Tips for Academic Success: Part II


Welcome to my much awaited part II of tips on how to kick you-know-what in your college level courses!

What time of day do you study best?

Some people study best in the morning. Some claim to only be able to study when it is dark out. For me, I find studying when it is dark kind of sad! I like to get it over with and have my nights free to relax and do what I like. Most of the fun things to do are at night anyway. Getting your stuff done ahead of time leaves you with no worries come night time and makes it that much more fun! Still, you have to schedule your day according to what works for you.

Find an upper classman mentor

There is nothing more valuable than learning from the challenges of those who came before you. Sorry, this piece of advice sounds like it comes from a fortune cookie! 😉 But it is SO true! Don’t be shy – upper classmen seriously love to share (or vent) on what strategies worked for them and what didn’t.

Get the worst done first

This is the most difficult advice I have to give you in all of my posts. You know what the worst thing on your to-do-list is. Just buckle down and get it over with first. The stress relief after you’ve finished is so worth it!

Be an active learner

This could mean a variety of things. If you are in a chemistry class, do all of the practice homework listed, not just the required assignments. Take notes while you are in lecture. Draw pictures to represent concepts. Talk out ideas with your teaching assistant and have them guide your understanding of the concepts.

Spend 10 minutes with a librarian

Even coming from a top notch high school, I came into college with no idea how to write a research paper (much less how to even start researching for one!). Right away, I knew I would save time by seeking out someone who knew what they were doing – a librarian. Librarians are there to help you. Yes, you. They will show you how to navigate the immense resources we have at Illinois.

Remember, feeling challenged is what you are supposed to be feeling!

I am sure that you have heard this before, but college classes require a lot more effort than high school classes. You are not the only one feeling that your classes are difficult. It is just that people don’t tend to complain about how frustrated or stressed they are feeling. Still, remember a little stress is normal. If you weren’t feeling any stress, you wouldn’t be learning anything!


Please note that comments close after 90 days.

Matt LoLordo

April 12, 2010, 10:00 pm


Can you email me part I of your tips for academic success. I only read part II and wasn’t sure where to find part I




F Irtefa

April 18, 2010, 1:20 am

Hi Alessandra,

Awesome articles! Keep them coming!


F Irtefa