Meeting academic goals takes motivation and determination, and the support of friends and family can be an invaluable asset to student success. Whether it’s parents, a mentor, or classmates, it’s important for students to build their support system throughout their academic career, so they have sufficient support when they need it most.

Read on for some helpful hints to share with your students for building a support system in college.

Benefits of a support system

Students, if you haven’t set up your support system just yet, it looks like your friends and family are standing by to help! We recently polled over 3,000 college students to learn that 90% of students either agree or strongly agree that their friends support their goals to succeed in college. And 95% of students either agree or strongly agree that their family support their goals to succeed in college.

Often times, we are motivated by our relationships or by social influences. For example, many of us find it much easier to make it to the gym when we have a friend to hold us accountable. Otherwise, you may find yourself canceling or making excuses.

Very similarly, an effective college mentor will hold you accountable for your academic success, offering guidance and support when you need it most.

Building your team

Friends and family are great options that may come to mind first; however, there are a number of additional options. You can also learn a lot from other students, even if you’re not the best of friends. Talk to other students who have taken your classes or older students in your program. While your learning style preferences and work ethic may be different from these students’, they are likely to have good suggestions and insight.

According to author Christine Harrington in her book, Student Success in College: Doing What Works!, 2nd Edition:

Making connections with faculty members or other professional staff such as chairpersons, psychologists, or advisers can also motivate you to achieve high goals. Look for a mentor, someone who has expertise in your field of interest and is willing to guide and assist you. Mentors who believe in you and make suggestions to help you achieve your goals are incredibly important and keep you motivated, especially if you become frustrated or overwhelmed. (168)

Mentors can provide academic guidance as well as insight on personal or professional matters. A mentor can also write letters of recommendation and help you make professional connections. If you haven’t found your perfect support system, start thinking about who you want on your side. You may just find that the support of this person or group is just what you need to achieve or even exceed your goals.

What suggestions do you have for students looking to build a support system for academic success? Share your ideas below.

Reference: Harrington, Christine. 2016. Student Success in College: Doing What Works!, 2nd EditionBoston: Cengage Learning.