How to be a confident student: a guide to owning college life

Confidence and effective learning go hand in hand. So what can you do to feel more confident at college?

Clock 2 min read Calendar Published: 8 Jun 2023
Author Alice Wilson
How to be a confident student: a guide to owning college life

We all want to be a little more confident. Whilst some aspects of confidence do grow slowly with the passage of time, there are some proven techniques that you can use to enhance your self-esteem and welcome the many benefits that this can bring. 

This matters because confidence is especially valuable for students. Data from the National Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success shows that students who reported higher confidence levels were more likely to engage in enriching educational activities and achieve higher academic performance. 

So, we are here to help. This step-by-step guide will give you the tools and techniques to boost your self-assurance and excel at college.

Step 1: Set Realistic Goals

Start by setting achievable, measurable goals (we love a SMART target). Be it a GPA target, leadership role, or a skill you want to learn, goals give you a direction and purpose. What’s more, studies have shown that goal-setting can significantly improve your confidence levels. 

The key is to make them very small and easy to achieve - break a larger goal like being elected class president down into the smallest constituent parts that you can. 

The more clearly defined and easy to action those steps are, the more likely you are to succeed. 

This will reinforce a positive feedback loop; you’ll feel great that you are taking action on your own behalf and working towards a long term aim, tracking your progress will boost your confidence. Onwards and upwards!

Step 2: Embrace Failure

This is easier said than done, but so worth it. Mistakes are part of the learning process. As well as fearing them, you can tell yourself, over and over, that they are opportunities to grow. Studies show that students who see failure as a growth tool report higher confidence levels, resilience, and working memory. It takes practice, but so does learning to read and write, and you have done a fantastic job at that. 

Remember, Bill Gates, the tech visionary behind Microsoft, witnessed his first company crumble into a complete disaster. Thomas Edison faced 10,000 unsuccessful attempts before perfecting the light bulb. Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, was turned away by a staggering 36 publishers

Keep pushing forward, and collect tries like trophies. 

Step 3: Celebrate Your Successes

This is a much easier step than number two! Take time to acknowledge your achievements, however small. Positive reinforcement feels great and can do wonders for your self-confidence. You could keep a note of your little wins in a notebook or notes app. I like to keep an email folder of all the nice things people have said about me or essays that I got a great grade on. Maybe a bit embarrassing, but it never fails to put a smile on my face - it’s too easy to gloss over or downplay our successes and it does us no favours.

You work hard, you deserve a well done. 

Step 4: Embrace Personalized Learning

Let's be real, trying to learn from lectures can sometimes feel like climbing a mountain. But a little assistance can totally transform that experience.

Personalized learning and support are key game-changers in making this transformation happen. Imagine having a mentor who knows exactly what you need to succeed, or a virtual study group that works according to your schedule. These tailored experiences empower you to not only perform better academically but also boost your confidence. 

Is there a trusted professor you can approach to ask for help or feedback? Can your college’s administrator or pastoral support suggest any online study groups?

Now, imagine if you could capture, organize, and understand lecture information more effectively, streamlining the whole study experience. That's where Glean comes in. Our unique learning platform takes personalized support to a whole new level. We’ve designed it specifically for students like you, providing tools and resources to make learning a more engaging and rewarding journey.

The philosophy of Glean is simple – fostering confident, independent learners. It's no wonder that 90% of Glean users tell us it's helped them improve their grades.

If you're keen to transform your learning experience, we would love to invite you to try Glean for free

We're rooting for you!

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