It’s no secret that every kid wants to do well in school. For some, academics come easily and they may not have to work as hard to be successful. For others, doing well in school can feel elusive and past failures may lead to a continued decline in both effort and results.
Just because you’ve struggled with school in the past doesn’t mean you can’t do better in the future. That’s because anyone can learn how to be a successful student.
What makes a student successful?
Success in school doesn’t always equate to good grades and test scores. While these are helpful benchmarks, being a successful student is more than just numbers – it’s about learning, growing, and developing skills that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
Strategies & Characteristics of Successful Students
Every student learns differently and what works for one person may not work for the next. In general, successful students are curious, prepared, and engaged. There are, however, simple strategies you can adopt to become a more successful student.
Create a Productive Learning Environment
Whether you’re going to school online from home or attending in-person, creating a productive learning environment at home is vital to student success. This is particularly important for online students, as you are in control of your at-home learning environment. Designate a space that is calm, quiet, comfortable, and away from distractions. Make sure to keep your space organized and all of your learning materials within reach for class time and independent study.
Be Prepared & Early for Class
Preparation and attendance are two core drivers of success in school. You can’t learn if you’re not present – and if you’re not prepared, be ready to fall behind. Make sure you have everything you need for class before it starts and arrive early enough to get settled. In addition to not feeling rushed and anxious to be on time, getting to class early gives you the opportunity to chat with classmates or ask your teacher questions.
Actively Participate in Class
Successful students actively engage with course material. The more you ask or answer questions, interact with your teacher and classmates, and dive into the subject matter, the easier it is to learn and the less you’ll need to study.
Speak Up if You Don’t Understand Something
Don’t ever feel bad or embarrassed about not understanding something you’re being taught – this happens to everyone. Successful students know to say something if they’re confused or need a better explanation, so speak up! More often than not, one of your classmates has the same question as you.
Explore Your Interests
Do you enjoy math? History? Art? Music? One of the best things about school is the opportunity to explore different subjects and activities and discover where your interests lie. Finding joy and success in the subjects that interest you will give you the confidence to tackle subjects that you find difficult or challenging.
Find Your Own Learning Style
Everyone learns in their own way at their own pace. Some people are visual learners; others learn better with hands-on lessons, and some are auditory learners. Being a successful student means finding your own learning style and leaning into what works best for you.
Take Notes & Study Regularly
This might sound like a no-brainer, but taking notes during class is a great way to reinforce new concepts and material during a lesson. Note-taking styles differ from student to student, so don’t feel obligated to take notes the “right way” – take notes however works best for your learning style. For some students, writing down or typing out a lesson’s key points word-for-word is the way to go; for others, rephrasing concepts in their own words helps them synthesize the information in real time.
When it comes to studying, procrastinating and cramming right before a quiz or test is an ineffective strategy – and it can be downright stressful. Instead, studying a little bit each day will help you learn the concepts at your own pace and retain the information much more deeply than trying to study everything all at once.
Reach Out for Help If You’re Struggling
Whether you’re having a difficult time keeping up with coursework, need one-on-one tutoring in a subject, or suffering from mental health issues, reach out! Teachers, staff, school counselors, and school administrators are all there to give you the support you need to succeed. All you have to do is ask for help.
Parent Involvement & Student Success
The amount of parent involvement needed for student success will vary from child to child. Some students are naturally independent learners who need very little support; other students require more hand-holding and direction. Parents who want to see their students succeed can help by reinforcing these good habits and holding their students accountable in their studies.