Hunter in front of Study Skills bulletin board

6 Tips to Succeed in College through Self-Discipline

A college student who is deafblind describes the importance of self-discipline in being successful in college.

“Discipline” is one word that can describe the journey of completing a college education.  Theodore Roosevelt, who was one of our greatest Presidents, remarked on the idea, saying “with self-discipline most anything is possible.” His statement suggests that great willpower can lead to great success.  A definition of discipline in regards to college is having self-motivation to finish a degree.  

At first glance college appears to be a frightening experience, but it is really not that way.  As long as you, the student, try to prepare for what you know about school and go in with a good attitude, your anxiety will be eased.  It is a good strategy to have a general plan that gives a sense of direction because college is a big investment.  An education is a huge venture and should not be taken lightly. The reason to discuss this matter is that college costs a significant amount of money and requires a substantial amount of your time as a student.  This is not to scare anyone away from college, but rather is meant to make you aware of the reality that awaits you there.  It is important to have motivation to do the work because it will show the professors that you want to do your best.  It is crucial to remember that all of this is learned through your experience as a college student.  


  1. Create an organizational system to manage time.  It may be a shock to discover that the amount of time in class tends to be easy.  It is the independent work expected that you will do outside of class that can at times be an overwhelming challenge.  The syllabus of any class is a good tool to design a flexible structure.  
  2. Take your time in college. Build your confidence and skills to create success.  I have learned that college is not a race to complete in a rush.  In my first semester of college I took two classes and then three classes.  I did it in this fashion to pace myself and to work toward my goal of becoming a full-time student, which is means taking four courses per semester.   
  3. Make connections to ensure your success.  One example is to disclose your disability and request reasonable accommodations to the assigned counselor of students with disability services of the college.  
  4. Form allies.  For example, find a professor that you respect and ask if they will  serve as a mentor that you can speak to on a regular basis.  This can create a positive outlet and support to discuss school-related or non-school-related things.  
  5. Ask QUESTIONS.  It demonstrates that you are engaged and want to understand the concepts.
  6. Do not skip class unless you have a legitimate reason.  In my opinion skipping class is an insulting gesture to the instructor of the course.  
  7. If you do not do well in a couple of classes, it is not the end of the world. If this happens, try to learn from your mistakes and do better next time.  

A college experience is a new transition to start fresh.  College life should be considered as an exciting atmosphere to expand to new heights.  However, the art of discipline and the tips are not learned in the first week of school.  It takes time to learn these skills to become successful.  The adjustments may take more time for some students than others to learn.  The development of a strong work ethic goes a long way not just in college, but also in future endeavors.

tips for college students collage

By Hunter McGowan