It's September again. You can't fight it. Depending on where you live, school has either already begun or is about to start, which means it's time for students to start thinking about the upcoming semester in mores specific terms than, "I'll try to work hard." The question is not whether you're going to try, but how are you going to succeed this academic year? Here are three tips to help students create real, actionable plans for academic success, and stick to them.
- Reflect on last year. Ask yourself: what was easy for you last year, and what posed a challenge? Did you have problems keeping track of assignments, conducting research, turning in work on time? Use Evernote to keep track of your thoughts and organize them visually. Many students' grades suffer due to a few academic or organizational weaknesses; these habits will continue to drag down grades if they aren't identified and remedied. The first step to acing this semester is figuring out what may have gotten in the way last year.
- Keep track of your work. After the first week of class, gather up your syllabi and enter every due date into your calendar using Google Calendar. If your problem isn't the work itself, but remembering to hand it in, set up reminders for upcoming assignments, before they're actually due. If you know your schedule gets hectic, block out times for studying, in a distraction-free setting. And if in the past, you've found yourself sucked into cat videos when you should be studying biology, try Self Control, a free app that limits access to certain sites or prevents users from going on the internet entirely for however long you want.
- Make a plan with parents, tutors, and teachers to stay on track. These people are all rooting for you to succeed, and they will do whatever they can to help. If you've reflected on what subjects challenged you last year, reach out to those teachers, professors, and tutors in September, before you have problems in those subjects. Check in with them weekly or bi-weekly to discuss your progress and set up regular study sessions with your Book&Table tutor to reinforce the lessons you're learning in class. This way, you won't be blind-sided halfway through the semester with a disappointing mid-term grade. Furthermore, teachers love to see effort. When a committed student struggles, but ultimately improves in their class, teachers are much more likely to round up their grade. This can be the difference between a mediocre grade, and a great one.
It may seem like you've got a long ten months ahead of you, but if you stick to these three easy steps this September, you'll set yourself up for academic success all year long. Just be proactive, and talk to your support network. And if you're still feeling stuck, just remember that Book&Table tutors are always here to help.