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7 Hacks to Become a #1 College Student in Just 14 Days

October 07, 2015 - Posted toEducation

Content 7 hacks to become a  1 college student in just 14 days x essays

7 Hacks to Become a #1 College Student in Just 14 Days

You probably entered college with big commitments – studying hard, getting to every class, paying attention, and staying current in all of your coursework. Somewhere within a few months’ time, things begin to fall apart, and you get overwhelmed, get a social life that is too busy, given in when roommates or dorm-mates want you to play video games, go out for a beer, or just hang out, or you just plain procrastinate. Often, the problem lies in a lack of really learning how to be a great student during high school. Let’s face it. Adults monitored and supervised and reminded; they gave you lots of personal help; they intervened if you got behind or were doing poorly. Well, you can forget all of that in college. You’re on your own and have to find your own path to greatness. So here’s 7 hacks to become a #1 student in 14 days – step-by-step.


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Here’s Your 7-Step Plan

  1. A Calendar: Today, right now, you will print out a large calendar of the rest of the months of this semester and put it on your wall. Get out all of your course syllabi and enter every due date of every assignment, paper, essay or test for every course. It’s nice to have all of this on individual syllabi tucked away on your desktop or within your course portal, but it is out of sight. So, do the outdated thing – use a real paper calendar so you can see the whole picture all at once. This is one of the best college hacks to use. Every day, when you return to your room, there, staring down at you, are the reminders that your parents and teachers no longer give you.
  2. Break up the long-term assignments. Look at that calendar. Which assignments are long-term? Those papers, essays, book reviews, and such. Break each of them down into smaller chunks and put those chunks on your calendar, giving yourself small deadlines along the way. And feel guilty – feel very guilty – when you don’t meet those small deadlines! College papers are a lot more complex than your high school ones – you won’t be writing them the night before if you expect even a mediocre grade.
  3. Take control of your surroundings. Your mom is not here to clean up your space and keep you organized. Get your stuff organized by course. Get a good-sized book shelf if you have to – whatever works. And get the clutter out – find a place out of sight for your dirty clothes; get a really large trash can – it’s ugly but at least it keeps your workspace tidier. An organized environment really does change your mental outlook about getting to work and staying at work. Getting into this habit now will transfer over to your work life later one, so it is one of the most important life hacks too.
  4. Stop Deceiving Yourself. If you are telling yourself that you spent 4 hours studying, when you actually spent half the time tweeting or on Facebook or YouTube, then you are practicing self-deceit. If you lack self-control, admit it and get an app that will block you out of those distracting sites for set periods of time. Commit to at least 30-minutes of focused work and then give yourself a 10-minute break. This is lots better than succumbing to distractions every few minutes and then having to re-focus on your task – it is a horrible time waster.
  5. Get to class. Your professors are not at the head of the class filling up a white board and expounding on stuff because they have something to learn. They do this because you have something to learn. No, you are not going to love or even like every class, but consider it good training for life. And sit in the front. You are far less likely to be distracted or to want to start texting, etc. if the professor can see you doing it. You know it’s rude, and in general you don’t want to be rude to others, so you will resist doing rude things in class.
  6. Ask when you don’t understand. Don’t be gutless, like many of your classmates. It really is okay to admit that you don’t “get” something and need more explanation. And if you happen to be in a huge class without the opportunity, then get to the TA or get one of the “brainiacs” in the class to explain it again. If you are in a tough course with a large class, then get a study group together.
  7. Set a study schedule and stick to it. This is the toughest part of becoming a #1 student. All of those temptations. But you don’t have to become a social isolate or deny yourself fun to do this. If classes are over at 4:00, then go back to your room and get 2 hours in before dinner; if you want to hang out with friends, do it after dinner and get back to work by 9:00 for another two hours. You know your schedule and you know when you can set chunks of time to work. Just do it for the next 14 days, and it will become a habit. Success in college is as much about habit as it is about intelligence.

As you can see, a lot of being a #1 student relates to organization; the other part relates to your willingness to be a participant in every class you take – getting there, taking notes, paying attention and asking when you need help.

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Here’s a Couple of Bonus Hacks

  1. Part of student life is mingling with all sorts of diverse groups of people. Some will be serious; some will be partiers; some will be a combination. At least where coursework is concerned, surround yourself with smart people. You can mingle with the partiers during social time.
  2. Research the apps and tools that will help you – there are so many good ones today.

If you do all of these things for 14 days, you will have established the pattern of behavior you need so success.