We all want to excel at University, but it hard to know where to begin. What does the top student look like, and how can I fulfil my potential?
Although this list will not get the top grades for you, hopefully it will lead you in the right direction. We asked University tutors what are the characteristics of every successful student, and this is what they said:
This seems fairly obvious, but anyone will tell you that it is hard to succeed in a course that you have no interest in. Ensure that you pick a subject/modules that you feel passionate about!
To maintain your interest in your subject, why not write a list of all the reasons you chose it in the first place, and perhaps start planning what you would like to do with your qualification after.
Unlike school, you will not have anyone looking over your shoulder to make sure you do all your work and go to all of your classes. This is where genuine interest comes into play; you have to be enthusiastic and responsible enough to go to class (even if that means you can’t go out clubbing as you know you need to be awake at 7am)
Don’t just turn up to the lecture or seminar, actually engage. Have a proactive approach, take detailed notes, and ask/answer questions. Really show to your tutor that you are trying.
Good Time Management
There is no point attending all of your classes if you are going to leave your coursework/revision to the last minute and do a rushed job that does not do you justice. Prioritise university over other things to ensure that you have enough time to read all of your texts for the class, revise, write essays, and go over notes.
Sometimes it can feel like too much extra effort to arrange to see your tutor outside of class times to discuss something you don’t understand, or perhaps you just feel embarrassed. However, remember that admitting that you need extra help is totally fine and encouraged!
Your tutor would rather you came and had a chat with them, rather than seeing you underachieve. All you have to do is drop them an email!
This mainly applies to more essay-based subjects, but it is very valid. At University, you should feel free to explore unique ideas and tread the path less travelled. You are an academic, and you have to have faith in yourself!
Read around the subject and try your hardest to come up with quirky and niche ideas. Read a book, visit an art gallery, get yourself inspired. Your tutor will award you extra marks for creativity, and you will stand out amongst all the other students writing the exact same essay with the obvious answer.
Reading and Writing Skills
Not everyone is a natural-born bookworm, but tutors do notice a distinct difference between students who never read, and those who have gone near a book once in their lives. Their grammar is better, their vocabulary is more advanced, and they have more flare in their writing.
Perhaps try reading the news or trying out the latest book hand picked by Richard and Judy. You will be shocked at how much easier writing seems!
Being Open to Alternative Perspectives
You cannot have a well-informed argument without being, well, informed. Openly listening to other’s opinions in your discipline and trying to genuinely see things from their perspective may enable you to have a more well-rounded understanding of the topic. They may come from a background different to yours, or know something that you didn’t. Success is not just the ability to put forward your own ideas, but also to proactively engage with others. This does not necessarily mean blindly agreeing to every opinion that you hear, but learning how to develop your argument, and give constructive criticism.