Pssst! Here Are The Secrets For A Successful New School Year!
A new school year brings new opportunities, new adventures, new friendships, and new challenges. For all students, and especially neurodivergent students, it is important to start a new school year on the right foot. Successful students tend to practice behaviors that translate to better grades – no matter what the content of a class may be. The following are the secrets for a successful new school year:
Sit in the front row
Research has proven that students tend to do better in class when they sit in the front or
as close to the front of the classroom as possible. The main reason that this works is because students in the front are more engaged in the class because they can see the professor looking right at them. A student in the front row is unlikely to play on their phone right in front of the professor. Students in the front tend to interact with the professor more, participate in class discussions more often, and feel more motivated to study the materials outside of class. This all ends up with the result of a better grade.
Talk to your Professor
People choose to teach because they genuinely enjoy helping students learn. Get to know your teachers, go to their office hours and ask for help or talk about the subject matter. Raise your hand in class and ask questions. Showing the teacher that you really like their class and you are really interested in the material will go a long way toward your teacher really wanting you to succeed in their class.
Use Time Management Techniques
Find a calendar system that works for you and use it daily. Many students find that using their iPhone’s calendar app is convenient and effective as their phone is always nearby. Some students like to use a large wall calendar that they can write their exams dates on and project due dates because it is a strong visual for them. Input all important dates as soon as you know them. And remember, a calendar system only works if you check it daily!
An excellent time management technique is prioritizing tasks. One method is to start with the easiest tasks to get them out of the way, and then focus on your more challenging assignments. Or, if that sounds too stressful, start with the most challenging task first and leave the easier ones for last as a reward-like way to end on a high note.
It is important to be realistic with your time. Make sure you have sufficient down time to prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed. It’s a good idea to take frequent study breaks and go for a walk to get fresh air.
Another good strategy is to create a to-do list on Sunday evenings that you can refer to every morning and at the end of each school day. On Friday afternoons, review your calendar and give yourself credit for all that you accomplished. You deserve to treat yourself well.
Connect With The Other Students In Your Classes
Take advantage of any opportunity to interact with your classmates. Take a risk and
reach out to a classmate who seems friendly and ask if they would like to review the material or study together for the test. Research shows that students who feel they are a part of a learning community tend to perform better than those who feel isolated and on their own.
Ask for Help
It is perfectly fine to ask for assistance. No one expects students to have all of the answers. Schools want their students to succeed and that is why there are so many places on campus to go for support. You can go to your school’s Office of Disabilities to request accommodations, work with a tutor in the study center, or schedule sessions with a Life Skills Coach to learn skills including time management, executive functioning, and how to lower your stress and anxiety. Remember, it takes strength to ask for help.
On behalf of all of us at Advance LA, we wish you a happy and productive fall semester!
Jeri Rochman, JD, MS
Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services?