6 Ways to Make the Dean's List this Semester

Earning good grades in college is an amazing achievement, but it definitely doesn’t come easy. Last semester I juggled 13 credits, two jobs, involvement in clubs, and maintaining a social life. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but I pushed through and made the dean’s list! Doing well in school, along with balancing work, a social life, and making time for yourself can seem nearly impossible! However, with the right study habits and time management skills, you’ll be getting that notification that you made the dean’s list before you know it! Here are 6 ways you can make the dean’s list this semester without stressing yourself out (too much): 

1. Buy (and use) a planner! 

Planners may sound overrated, but they truly do make a difference when it comes to your academic life. You can find them for cheap at Target, Marshalls, or TJ Maxx in many unique designs and colors. Using a planner definitely made me feel more organized last semester. My #1 tip is to write down all the due dates for the assignments and other important information at the beginning of the semester for each class. That way, you already know what to expect throughout the semester and how you should manage your study time. Even though Canvas shows you when everything’s due on your dashboard, I still recommend writing down these dates in your planner, only because your professor may or may not rearrange some due dates or add in some extra assignments. 

2. Dedicate at least 4-6 hours a week for studying.

Everyone has different schedules and is taking different classes. However, I highly recommend setting time aside each week for studying/homework purposes. You can split these hours throughout the week, or during days you have off. For example, I usually start my homework on Sunday nights and spend all day finishing it on Monday since I have the day off from both school and work. This worked for me last semester, and even though I basically spent all my Mondays stuck in the house studying (so fun!!), I got a lot done. Create a studying schedule that works for you! And write it down as well!

3. Take notes on main ideas and key information during class discussions and lectures. 

Lectures can be super boring, I know. But in order to absorb the information better and to pay more attention is to jot down a few notes, whether it be handwriting them or typing them on your computer. It’s important to not write down every single word the professor is saying, but instead write down the most important information needed for the quiz, test, project, or assignment. Writing down my notes definitely helped me out, especially in the classes where I had no idea what was going on. After the lectures I didn’t really understand, I would research whatever the professor was saying and find a way to relate it back to my notes. Every professor and class are different. Some might teach in a way in which taking notes isn’t really necessary in order to succeed in the class. Therefore, pay attention to the assignments and what goes on in class, and keep in mind key concepts they want you to learn and apply. 

4. Complete the easiest homework assignments first. 

There are some nights where the to do list is so long that it seems as though it’ll never end, and you won’t be able to complete every task. Trust me, I’ve been there. When it comes to situations like these, I recommend completing the assignments of your easiest class first. Once you do this, you will feel more accomplished and not as overwhelmed. For example, since English is my best subject, I would complete my English homework first and then move on to my harder courses that required more of my time, such as Honors Seminar. If you’re a math person, complete your math homework first, and then move on to the other subjects. 

5. Turn off your phone and put away any other distractions while studying. 

This seems like the easiest task, yet it is also the hardest. Our phones can be big distractors when completing homework, and those 30 minutes spent procrastinating on Instagram could’ve been spent finishing up an assignment or studying for a quiz. Leave your phone charging in another room while you’re studying. I know it’s easier said than done but trust me when I say that it makes the biggest difference. 

6. Pace and make time for yourself. 

Work hard, play hard. As much as it’s important to give your all in terms of academics, your physical and mental health should be the top priorities. Spend a few hours studying, then go out and spend time with family. Don’t procrastinate in your studies in order to give yourself enough time to relax later. Life is too short to be constantly stressed out. It’s 1000% possible to get those As and have fun at the same time! 

Good luck and have an awesome semester! You got this!