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Home » Student Services » Departments » ARC - Home » Success Strategies

Success Strategies

Successful students succeed by setting goals and working to achieve them. In other words, successful students plan to succeed. You, too, can plan to succeed. Don’t procrastinate. Start planning for success today!


Getting organized is the first step to success.

  • Remember that you are responsible for knowing about and completing your assignments and special projects.

  • Use your day planner to write down your homework, study time, extracurricular activities, work hours, community activities, and personal responsibilities.

  • Make sure you have all the materials you need when you go to class and when you do your homework.


Manage Time

Managing time wisely helps ensure that you have the opportunity to do things you both need and want to do.

  • Create a schedule and use a planner to manage your time.

  • Plan a definite time to do your homework.

  • Plan time for extracurricular and social activities as well as personal responsibilities.

  • Schedule courses throughout the week so that there are natural pockets of study times between classes.

  • Study two hours for each one hour of lecture. This will help you remember the material.

  • Commit yourself to your time plan, but be flexible. For example, if something interferes with your regularly scheduled homework time, plan an alternate time for homework.

  • Schedule time for self-care. Engage in enjoyable activities (however brief) to refresh and give yourself a much deserved break from your academic, work, and personal responsibilities.

Set Priorities

If you have a lot to do, it is important to set priorities.

  • Rank each task in 1, 2, 3 order. Start with No. 1 – the most important task – and continue down the list.

  • Start with the subject where you need the most improvement when doing homework.

  • Check off finished tasks.

  • Prioritize your optional activities. If you frequently find yourself unable to finish all the tasks on your list, you may need to eliminate low-priority activities.

Make SMART Goals

Wishing to get better grades or to excel in something accomplishes nothing. You need a plan of action to achieve your objectives. Setting SMART goals results in better grades and higher self-esteem. Additionally, it gives you more control of your life.

  • S – Specific. List specific goals for each academic subject. Also list specific goals for other school and home activities. Write down your goals in places you will see them throughout the day. Share your goals with others (e.g. parents, teachers, good friends), so they can encourage you!

  • M – Measurable. Draw up a step-by-step plan of action for reaching each goal so that you can measure progress. Then go for it!

  • A – Attainable. Make sure that your goals are practical and possible to reach. Be persistent and keep a positive attitude! Visualize yourself achieving your objectives.

  • R – Realistic. Make sure that your goals are possible for YOU to reach. For example, if math has always been difficult for you, avoid immediately aiming for an “A” in your math class. If you usually get a “C-” in math, you may want to set a short-term ambition of “C+” or “B-”. Reaching your first short-term objectives gives you confidence to raise your goal for the next test or grading period.

  • T – Time-bound. Set a deadline. Your goals can be both short-term (within a month or on the next quiz or test) and long-term (within the semester or within the school year). Reward yourself when you reach a milestone!


More College Success Tips


  • Get to know your instructors and meet with them during their office hours. Communicating early and often with your instructors will enhance your support.

  • Use your authorized academic accommodations. Complete and submit a Request for Accommodation (pink) form every semester to access your accommodations.

  • Take notes and review them often. Use a digital recorder in the classroom if approved as an accommodation.

  • Sit near the front of the classroom to help eliminate distractions. Go to all classes, be on time, and participate.

  • Schedule and take your exams with the A.R.C. Testing Center [insert hyperlink here]. Remember, exams and quizzes must be scheduled with the A.R.C. Testing Center a minimum of ONE week in advance for regular tests/quizzes and starting ONE month in advance for finals.

  • Take a counseling class and/or meet with an A.R.C. counselor or specialist periodically to make sure you are on the right track.

  • Exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep. These actions help you manage stress, maintain focus, plan, organize, learn, study, and retain course materials.
Last Updated: 07/08/2020


Accessibility Resource Center
Phone: (619) 644-7112
Fax: (619) 644-7980

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  • Cuyamaca
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