The Iglu Guide | Blog

7 habits of highly successful university students

Heading off to university is a defining experience in so many different ways. For many students, it is likely to be the first time ever living independently, meeting new people from a range of backgrounds, developing a professional network or pro-actively studying without being under the watchful eye of a teacher or parent. Adjusting to this new life is undoubtedly a challenge in itself and at times it can be difficult to stay motivated. And the measure of success will take many forms – because it’s not simply just about academic merit. Achieving success as a university student is about developing strategies and habits along the way that will ready you for the future. Here’s 7 habits that every successful student needs to know.

1. Organisation and time management

Now that you are living independently, you may well have discovered by now that very little happens without a degree of organisation. From getting clean washing back in your drawers to having a meal on the table and finding time to study. Nothing is more important than taking charge of your available time and staying on top of your schedule. And when it comes to academic success, it’s all about effective time management and task prioritisation. Allocate your time accordingly so that your timetable allows opportunities for study, social, extra-curricular and personal commitments. There are plenty of apps available that can help you organise your study time and plan out your schedule, or keep it simple and just use an old-fashioned weekly planner. Start out with a to-do list, and match up the tasks to your availability. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be done. If you get in the habit of creating a plan and sticking to it, you’ll reap the rewards for years to come. Get organised and manage your schedule, and enjoy all the benefits of this winning combination.

2. Effective study techniques

How many times have you heard the expression about studying smarter, not harder? This is never truer than when at university, where the opportunities for endless study are, well, endless. The trick is to find the study techniques that work well for you, and stick to your knitting. First up, make sure you have a dedicated workspace that is always available to use. This might simply be the desk in your room, a favourite spot at the library or a combination of both. It needs to be a calm quiet space where you can focus without distractions. Trying out different study techniques is a good way to work out how you best retain complex information. You might respond to active recall using quizzes, flashcards and written summaries, or you might prefer paced repetition whereby you increase the gap between study sessions to test your memory. Many students find that teaching methods to other students is the best way to retain information. Don’t forget that taking regular breaks is an important part of studying effectively. Use the opportunity to get some fresh air or stretch your legs, and try and avoid any screens for that time.

3. Goal setting

Setting achievable goals each semester is a great incentive for students to achieve their personal best, and an opportunity to visualise what individualised success might look like. Goal setting helps you take responsibility for your own progress because it also relies on acknowledging where you are right now so that you can set a realistic stretch for the future. They are a great opportunity to connect your personal ambition to your academic output and improve your self-confidence along the way. Write your goals down and place them where you can see them as a reminder. This will help keep you motivated and on track. Use the SMART method to keep your goals clear, specific and actionable. That way, you can help put a realistic framework around your hopes and dreams so that they are more likely to turn into future realities.

4. Stay healthy

Prioritising your health and wellbeing as soon as you start university is a crucial habit that will stick with you for a lifetime. Keeping a healthy lifestyle is all about eating a balanced diet, taking regular exercise, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep. There’s a lot to think about, but the best way to manage it all is to incorporate it into your daily routine – that way you’ll be reinforcing the habit without a second thought. And when exam time comes around and you’re under a time crunch, you’ll be able to resist the temptations to slip back into those old comfort eating patterns, laced with sugary snacks and late nights. Diet and exercise play a huge role in our physical and mental wellbeing. The more junk food we consume, the worse it is for our body and mind. Stick to a nutritious meal plan, and target those foods that will boost your concentration levels. Healthy foods help feed a healthy mind, and you can supplement this with mindfulness activities such as journaling, meditation or yoga. Adopting a healthy habit from the outset is a great way to maintain a balanced lifestyle and will help keep you on top of any stresses and strains that come your way.

5. Engaged learning

Active participation in class discussions along with note taking, content review and group study sessions are all learned habits of students destined for success. Demonstrating proactivity around your own learning shows that you are focussed on outcomes and concentrating on the elements of your study that you can control. By effectively engaging with your learning material, it creates the opportunity to ask questions, seek clarification and interact more regularly with your peers and course leaders. There are no bad outcomes with this learning habit, as it also enhances your professional network, improves your academic ability and increases your self-confidence. Operating in this type of learning environment is a great way to help you ace your exams when they come around.

6. Continuous improvement

Students that practise the habit of a growth mindset are more able to focus on achieving continual improvement rather than limiting themselves to a particular goal. This mindset provides opportunities for growth and development that may go on to exceed any original goals and provide a refreshing change of direction. Students that adopt this successful habit will see challenges as opportunity rather than obstacles. They will be able to adapt their strategies accordingly, and replan and rethink as second nature. This successful habit is about learning from both good and bad experiences and repurposing those learnings into the toolkit so that they help rather than hinder your progress.

7. Seeking support

The ability to ask for help is not something that comes easily to many students, but it can be crucial to future success. Asking questions can sometimes seem difficult at first in a group environment, but it should never be viewed as a weakness. In fact, the ability to stand up and ask knowledge of another is more demonstrative of strength, and the ambition to build and solidify understanding. Nurturing this key habit whilst at university recognises the importance of seeking support when needed, either as a student or later in life. This might take the form of academic support through professors or peer tutoring sessions, or to address any personal concerns that may have arisen using counselling services. University is a collaborative experience with an expansive support structure in place that is there to benefit all students when needed.

site by