High school is a fairly comfortable academic environment with the same classes seven hours a day, five days a week, nine months a year. Grades are constantly distributed, and teachers or parents take some responsibility for keeping track of your work and progress. You always know where you stand academically, and someone is always there to help you along the way.
However, once college classes start, wave goodbye to the comfort of high school, and say hello to flexibility and self discipline. School will no longer consist of standard seven-hour days; instead your schedule will be divided in terms of Monday/Wednesday/Friday and Tuesday/Thursday classes. Grades are also more scarcely distributed, so for weeks you may not know where you stand academically. A class syllabus will be your reminder for homework, projects, and exams, and it will be your responsibility to stay on top of your work.
Although moving on from the confines of high school academics to the less-structured college atmosphere may seem intimidating, building good self-discipline will help you adapt and increase your chances of success. In order to start developing the self-discipline so vital to that success, there are a few practices you can adopt:
Use Your Time Wisely—Since your college classes won’t run on a fixed schedule every day, there will be more time for completing your homework. If you have breaks in between classes, or days where your class schedule is lighter, use that time to catch up on reading assignments and knock out other homework.
Keep up with Deadlines—Also, it’s important to stay on top of your work so you’re prepared when certain assignments are due. Therefore, before classes start, invest in a day planner for the school year. As soon as you get a syllabus for each of your classes, write the due dates for papers, exams, etc. into your day planner. Always keep it with you so that you are aware of your first-priority assignments.
Develop a knack for patience—Since grades are not always going to be readily available to you, prepare as thoroughly as possible for major papers and exams so you don’t spend time agonizing over your grades while you wait for the actual outcome.
Incorporating these practices can help you develop the self discipline you need to adapt to a new academic environment. While study tips will of course help on the path to success, nothing beats old fashioned discipline.