Al-Fanar Media has been looking at tips for student success from universities in various countries.
Australia’s Charles Sturt University, with campuses in several states across the country, tells potential students that going to university will change their lives in ways beyond improving their employment prospects. Succeeding in the university experience, it says, will help get you ready to “make your mark on the world.” It summarizes some of the most important benefits as:
Discovering your passion. Being an undergraduate is probably the only time of life when someone has time to dive deep into everything that fires their imagination, and discover their talents.
Making friends for life. At university, students meet the largest number of people who share their interests and because of course, many will be in the same field of study. This makes it the place where friendships that last for life are made.
Enjoying independence. University students may not have had real independence away from their parents’ care and authority before. At university they have to manage their lives and make decisions relying on themselves most of the time, especially if their university lodgings are away from home. This should enhance self-confidence.
Acquiring skills. The abilities to analyse, communicate effectively, solve problems, resilience, team-working, and leadership are all skills which should be acquired at university. It will differ from one student to the next, but all students begin to develop these skills at university.
Getting ready for practical life. University plays a crucial role in graduates’ practical life, whether they decide to work in their chosen field or another, thanks to the skills they acquired at university, the capabilities they discovered in themselves, and the people they met.
Developing Soft Skills at University
DeVry University, in Chicago, has published tips from three graduates and students on the most important ways to develop at university. One of the main ones was giving students room to pursue their curiosities and gain experience. Even when that curiosity is not directly related to their field of study, it will surprisingly help them in their academic progress, the writers say.
The article also recommends trying to develop the critical thinking and communication skills that will be needed after graduation. These include communicating different ideas through dialogue, writing, and even body language.
Participation in student or social activities helps develop students’ soft skills because these activities require teamwork, thinking about others, a willingness to work under pressure and a high level of competitiveness, which was probably unfamiliar to students in pre-university life.
Maintaining Health and Wellness
Tips for university students are not limited to their academic work. The Camden Centre of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in the United States, recommends a set of health and wellness tips, including:
Pay attention to diet. You have to eat the correct portions of food and vary your diet to give your body the nutritional values it needs. Rutgers also advises students to eat fruits and vegetables throughout the day, and drink an adequate amount of water, because it helps you concentrate, avoid overeating, and maintain skin moisture. It is preferable to reduce the amount of caffeine and fast food as much as possible because of their negative impact on health.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity is important, no matter how busy your schedule is. You should always do proper warm-up and stretching exercises before exercising to avoid muscle injuries. Your exercise could include riding a bike, joining one a sports team, or going to the gym. If none of these are not available or suitable, you should take a daily walk of appropriate length for your age and fitness level.
Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential to good health. Always aim to get a night of deep and sufficient sleep. Naps can help too, but avoid studying in bed as it stimulates the mind, which can impede sleep. Try to set a fixed bedtime and create the correct atmosphere by turning off the lights and reducing noise as much as possible.
Stay healthy. It is important to do all you can to avoid viral and bacterial infectious diseases at university. Rutgers recommends taking the available vaccinations against seasonal diseases such as influenza, avoiding mixing with people who are sick, and going to a doctor if you experience continuous symptoms with no known cause.
Acquiring Practical Skills
The main objective of undergraduate study is getting the best possible preparation for practical life after graduation. This requires students to develop skills like those mentioned by the Romanian job website SkillMeter. It advises becoming proficient in such skills as:
Public speaking. Students and graduates should learn how to speak in public so they can present work ideas or projects. Such abilities can be developed by joining some student activities and participating in academic discussions.
Coding. Having software skills and understanding coding can see some graduates preferred when applying for various jobs. Knowing how to code also teaches logical thinking. For an introduction to where to find resources to learn programming online, see a related article from Al-Fanar Media, “A Students’ Guide to Learning Programming Languages Online”.
Writing résumés or job applications. SkillMeter suggests practicing to achieve proficiency in these skills, ensuring that your writing is direct, clear, and free of repetition, spelling and grammar mistakes.
Canada’s University of Toronto Scarborough offers several tips to help students succeed academically. Its advice includes:
Set realistic goals. Students should set goals that are clear, measurable, and realistic. In addition, they should maintain a positive attitude and confidence, attend lectures regularly, and study for two to three hours for every hour of class time.
Take notes in class. Taking good notes and recording lectures will help organise study before exams. The university also suggests dividing the curriculum into headings and collecting definitions in one place, to make it easier to absorb the subject.
Manage time and energy. Students obviously need to allot sufficient time to develop their abilities and acquire skills, but it’s equally important to make sure you also have sufficient energy to think creatively and complete tasks with full mental focus on them. You can read more about managing time and energy in a previous article from Al-Fanar Media, “Managing Your Energy Is Key to Performing Well in Work or School, Authors Say.”