6 High School Habits You Should Drop Before College

bad habits in college

College is very different from high school. The bad habits that allowed you to breeze through high school will ultimately hinder you in college. Success in college will require you to make major changes to your academic habits.

Below are 6 bad habits that are common among high schoolers. If you have any of them, consider making some changes and adjustments to help you become the best college student you can be.

Let’s jump right in…

1. Procrastinating

During high school, many students fall into the habit of procrastinating over tasks that are particularly boring or seem unnecessary. Procrastinating can make studying and completing assignments next to impossible. However, through dedication and commitment, you can overcome procrastination and develop productive habits for college. Don’t procrastinate, once you fall behind in college it’s hard to catch back up. There are a few things college students can do to stay on top of their studies.

Create A Schedule

Overcome procrastination by creating a good routine. You can do this by creating a schedule. Most high school students are provided with their schedules and don’t have to create their schedules themselves. In college, each student is responsible for creating their own schedule. Therefore, plan out your classes, work, study time, grocery shopping, homework, socializing, and workouts. Make a schedule that works with your school life, work life, family life, and social life.

Here are two simple time management tips to create a good routine:

  • Create A Schedule: Make a list of what you need to schedule. Classes, assignments, work, family, sports, and other activities. Prioritize what you need to complete first, and which tasks can wait. Schedule a time when you will do everything on your list. Try and stick to your schedule and adapt it if necessary. Not everything can be set in stone, life does happen.
  • Get Organized: Create a calendar. It can be a physical or a digital calendar like Google, iPhone, or Microsoft Outlook. Once you’ve chosen your calendar start filling it in. Note when you have classes, and when assignments, projects, and tests are due. Include midterms, finals, holidays, and breaks. Add other scheduled commitments like work, internships, meetings, and other extra-curricular activities. Be sure to look at your calendar daily, it’s what will keep you on track.

Don’t Be A Perfectionist

Generally, a perfectionist will do very well in their classes and on their assignments because they have turned in their best work. However, if perfectionism is the reason you’re procrastinating, you may struggle with turning in assignments that aren’t your best work or getting anything less than an A. During high school, getting straight A’s might have been easy and perfectionist tendencies may not have been an issue. But it’s important to acknowledge that generally, college classes are more time-consuming and intense than high school classes. Getting straight A’s in college is not necessary, practice your time management and aim for completing your tasks. Remember that sometimes a completed assignment is better than a perfect assignment because you will be able to complete other assignments and dedicate time and energy to other important tasks. 

2. Not Studying or Not Completing Assignments

While in high school, some students don’t prioritize studying or don’t complete assignments to just get by. Once in college, not studying or not completing assignments are habits that you must break. To be a successful college student, you must attend your classes, study, and complete all assignments.

Create The Perfect Study Space

Having an organized and clean study space will create a productive study environment saving you time and stress. It’s also one of the smartest things you can do as it sets you up to be a successful student. Choose a distraction-free zone that can be dedicated just to studying. Find a spot in your bedroom, home office, or even a quiet nook. Somewhere that’s out-of-the-way. The goal is to keep distractions to a manageable level. Make this spot permanent.

Avoid Distractions

It’s important to identify what distracts you and makes it difficult for you to study or work on your assignments. Once you identify these distractions, which may be TV, video games, texting, social media, reading, friends, sports, or other hobbies, then you can schedule a time when you avoid these distractions. You should schedule time for your distractions only after you have successfully completed your studying or assignments. Keep your study space free from unnecessary distracting technology such as TVs, video game consoles, or tablets.

3. Not Paying Attention In Class

No one wants a class clown in college. Paying attention in class needs to be a priority. This means not only should you listen to your professors as they lecture and teach, but you should also ask and answer questions. Be an active and engaging student. Depending on the class, this could be difficult. If the class is big and predominantly lecture-based there may be fewer opportunities to participate. However, find a way to engage and stand out among your classmates. It may be nothing more than keeping your eyes open. Show that you are actively involved by nodding along to what the professor is saying. Take good notes and don’t use your phone. I promise, your professors notice when you are paying attention or dozing off. Your notes and retention of the material will also reflect that you’re paying attention.

4. Not Asking For Help

Benefits Of Asking Your Classmates For Help

If you need help in a specific class reach out to your fellow classmates. There are several benefits to making friends with your classmates, including offering each other mutual support, studying, and working together on assignments, projects, quizzes, and tests. Reach out to your classmates and find effective study partners to team up with to get through the class. Together you can help each other remember due dates, proofread assignments, share flashcards, and take notes.

students in college working together

Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out To Your Professors

Though they can be intimidating, most professors don’t want you to be afraid of them, they genuinely want to connect with you. They want you to come to class ready to learn. They want to see that you are engaged and focused, but also respectful. Professors want students to learn, grow and succeed in their classroom. When you have questions, ask them during class, email your professors after class or visit them during their office hours.

More and more email is becoming the preferred way to contact a professor. It can be the perfect way for a student to ask a quick question. When you email your professor, it is a professional exchange. Therefore, how you choose to interact shows your level of seriousness and professionalism.

Over the course of your semester, stop by your professor’s office to review tests, and go over homework assignments or notes. Even if you are not struggling in the class and are confident in the subject, showing up during office hours will let your professor know that you care about the course and your work. I had a professor who was willing to review and grade all my papers before I submitted them because I visited during office hours and asked. Your professor will get to know who you are, and you’ll begin to develop a professional relationship.

5. Relying On Others For Reminders

Professors are not high school teachers. Professors may occasionally remind their students of due dates and projects that they should be working on, but don’t rely on your professors to do so. Professors expect college students to keep track of their due dates and manage their time to complete their tasks. Everything that is expected of you will be in your syllabus, refer to it often. If you need a gentle reminder from time to time rely on family. Family Support When Going To College Is So Important.

6. Bullying

If you were a bully in high school, you won’t be in college. That’s not how college works. No one really cares about you. You may have been a big fish in a little pond on your high school campus but in college, you’re just a little fish in a very big pond. Get over yourself, mature some, and focus on your studies. Everyone in college is just trying to get through their classes and their degree, there’s no need to make it any more difficult than it already is.