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  • Help your child succeed academically by suggesting study habits such as taking breaks to remain focused and avoid burnout.
  • Finding a study environment with limited distractions and organizing class notes can help your college student be more productive.
  • Encourage your child to reach out to their professors, hire a tutor, or find a study group.

If you're the parent of a college student, it can be heart-wrenching to watch them struggle from afar. While it's easy to send your child a care package when they're feeling homesick, if you've ever gotten an agitated phone call because they got a D on their first mid-term, you know that helping academically can be more complicated. This list can help provide tips on how to hone in on good study skills.


Develop Study Skills in College

1. Suggest a time management system

Ever checked in on your child when they were supposed to be studying only to find them watching animal videos on YouTube? Time management is the key to help your child study smarter.

One study method your child can use is the Pomodoro Technique, where after 25 minutes of uninterrupted work they can reward themselves with a 5 minute break. Each set is 1 Pomodoro, and 4 equals a longer break (this can last 30 minutes to 1 hour).

Another tip is to set a study goal for each of the sessions. This will not only help your child focus their time but also feel accomplished when they complete their goals.

2. Emphasize finding a productive study environment

Remember when your child was a toddler and every time you tried to read something, they would start banging on their toys and make you reread the same sentence five times? Campus life—especially college dorms—can be distracting, which could compromise your child's ability to study.

Talk to your college student about distraction and how to find an environment where they can be the most productive. Remind your student to also switch up the study environment because a new setting could help maintain better focus.

3. Encourage organizing class notes

If your student types or writes down everything that leaves the professor's lips, they're going to have a hard time studying come exam time. Encourage your child to go through their notes after class and highlight the most salient points so that they know what to focus on as test day approaches. Additionally, revisiting the information after class will help your student organize and review the material while it is fresh.

4. Encourage them to reach out for help

College professors might seem intimidating, but they're there to help. If your child gets a bad grade, or is confused by something in class, one of the best study tips for college students is to reach out and attend office hours. Encourage your child to not be intimidated by the professor and look to them as an expert and resource.

Additionally, your child’s school could have many other campus learning resources. Recommend to your child to check their specific school or the campus library for additional study groups or learning resources. Many of these resources can help them with study tips or other kinds of help if their grades are slipping.

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