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10 Back To School Tips

A new semester can be challenging to freshmen and upperclassmen alike. Proper preparation with the appropriate tools will help students overcome obstacles during the academic year.

1. Layout a calendar based on class syllabus

Procrastination can hinder students’ success. An overview of deadlines and exam dates will help students build a schedule that will allow for built-in study time, as well as avoid work conflicts and last minute cramming.

For online scheduling, there are a number of tools that will work on a variety of devices that will notify users of upcoming events or due dates.



Business Calendar

Google Calendar



Fantastical 2

iOS Calendar

With a physical planner, students have more freedom to write in notes, highlight important dates, and organize effectively.

2. Explore new study methods

An effective study session is more important than a long one. Students can benefit from trying other study methods that may help increase academic success.

Pomodoro TechniqueStudy with frequent breaks

Focus on one set of of materials

Study for 25 minutes, this is called a Pomodoro.

Take a 5 minute break

After 4 Pomodoros take a long break.

Transfer notes

Whether the student is handwriting their notes or typing, transferring from one medium to the other may improve memorization. It has been found that the physical act of handwriting notes is effective in improving memorization. However, many students may struggle to keep up with a lecture while handwriting. These students should type their notes, then transcribe them to paper.

Teach your notes

Test your knowledge of a particular concept by trying to teach the concept to a student not taking the course. Have your friend stop you whenever they get confused. Finding other ways to explain a concept will solidify your own understanding.

3. Talk to classmates

No student succeeds without the help of others. Having a classmates cell phone or email address will help students reach out to each other to remind each other of deadlines, clarify confusing concepts, or share notes from a missed class.

To find classmates’ email:

Type their name into Gmail – their address will auto-populate the text box.

Blackboard allows students to reach out to their entire class or to individual classmates

4. Utilize campus resources

TWU offers many resources to push students to success. These resources will connect students with staff who excel in courses where students may struggle.

Write Site – Provides assistance at all stages of writing process

Mathematics and Technology Success Center – Offers tutoring for students enrolled in math and computer science courses.

Science Learning Resource Center – Offers study materials, handouts, and other assistance for science courses.

5. Get involved on campus

Involvement on campus can play a large role in college success, both academically and socially. Students can meet friends in other degree programs and classifications, providing them with a diverse array of experiences to learn from.

For a list of student organizations and how to join, visit the link:

6. Create independent projects

Creating extra-curricular projects help a student stand out from other applicants and show an employer dedication, self-discipline, and motivation. These projects should include concepts learned during courses and through other research.

Whether this project is a research paper, a short story, or a program, the TWU library can help students find a quiet place to study or books to borrow for research.

7. Create a budget

The importance of financial responsibility does not start after graduation. Students should begin budgeting as soon as possible. Regardless of income, a well balanced budget can help students control their finances, avoid unexpected expenses, and limit debt.

A popular budgeting program “You Need A Budget” is free to students with a .edu email address.

To download this program, instructions are posted on You Need A Budget website.

8. Prepare ahead of each class.

Using the resources ahead of class can help students identify possible areas in which they may struggle. By identifying each challenge, a student can focus on these concepts during lecture and begin the process of understanding before other students.

Reviewing these resources before reading required texts can also help students identify which concepts the professor finds important and may later be found on a quiz or exam.

9. Communicate with professors

Professors work hard to break down complicated material to help students learn. Discussing challenges of the course can help students find extra resources for studying and help the professor identify where students are struggling to address those issues in a lecture.

Students can find the contact information and office hours of their professors through Blackboard.

10. Focus on Getting Enough Sleep.

Sleep is a very important part to a healthy body and mind; but as often sacrificed by college students. Harvard Medical School finds that “A sleep deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently.” With this in mind, students should prioritize sleep over other activities in order to be able to focus during class.

  • A bedtime routine may include some of the following
  • Remove distractions from bedroom – phone, tv, laptop, etc
  • Read a book before bed to relax
  • Avoid sugary drinks and food before bed.

Using some or all these tools may help you become a better student. If you’d like to share another tip with others, please leave a comment below this article.

a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently.”

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