In order for students to succeed in college, it’s essential that they adopt study skills and learning strategies that will enable them to master the material they’re covering in your courses. But in order to adopt them, they first must learn them.

So, how do students learn study skills for college success? According to our recent Student Engagement Survey, most students pick them up in a variety of ways. Here’s how they responded:


Almost three-quarters (72%) of the students said that they had taught themselves study skills. However, educators have also played an important role, as 48% said that they learned study skills from their instructors.

Others, of course, help them along the way, toobb. Many engage in peer-to-peer learning—35% say that their classmates have shared effective study tips with them. To a lesser degree, students state that advisors (19%) and tutors (15%) and helped them .

As we reviewed students’ responses, we noticed one critical piece of data: 21% of students said that they still need to learn study skills that will help them succeed in college. This means that potentially one out of every five students in your classes feels less-than-confident about their study skills. What might you do in order to help these (in fact, all) of your students to develop the study skills that will support their success in your course and beyond?


Tips for incorporating study skills for college success into your course

If you’re like most instructors, you already teach study skills in your college courses, to one degree or another. In our recent survey of instructors, nearly half (46%) responded that they cover study skills in class. Some stated that they cover study skills in certain situations: 30% do so in introductory or lower-division courses, and 10% address them before exams.  Only 14% said that they do not cover study skills at all. If you’re among the majority, keep doing what you’re doing… your students undoubtedly appreciate it!

Do instructors cover study skills in college courses?

Even if you’re among the 86% who do cover study skills in class, you may be on the lookout for additional resources that can help your students refine their strategies and thus improve their academic performance. If that’s the case, here are some ideas:

Share some quick tips. Students may just need a few pointers that can help them get on the right track. You might recommend an effective study skills book… or, direct your students to online resources that discuss effective study strategies. Here on the Engaging Minds blog, we’ve covered a number of topics related to study skills, including note-takingtime management, reading strategies, test-taking strategies, and more.

Encourage “study buddies.” Extol the benefits of forming study groups. Students will learn from one another and build on one another’s strengths. They may even make some new friends along the way!

Recommend that students seek the help of the advisors and tutors available through your school. As noted above, fewer than 20% of students learned study skills from either of these resources. You might “promote” these services to the whole class via your syllabus or course website. Or, if you’re having a one-on-one conversation with a student who’s seeking help, you could mention your school’s services at an appropriate time during your discussion.


These are just a few ideas. Perhaps you have some strategies of your own! If you cover study skills for college success in your course, share your teaching tips and insights in the comments.