Anyone Can Be a Good College Student

Anyone Can Be a Good College Student

            College is both a beginning and an end.  It is the time during which every student has to acknowledge the working world and lay the foundation to succeed or to fail based on his or her merits.  Every student entering college has faced years of teachers, classes, requirements, and homework, but for the first time, the ultimate academic finish line is in view.  The real world awaits the college graduate, and what was once merely the dream of the freedom of financial independence realized through a career is close to being a reality.  Depending on the type of college student one has been, this can be either a blessing or a curse, but anyone can be a good college student.

            Independence is one of the traits of a good college student, and it is one of the first educational lessons learned (WNY Collegiate Consortium of Disability Advocates).  School can be a frightening place at first.  A student’s initial foray into the world of academia generally begins with an abrupt separation from the ones a child knows.  For what is perhaps the first time, the youngster is taken somewhere, kissed gently on the cheek, and hears “everything will be fine” as it falls over the shoulder of the quickly retreating parent or guardian.  Fortunately, for most young academics, the day quickly turns into an exciting blur of games, finger painting, and snack-time, so all fears surrounding preschool/kindergarten are forgotten.  This general scenario is repeated at each new stage of academia, (i.e. first grade, middle school, high school, and college), and with each stage, the level of necessary independence is increased.  By the time a student ready to “go off to” college, he or she will have attained the requisite degree of independence to succeed.

            Regular and timely class attendance are also traits of the successful college student (Bainbridge College).  This, too, is a habit that is built upon throughout one’s educational career.  The early years of one’s education are in the hands of the student’s parent or guardian: it is the parent or guardian who bears the primary responsibility for getting the student to and from school, and it is also the parent or guardian who must explain each absence.  As the student gets older, more of the burden passes to him or her.  By the time a student has reached high school, he or she should be setting an alarm and completing the tasks necessary to ensure timely arrival to school, but it is still the parent or guardian who must provide the rationale for a missed class or school day.  Once in college, the onus to arrive and/or attend falls squarely on the shoulders of the student.  No longer are notes to “excuse” one’s absence required, and often when (or if) one arrives is of no consequence to the collegiate instructor.  Fortunately, the importance of timely and consistent attendance has been revealed to students by the time they reach the college level.

            “Successful students turn in assignments that look neat and sharp,” and the tools required to produce this type of work are presented early in one’s academic career (Cuesta College).  Students begin learning to write neatly as soon as they enter the realm of formal education.  Having tackled elemental tasks such as forming all of the letters of the alphabet, students move on to learning to write legible words and sentences until the time comes for their transition to typed and/or printed work.  Although some students are bound by formatting and presentation guidelines earlier, the average high school student begins to learn the importance of the first impression made by assignments that he or she turns in; in other words, students learn over time that neatness counts.

            The academic road is a long one, and it is filled with innumerable challenges, but it is a road that has been carefully constructed to ensure students’ success.  Beginning with early education, a variety of skills are introduced and nurtured in the hopes that these skills will become habitual.  Students need only follow the path that has been laid out for them by applyingwhat they have been given the opportunity to learn during their K-12 education, and anyone who understands that skills like independence, timely and regular class attendance, and neat work lead to academic success can be a good college student.


Bainbridge College.  (2002).  Characteristics of successful students. Retrieved November 10, 2006, from

Cuesta College.  (2003).  Characteristics of a successful student.  Retrieved November 10, 2006, from

WNY Collegiate Consortium of Disability Advocates.  (n.d.).  Desirable traits for college success.  Retrieved November 10, 2006, from


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