5 Bad Habits that are Holding You Back from Academic Success

No student sets off to get a college degree with the intention of doing extremely poorly, but it happens in almost every class. But the good news is, it's most likely a collection of bad habits. And the even better news is, they're probably easier to fix than you thought.

Bad Habit #1: Missing Class

Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take". By not showing up to class, you're giving yourself very little chance of ever succeeding. Sure, you could read the textbook and maybe pick up a bit of information that way, but it just isn't the same. When you're actually present in class, you have the invaluable opportunity to ask questions, notice what other people say and ask, and pick up on extra tidbits the prof mentioned that aren't in the textbook.

Bad Habit #2: Being Glued to Your Phone During Class

This isn't just disrespectful to the prof and your classmates, but it's a waste of your class time, too. Every minute you spend on your phone is one minute you're not learning information (you paid thousands of dollars for!). If you really need to use your phone that badly, excuse yourself from class and use it in the hall. But try to put it on airplane mode during lectures so you can use that time for what it's intended – learning.

Bad Habit #3: Not Doing the Assigned Readings

The reading list for a class isn't just a selection of the prof's favorite articles, it's a list of readings designed to expand on the information he or she is lecturing about. Say you're taking an English Lit course: the reading list will include works by authors that complement each week's lesson, and is intended to educate you on different periods and writing styles. Plus, it's for your own benefit so you can prove you know what you've been taught.

Bad Habit #4: Procrastinating

This may not always be the worst habit to have, but it's how it translates into other areas that can spell trouble. You may be able to swing that paper the day before it's due, but there's something to be said for leaving it for a few days and editing it with fresh eyes. But procrastinating also means you're leaving a lot up to chance, like life's emergencies that regularly pop up. You won't get a lot of sympathy from your prof for a late assignment if you have to explain you haven't actually started it yet.

Bad Habit #5: Not Getting Your Affairs in Order

There are two times you can become organized about your studies: before the semester starts, and during the semester. Want to take a guess as to which time is easier? If you said before the semester, you'd be absolutely right. There are no quizzes, lecture notes or readings to sort through, just empty binders that need colored tags. And if you're not the type to keep an organizer, try taking an hour to write everything down all at once, or program your iPhone to set off alarms whenever anything's due.