How to be a Successful Student

Over the last couple of years, I’ve asked several students what habits have made a difference for them, what has made them successful. Here’s what they said.

Don’t get behind!

This goes without saying, right? It’s also easier said than done. Make it a priority this semester to attend every class meeting (or check in regularly with your online class) and complete all of your assignments on time.

Actually do the reading.

In college, teachers don’t always give reading quizzes to make sure you’re reading the assignments in your textbooks. That doesn’t mean the reading isn’t important. It is. Read it.

Use the math labs and tutoring.

When you’re struggling with a subject, don’t suffer alone. Seek help. Our math and writing labs are staffed by faculty who are committed to supporting your learning. We also have free tutoring in just about any subject for students who are at-risk of failing.

Form study groups.

Not only is it a lot more fun sometimes to study with others, it’s actually very effective. Take the initiative to start a study group for your next class. I’m betting you’ll be happy you did.

Talk with your teacher.

Ask for help. Get advice or clarification. It might be a little frightening, but most instructors do want to talk with you—that is why they are here.

This is all pretty practical advice, but since it’s coming from your fellow students, you know it works. What have you done to be successful in college? What advice would you share with new students?


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Andy Dorsey is the President of Front Range Community College. He joined FRCC in 1993, teaching psychology and economics and earning Master Teacher honors in 1999. Before becoming an educator, he worked as a project manager in two businesses, non-profit manager, and legislative director for a Congressman.

3 Responses to “How to be a Successful Student”

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September 17, 2012 at 9:14 am, Kathleen said:

I would add: Go to every class! You will learn more in the presence of others and you have an expert to consult for clarification on a matter.. Do your homework and assignments; not only do they increase understanding of a subject so you learn more, neglecting to submit homework is a grade killer.

Avatar for Andy Dorsey

October 09, 2012 at 4:06 pm, Joshua Wiliams said:

My input to help other students and folks in life in general is….. Get engaged, be informed, Follow political elections and get involved. Stand up for what you believe in, however chose you battles wisely. Advise others when they are wrong (politely/professionally), and admit when you are wrong. Do not go with the flow, yet do not make waves. Research, Research, Research, an informed student/teacher/voter/ father/ mother/… extremely important. Knowledge is power, and power gives us the energy to succeed. Do not be selfish, ignorant, or rude, treat others the way you want to be treated. Stand up for your self and do not let others walk all over you, yet do not jump at every opportunity to engage in battle. These are just some of the items and suggestions that I have learned and wish to share with others.

April 08, 2013 at 8:06 am, 5 Tips To Be a Successful International Student | Front Range Community College Blog said:

[…] Some cultures don’t consider asking questions a positive thing. I am from Japan and asking question in Japan was definitely a negative thing to do there. But here in America, people love questions! It shows your effort to understand and the fact that you are listening to them. So never be afraid to ask questions! It is one of the most important things to be a successful student. […]