Top 7 Best Habits of Highly Successful Students

April 22th, 2023

Many accomplished students tend to follow specific habits that allow them to achieve their educational goals. Whether you are in your first year of high school or last year of university, if you are looking to boost your academic performance, you will find these study tips beneficial. They will give you an upper hand in school and you will be grateful that you came across this article. 

Highly successful students, the ones who are collected, focused and well-rounded when it comes to all areas of their lives, do one thing that separates them from those who just do well academically and that is cultivating habits that set them up for success. 

That is why today, Dr. Jessica Houston, a licensed social worker, college professor, consultant and professional speaker is going to share 7 powerful habits of highly successful students with you.


I have been in the field of education for over a decade, and I have discovered that earning a degree or a diploma is more about persistence and commitment than intellectual capacity. Intellectual capacity cannot replace a strong work ethic. Intellectual capacity cannot replace discipline and determination. I have seen students of average intelligence work hard and outperform students who were extremely intelligent. When it comes to crossing the finish line, you have to have a ‘no matter what’ attitude. Even if you find yourself in a course that is challenging, or if you have a professor that is challenging, you must choose to finish what you started. I have seen friends, colleagues and very bright students say they were just going to take one term off to deal with a situation and they never returned. They did not drop out because they were not capable, they dropped out because of their circumstances. And so, when you are committed to finishing what you started, there is no stopping you. 


It is very important that you establish a relationship with each teacher. I discovered that only a few out of many students are intentional about making a personal connection with their teacher. Also, when you graduate, you are likely going to need a couple of reference letters. Then, you can always go back to a former teacher that you established a good working relationship with and ask them to write a letter of recommendation for you. 


Productivity is not about doing more. It is about doing less with a laser focus. It is important that you manage your time and your energy wisely. It is also important that you prioritize and focus on what matters most first. Once you identify and schedule your priorities, do not let anyone talk you into rearranging your schedule. Putting your priorities first is not selfish. It is called self-management. 


For most of us, taking the time to get everything organized is not fun, but being organized actually helps you to save time, and you will feel better knowing where everything is instead of feeling stressed about not being able to find what you need when you need it. And one strategy that will make a big difference is to add all of your assignments and exam dates to your calendar. I also recommend that you begin preparing for assignments and exams a minimum of one week in advance. By spreading out your study time, you avoid cramming, which will actually reduce your anxiety level. Spreading out your study time allows you to also break down a big project into manageable pieces. I recommend that you focus on what is directly in front of you instead of trying to focus on your assignment as a whole. What you will find is that tackling one section at a time is less overwhelming and as you focus on the step in front of you, you are actually getting closer to finishing your project. 


Let’s go back to relationship building. Good papers are less time consuming to grade so your teacher will appreciate that you took the time to submit a well written and a well thought out paper. On the flip side, poorly written papers are very time consuming to grade. Also, if you have a grading rubric, compare your paper to the grading rubric before submitting it. Students often lose points due to missing an entire section or not fully answering the questions. Do not try to take shortcuts. Find out what your teachers want and give them exactly what they are looking for. When you get feedback, read it. It might sting, but it will prevent you from making the same mistake when submitting your next assignment. 


I recommend that you read for personal and professional development. Reading is critical to expanding your knowledge base. You can learn in one week what it took the author a decade to learn. Reading also allows you to open your mind to a different point of view. It expands your vocabulary and it enhances your critical thinking skills. If you want to set yourself apart from everyone else and set yourself up for success, strive to read a book a week. 


Yes, studying is important and it should be on your calendar, but having a stress outlet is equally important. I recommend that you take at least a 5 minute mental break for every hour of studying. Sometimes, you can overextend yourself by studying for hours without a break and without realizing it. You are actually diminishing your performance and your productivity. So, take many breaks when you are studying for long periods of time and try to have something fun scheduled to reward yourself for all the hard work. 

As an added bonus, I want to encourage you to ask for help when you need it. Life can get tough for all of us and it is important that you have someone that you can lean on for support. The key to winning is persistence. Know what your dream life looks like and do not let anyone or anything stop you from crossing the finish line. 

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Related Links:

The Habits of Highly Successful Students – 7 BEST Study Tips From A 


Spoken by Dr. Jessica Houston 

Motivation2Study Podcast (Study Motivation)

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