6 Secrets Every Successful College Student Knows

Successful college students have varying levels of ability and intelligence. But there are a few traits many of them have in common.6 Secrets Every Successful College Student Knows

The key to success for many of these high-performing students stems from a combination of mental preparedness and a knack for working smarter, not harder.

Here, we’ll examine six things that successful college students do and how they can help you.

Don’t Worry About That C

While getting good grades is obviously the point, and demonstrates your mastery of a subject, the occasional poor grade shouldn’t send you into a negative spiral.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson told TIME that he spent his college years pursuing his passions and interests, and students shouldn’t worry as much about their grades.

Be realistic about your grades and keep an eye on the ultimate goal: your degree.

OK With Failure

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

College is a time to try new things and experience life in a different way. And it won’t always work out the way you planned.

Successful students learn from failure and move forward in a positive way.

You shouldn’t let the possibility of failure deter you from taking a difficult class, joining a club or trying to land an internship in your field. Success isn’t a linear path. Make each mistake a learning experience.

Go to Class

This one might sound obvious, but there are many benefits to going to class beyond learning the material.

Successful students know that going to class regularly can help you:

  • Build relationships with your instructors
  • Form study groups with your peers
  • Find people you can get notes from if you do need to miss class
  • Get a better sense of potential test questions

You should also consider how people learn. You’ll be more prepared for tests and essays if you absorb the material through different channels: reading, hearing, seeing.

Get Involved on Campus

Successful students don’t just go to class and go home. They’re active members of the campus population—they join clubs, interact with instructors and Secrets Every Successful College Student Knowsparticipate in campus functions.

By staying in touch with whatever is going on at your school, you’ll feel more involved with the college lifestyle and be more likely to utilize campus resources.

You’ll make connections, discover groups and events, and meet new friends.

Good at Time Management

Time management is huge for college students.

You’re juggling classwork, a job (or two), and your social and familial responsibilities. Successful students know how to prioritize their hours and stay on task.

A few tips for being a good time manager include:

  • Being flexible
  • Being realistic about how much time you need to do a certain task
  • Knowing when to compromise
  • Making checklists
  • Knowing when to say “no”
  • Looking ahead and being prepared


In college, you will have to rely on yourself. Successful students know and embrace this concept.

Whether it’s talking to your instructor when you’re having problems in class, setting up a study group or fully utilizing campus resources, it will be up to you to find solutions to whatever challenges you’re facing.

Give these tips a try, and you should see returns in and outside the classroom. If you have a secret to your college success, tell us in the comments section below.