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The Daily Tar Heel

How to study at a college level effectively

“Be gentle with yourself. College is very different from high school.”

Transitioning from high school to college can be difficult for students. In order to set themselves up for success, students should create positive study habits that help them perform well in college courses.

UNC students use a variety of techniques in order to create effective and healthy study habits — such as scheduled study sessions, studying in public places and switching up the content to avoid burnout. 

One way that students stay on top of things in college is through proper time management. Sophomore and environmental studies major Karen Jordan said planning study sessions is essential for staying on top of work.

She said that at the beginning of her study sessions, she writes out a to-do list for the day. 

“I try to work a little bit on each class at a time,” she said. “I do this so that I don’t get burned out on one subject.”

To avoid burnout, Gracie Miller, a sophomore psychology major, said she often takes breaks in order to avoid overworking herself while studying.

“If I’m sitting there for two hours I would make sure to get up and go do something for me,” she said. “Whether that is going on a walk, making some food, hanging out with friends. Something for me that would make me feel like I wasn’t just a student.”

Another important study habit is to study in groups. Jordan said studying with peers can be beneficial to the learning process. Finding one or two people in mutual classes can help students socialize while getting work done, she said.

Junior media and journalism major Marilee Combs said studying at public places on campus helps her study effectively. Her favorite spot is the Student Union because being around other students inspires her to get work done.

Understanding that college is more difficult than high school is important for many students entering college. Combs said many students have high expectations for themselves in high school — creating pressure on themselves to do well in college classes. 

Combs said succeeding in college involves limiting those previous expectations and making sure that you have your own back.

“Be gentle with yourself," she said. "College is very different from high school. Try to be more on top of things. The biggest difference between high school and college is that in high school, teachers guide you. But college is more self-driven and you have to be your own advocate.” 


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