all your goals to focus on your writing ability or assignments. 
A timely goal is one that has a clear due date, and a written out schedule of how to accomplish the goal in time. You should work with your advisor or teacher to create a clear plan of the steps you will take to accomplish your goal by a certain due date. For example, if your goal is to get a B in your English class, the due date for this goal would be the end of the semester. 
For more help creating S.M.A.R.T. goals check out this article 6 Smart Goals for College Students.

Juggling Your Schedule 

Many adult students find themselves having to juggle schoolwork with a variety of other responsibilities, such as work, children, and family. Instead of letting these responsibilities limit your academic success, you can figure out ways to make your class and personal schedule fit with one another.

Schedule Conflicts

To deal with all of the busyness of the school year, it is important for you to set up a plan before the semester even begins. Once you have picked out your classes check your teacher’s syllabus and write down the due dates of important assignments on a calendar. Then, you should look ahead and put down any personal appointments or responsibilities you have. The days and times on the calendar when your personal and school responsibilities coincide, you should highlight. At the beginning of the semester, or as soon as possible, you should speak with your teachers about these future scheduling conflicts. Speaking with you teachers early on increases the likelihood of being able to resolve future problems. You should also check with your college’s administration to see if they offer any resources, such as childcare, that might help you balance all of your responsibilities.

Designated Study Hours

Establishing good study habits is extremely important. In order to build strong study habits, you need to first find a good place to do your work. Where you study has a huge influence on your academic performance. The library is a quiet place to work, but if you prefer to work at home make sure you communicate with other people living there when your study planned hours are. Then they will know not to disturb you. Communicating your needs to your family members and friends will help you plan a schedule that works with everyone.

Time Management Strategies

College requires a lot of time and energy, both in and out of the classroom. To succeed in college, it is very important to develop effective time management skills. Creating a schedule that allocates specific amounts of time you should spend on each assignment will help you make efficient use of your time. Especially in the first few weeks of school, you need to pay attention to how long assignments are taking to complete. This information will let you create a realistic plan for larger assignments, like essays and projects, that may be assigned later in the semester.

Reward Yourself

Make sure that throughout the school year you take time to reward yourself for completing any major assignments, projects, or tests. For example, after finishing a large project or paper you should reward yourself with your favorite dessert or going out to dinner.

More Online Resources

This is a list of online resources that will help you with your transition back to college