Admissions Blog: Smart study habits for college

Library studyOne key to success in college is developing study habits that will make you successful — without making you a workaholic. In other words, you’ll have to figure out how to study most effectively. To help you get started, here are my personal study habit dos and don’ts — or what I like to call the “roses and briars” of studying!

  1. Rose: Finding somewhere comfortable to study

Find somewhere you could sit for a long period of time if necessary without getting unreasonably uncomfortable. It’s important to be able to focus when you are studying, and you won’t be able to do that if you are having to readjust every few minutes.

  1. Briar: Studying somewhere that is too comfortable

Being comfortable is important, but being too comfortable can be dangerous. Try to avoid studying somewhere you could easily fall asleep — like in your bed or laid out on a couch. Most dorm rooms have a desk, so that is always a good option if you want to be close to your bed. If you are going to be up late and don’t want to disturb your roommate, Sweet Briar also has common rooms in every dormitory — or you can go to the library!

  1. Rose: Including friends in your study session

Friends who are willing to study with you can be a great asset. Even if you are not studying for the same class, you can hold each other accountable and try to make sure there is more studying going on than texting. That being said, having friends to study with can also be a distraction, so you have to be careful about making sure that studying is the top priority for both of you.

  1. Briar: Waiting to study until the last moment

If you know you have a test coming up, start studying a few days in advance so you have time to ask questions in class about things of which you are unsure. This will also leave you time to attend your professor’s office hours if you need a larger concept explained. This is especially true if you are taking a class that involves a lot of memorization. Being able to go over the information over a few days instead of cramming the night before will allow for you to actually learn the material instead of knowing it for a few hours and then forgetting it after the test.

  1. Rose: Knowing what works for you

I have shared some of the things that have helped me over the last few years, but the most important thing to take away from this is that different people study differently. I really like using flashcards and reading articles about the concepts I need to learn, but other people might need to rewrite their notes or draw out cell structures on the whiteboard. Find what works for you and fine-tune it during your time in college. Having a learning process that is quick and efficient is a skill you can continue to use well after you cross the stage at graduation.


McKenna SnyderMcKenna Snyder ’20 is a double major in philosophy and government with a minor in religion. She is from “the greatest city on Earth” — Knoxville, Tenn. — and the only problem she has with Sweet Briar is that it’s a Pepsi campus.

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