An NASSP Student Leadership Initiative

How to be a Successful Student

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is this: Do not be afraid to ask for help. All too often, pride or shame stands in the way of individuals functioning at their very best.

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How to be a Successful Student

As you continue to move through your education journey, whether that means moving toward a university, a trade, or simply the next level of academics, you may find yourself searching for the secret to success. Luckily, the keys to success aren’t a secret at all; in fact, there are hard-and-fast fundamentals you can embody that will set you on the right path to your desired achievement. That being said, it won’t always come easily—but hard work will pay off, and if you digest and exemplify these “rules” of success, you will have made giant leaps toward a brilliant future.

Envision your future self. To get to where you want to be, you first have you imagine yourself already there to create something to work toward.

Create goals and celebrate achievements. Give yourself smart and attainable goals, and be proud when you meet them. Each celebration will make you more likely to set a new, more challenging goal.

Be steadfast and tenacious. Never give up. You may encounter setbacks, but remember to brush yourself off and stay your course. No one succeeds at everything the first time; it’s their tenacity that gets them to their goal.

Find value in helping others learn and retain content. When you help others learn, you learn something too. By sharing your experiences and ideas, you’ll bolster your own knowledge while assisting others in doing the same.

Determine what it takes to be successful in future studies or professional efforts. It’s never too early to start your education about your future self. Start gathering information about your desired college, trade, or career—you might be surprised at what you learn.

Push and invest in yourself. YOU are your best asset and biggest cheerleader. Give yourself the time, motivation, practice, and encouragement you need to reach your goals.

Possess a motivation to learn. Success doesn’t fall into your lap. You have to want to succeed, want to learn, and want to work for it. Desire and motivation are what gets you across the finish line.

Operate as a critical thinker. Take what you learn and apply it to your surroundings, then challenge it as necessary.

Employ an entrepreneurial mindset. Take control of your own path, and plan what it will take to get you where you want to be.

See value in interdisciplinary approaches. There is rarely only one best way to achieve something. Try to take well-rounded tactics as you take each step in your journey.

Read and pose the difficult questions. Sometimes the best learning comes from challenging what you already know. Ask yourself and others the hard questions and discover something new.

Appreciate research and seek opportunities to create new knowledge. Use current research to build a foundation where you can, then look for new ways to learn and new information to absorb.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is this: Do not be afraid to ask for help. All too often, pride or shame stands in the way of individuals functioning at their very best. Some of the greatest contributions to education—and every other field of study or industry—have been peer-reviewed, critiqued, and have received advisement from those who came earlier. Learn from those notes, and thank those who have invested in your academic success.

Ask for help. As you honor your future, realize there are others who are willing and able to contribute to your success—just ask.