5 Tips for Academic Success When Living in a Dorm

  • House rules
  • Headphones
  • Alternative spaces
  • Calendar keeping
  • Message boards

First-time college students (and their parents) may worry about staying productive while they live in the dorms. This fear is understandable. It’s the first time that many college students have freedom. They sometimes tend to go overboard social activities. However, dorm life doesn’t have to be the death to a student’s grade point average if that student has a productivity plan in place. Below are some ideas to help students stay productive in their school work and in their home lives.

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1. House Rules

For most students, living in a dorm is very different from living in their family’s homes. The rules they lived by growing up may differ greatly from the rules that their roommates grew up with. This can lead to conflict. One way to get a handle on this before it gets out of control is to set up some house rules for the dorm, according to Brainscape.

Each person living in the dorm should take part in making the rules. This gives each person a say, and it eliminates the guesswork for chores, like cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming the floor. Having house rules also cuts down on the time students may spend negotiating tasks. Once the rules are in place, things should proceed more automatically. This allows everyone to plan their lives and be more productive.

2. Headphones

While the house rules may establish some quiet time, it’s not completely realistic to assume that dorm living will always be quiet. After all, most people have neighbors who make noise in the hallways or upstairs. That’s where tools like a set of noise-canceling headphones come in. If a student needs to study and dorm conditions aren’t ideal for this, a pair of noise-canceling headphones can make doing homework possible even if it’s noisy outside.

3. Alternative Spaces

This tip relates to the one above and takes it a step further. When life in the dorm is hectic, it’s wise to have a list of alternative quiet places to go. Many students go to the library. Others use the study lounge in their building. (Some dormitories have them. Some do not.) Still, other students like to go to an out-of-the-way coffee shop to study. Having a list like this allows a student to remain on task with school even if conditions in their dorm room are far from ideal.

4. Calendar Keeping

Once a person becomes a college student, life gets busier. It’s tempting to think that it’s possible to remember every due date for every paper or every start time for work. This isn’t realistic. College life adds too many variables to the mix. According to LifeHacker, an external calendar keeps better track of most students’ obligations than the calendar most students believe they have in their brains.

5. Message Boards

There’s one thing most college roommates can count on: They probably won’t be home at the same time. That’s why having a message board or some other means of communication is critical. Communication tools allow people to leave messages and reminders for one another. Aside from keeping the relationships between dormmates intact, good communication ensures that nothing gets forgotten, like rides to work.

Final Thoughts

Living in a dorm is a bit like working in an office full of open cubicles. There’s always something going on that’s likely to cause noise and disruptions. While some of this is necessary and even unavoidable, these external disruptions can wreak havoc on a student’s schoolwork. That’s why it’s best for students to come up with a productivity plan. Such a plan gives them the reinforcement they need to stay on task, even if life gets crazy.