How Successful Students Get through University

There's no great secret to getting the best grades in your four years in college, but it can seem like a bigger mystery than the Sphinx's riddle. Students who consistently stay on top all have the following character traits in common.


Successful students know that life is full of learning, transitioning and, yes, failing, which is why they exercise patience in all aspects. They show patience in understanding that the last year of high school and the first year of college will be drastically different, and adjust accordingly. Likewise, they understand that one bad mark on a quiz isn't the end of their college life, but a test in patience to treat their education like a marathon, not a sprint.


This characteristic encompasses everything from asking questions in class to seeking outside sources that'll help complement in-course material. You don't necessarily have to conduct your own government-funded research project, but you should be questioning why something exists and what the alternatives are.


There's nothing wrong with confidence—far from it, as each successful student has a healthy dose of it—but it should be tempered. Humility is the ability to understand that your own skills and abilities aren't your gift to the world, but something that's come of hard work, dedication and discipline. It's also being able to recognize that you have limitations; there will always be someone better at anything than you; and that you recognize how other people's strengths can work in tandem with yours.


Knowing how to prioritize extends far beyond the classroom and into being able to balance life in general. It's having the foresight to understand that a night of sleep will do more than staying up all night to finish an assignment only worth 2% of the final grade (and also knowing that starting the assignment before the day it's due is the smart thing to do, even if it means passing up one coffee with friends). But on the flip side, successful students will also prioritize time for friends and leisure activities, knowing that these are just as important to schedule in.

Willingness to Step Out of the Comfort Zone

You don't have to suddenly drop everything and phone your local skydiving company as a way of stepping outside your comfort zone. But successful students who apply this trait the right way do so by recognizing that comfort and familiarity eventually lead to stagnation. They take courses that challenge them, join groups and clubs that stand for something, and keep an open mind to opportunities that come by.