Everyone defines for themselves what it means to be perfect. If you can create your own definition, you can create your own goals and path to perfection. As long as you aren’t too hard on yourself if perfection isn’t achieved, you will surely still achieve success! Here are the top tips to guarantee your success in becoming the perfect student.
Get Involved and Make Connections
Meet People in Classes:
If you are taking in-person classes, show up to your classes a few minutes early or stay a few minutes late in order to meet people. If you are taking online classes, utilize the online forums and groups to meet people and find classmates with shared interests.
Introduce yourself to your professors and classmates. For online students, this will likely be an email or phone conversation. In traditional classes, introduce yourself to both professors and TAs in person.
One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to network. Find out what professors and teachers are working on, and where other students’ interests are. Tell everyone your interests and see who you can connect with.
Join Clubs and Meetups:
Clubs and meetups are an amazing resource for becoming a perfect student. You will strengthen your current interests, find new ones, and have the potential for leadership positions and networking. For online students, you can still get involved! Start getting active in online groups and forums tailored to your interests, either through your university or in professional organizations.
Go the Extra Mile:
This can mean whatever you make it to mean. Do the extra credit on assignments or volunteer to lead an in-person or online study group. Find how you can do more than what’s necessary and be proactive in doing it.
And be motivating! You can be seen as a leader in your class, both online and in person by asking questions, being organized and being friendly. Having a good time while studying will help you be motivated in your classes.
Top Tip to Get Started — If making connections and being outgoing doesn’t come naturally to you, start small by finding just one person or one professor who seems approachable and introduce yourself. The more you do this, the more comfortable you will get.
Attend Your Classes and Participate in Them
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Go to Class:
As a busy student, it might be very tempting to skip classes or recorded lectures and simply read materials or catch up later. However, this is not how to become the perfect student and guarantee success. So much is gone over in class or on recorded lectures that you won’t get from study materials. This is especially true in regards to assignment information or important class updates.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is true for if you don’t understand something or need clarification, but there’s an added bonus too. Your teacher will get to know you better, making letters of recommendation easier, as well as referrals for jobs.
Focus During Lectures:
Close all irrelevant browser tabs and put your phone and notifications on silent. This is advisable for online lectures as well. If you are distracted, you won’t take in as much information. For recorded lectures, you will find yourself wasting time by rewinding frequently.
Have a Positive Attitude:
If you start your classes every day wishing you weren’t there, you will make it harder on yourself. Starting your day with a positive attitude will make you more motivated to learn and be happier to be in class.
Take the Lead:
In class discussions, whether in person or in online forums, take the lead on topics that you know about and are passionate about. In group projects, do the same. You will get leadership experience and others will get to know you as a leader.
Top Tip to Get Started — If attending classes, focusing in class, or participating in class is hard for you, make an incentive calendar for yourself. Every day that you go to class or participate, mark it on your calendar. See how many you can get to in a row, and reward yourself with something amazing at the end of the month for making your goals.
Get to Know Your Professor (or TA)
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Make Yourself Known:
Introduce yourself online or in person. Tell your professor or TA a bit about your experience and why you are taking this class. If you can do a bit of research on the teacher’s experience, bring that into the conversation briefly as well. Make a point to go to office hours. For online students, these might be phone office hours. Don’t be afraid to pick up that phone and introduce yourself that way as well. If your teachers know you personally, this will lead to a better relationship.
If you hear of an incredible internship, job, or company you’d like to work for, see if your professors or TAs have any connections there. The more you know your professors as well, the more likely they will be to bring up any opportunities they come across to you.
Top Tip to Get Started — At the beginning of each semester, put it on your to-do list to conduct a quick search on your professor to find out any projects, organizations or associations they are involved in. Then, draft an email or write some notes for introducing yourself in person.
Take Good Notes and Review Them
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Study at Your Own Pace:
If viewing a lecture online, take time to pause the recording and process, and take notes. Make sure you are processing everything that is being said. Don’t rush through recorded lectures or get frustrated if you have to go back to review a topic.
Learn How to Take Good Notes:
Figure out how you best learn from note taking. A common mistake students make is to just repeat everything written on a slide, however that may be waste of your time and you likely won’t actually process anything if you don’t put the material into your own words. Color coding is an excellent way to take notes. Create a highlighting system for easier review later, whether on your laptop or on a paper notebook. Finally, make sure to review your notes often to ensure you understand the material. This can help you to avoid cramming for exams.
If something isn’t making sense to you during a lecture, don’t just passively skip over it. Make it make sense to you — whether by working through more of a similar problem set, or by contacting a classmate or teacher. Make notes of which topics you will need to study more later on.
Top Tip to Get Started — Review notes you’ve taken from past classes. Make a mental note of what worked and didn’t work for you, and use that information going forward.
Find Your Perfect Organization System
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Make Time to Study:
The easiest way to lose points in a class is by forgetting a test date or missing a deadline. Get a good study schedule/routine going, schedule in study hours, and find your own study pace that makes you most successful.
This could be through a wall calendar, phone application, or bound planner. Any way that works for you, you will need some way of organizing all the deadlines and personal obligations of a student, especially if you are studying online.
Top Tip to Get Started — If getting organized and making time to study doesn’t come naturally to you, enlist the help of a family member, friend, or colleague. Another person can keep you accountable, and you can even set up study hours together.
How to Be the Perfect Online Student
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Studying online comes with special circumstances — more flexibility means more responsibility on yourself to manage your time well.
For example, at the University of the People, you are free to view recorded lectures at any time, but that means you need to create your own schedule to make sure you watch them all before the course ends. Freedom from scheduled class times also means you need to be more proactive in making connections with colleagues and professors online. Remember, the more you give, the more you get. Just because you are studying at a distance doesn’t mean you should do the minimum. Do the best you can in all discussion forum work, as well as other online assignments.
Studying online can give you the freedom and power to study exactly how you see fit, and can be a great way to guarantee your success if you’re looking to be the perfect student while still maintaining your current lifestyle.
Top Tip To Get Started — Plan to introduce yourself to teachers and professors over email at the start of the semester. If you have a class list of other students, see if you can find any of them on LinkedIn and start making connections there. For getting organized, make a schedule for each class right when you receive the syllabus. This way, you never miss a deadline and you always give yourself time for class work and any readings. For more tips on how to be a great online student, check out our guide.
10 Qualities of a Good Student
Here are the top qualities that will have you on your way to becoming the perfect student.
- Motivation to succeed
- Organization (in notetaking and setting academic goals)
- Time management skills
- Focus (for lectures and assignments)
- Discipline to read the materials and attend all lectures
- Willingness to challenge yourself
- Self-determination to achieve academic goals
- Leadership to find a study group
- Friendly attitude towards professors and classmates
- Getting enough sleep
Negative Qualities of a Student
And here are some qualities you may want to avoid…
- Skipping class
- Not being on top of deadlines
- Cramming for a test
- Bad study habits
With all these tips and more, you can easily be on your way to becoming the perfect student. Whether you are studying online, such as at the University of the People, or in person, you can create your own path to success.