Success in school is rarely an accident: students who excel tend to exhibit similar traits. As you consider your son or daughter’s progress in school, ask yourself, which habits does your child already practice? Which areas are in need of improvement? The list below summarizes some key behaviors that many academically successful students share:
1. Budgets time well:
Successful students are able to chunk large tasks into smaller, manageable pieces. This ensures that long-term projects or comprehensive unit tests are prepared for and completed on time without cramming or waiting until the last minute to finish. By working on a little bit each day, even the most daunting assignments become doable and less overwhelming.
2. Stays organized:
Most people agree that being organized for school is important, but so many children fail to follow through with keeping assignments, folders, and binders in order. Unfortunately, disorganization leads to lower grades: in addition to some teachers assigning grades based on the organization of binders and folders, staying organized with materials save lots of time, too (with less time spent looking for papers, recopying lost work, etc.).
3. Lives healthfully:
Getting adequate rest, proper nutrition, and staying hydrated are simple steps that reap big rewards. With more energy and mental clarity, activities that require concentration and speed (math problems, for example), will be easier to complete. And with improved focus, your child will make fewer mistakes and have the stamina to work through the school day and still return home with enough energy to complete homework, attend evening activities, etc.
4. Gets involved:
Many students who get involved with sports, music, art, and other extra-curricular activities (Girl Scouts, youth groups, etc.) may discover an interesting paradox: people tend to accomplish more when given less time. In other words, when time to complete the homework is limited, many students remain focused because they know they have a finite time to work (since the rest of the evening will be devoted to other activities). Conversely, having hours and hours of unstructured time may lead to procrastination (“I can finish my homework later”) and decreased efficiency. So, if your child isn’t taking part in any extra-curricular or community activities, encourage him or her to get involved!
5. Communicates with family:
This means that your son or daughter feels comfortable asking you for homework help or talking about any other issues in his/her life. When a child knows there’s a network of support at home, there’s a greater chance of working through problems (academic, social, emotional) that may otherwise hinder progress – or distract your child from focusing on academics.
6. Speaks up:
Communication needs to continue at school, too, so that your child feels comfortable asking for help. Most teachers are more than happy to review concepts and give pointers on a project for students who simply ask. But if your child is shy or reluctant to talk to the teacher, he or she is missing out on the extra assistance that could mean the difference between success and failure with a project or test.
7. Remains motivated:
Students who are willing to work and put in extra effort separate themselves quickly from those who simply complete work as quickly as possible and/or have low frustration tolerance levels. By demonstrating perseverance, your child gets to experience the joy of sticking with something – even if it’s challenging – and receiving the intrinsic satisfaction that comes with seeing a project (or test, essay, etc.) through to the end.
Of course, many variables play a part in school success; however, those who incorporate these habits of successful students consistently in their lives increase the odds of forging a positive path that lead to success in school…and beyond.