How to Become a Confident Student

confident student
a confident student doing her homework

Benefits of Being a Confident Student

Having confidence in yourself in college can benefit you in a variety of ways. For one, it can help you find the motivation to complete your assignments and study in a timely fashion, as you’re not entirely dreading the work ahead of you. You may not especially enjoy writing essays, but when you feel confident in what you have to say, you’ll feel less need to put it off. Next, as a confident student, you’ll feel more comfortable taking risks. Students who take risks are more likely to dig deeper, create unique content, and discover more about their interests and selves.

In cases where taking risks does go wrong, confidence can help students deal with bad grades. Indeed, students who lack confidence are more likely to take failure personally or as a sign they were right not to believe in themselves. They’re also less likely to ask questions or start discussions with instructors because they fear looking dumb or silly.

Overall, a confident student believes in themselves and their work, has a positive attitude, is motivated to succeed, and exhibits resilience in the face of obstacles. They’re more likely to self-advocate and succeed in their studies. As a result of their confidence, these students tend to be more active in discussions and practice active learning.

However, building confidence isn’t always easy nor does it come naturally to everyone. Keep reading to learn how to become more confident in your academic studies.

overwhelmed student behind a pile of books

Becoming a Confident Student

Confidence allows students to be more actively involved in their learning as they feel more comfortable with new concepts, a new environment, communicating with others, and accepting failure. You don’t need to know everything to be a confident student, but you need to know yourself – your strengths and weaknesses – and your academic goals.

Truly, if you don’t set any goals for yourself, you’re going to have a hard time in college. After all, goals are vital for motivation.

Thus, part of becoming a confident student revolves around setting goals that are realistic, challenging, and engaging. But there’s a lot more to the process than that. Keep reading to learn how you can build confidence.

Building a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is a belief system that skills, intelligence, and comprehension can be developed and improved through effort and dedication to learning and improving. Ultimately, a strong growth mindset helps individuals expect, accept, and overcome the obstacles they’ll run into on their journey.

Every student is on their own learning curve. Something easy for one person will be a struggle for another. Truly, a lot can impact how quickly an individual will pick up specific skills, from personal background to strengths and weaknesses to general interests. One student will excel when it comes to essay writing and quickly embrace the rules, quirks, and requirements of academic writing. But that same student may struggle to achieve even a passing grade when it comes to classes that require memorizing dozens of terms.

A growth mindset can help students when it comes to those difficult courses, as they know that as long as they keep persevering, seeking help, and trying new methods, they will make progress and improve. Thus, they will be able to become a more confident student thanks to the knowledge and belief that they can do the work.

How Do You Build a Growth Mindset?

Of course, it’s not as easy as waking up one morning and deciding you want a growth mindset. Like anything, it takes effort to undo years of negative self-talk, or the thoughts that you simply cannot do something, aren’t smart enough to figure it out, or that it’s just “not for you” to understand.

In addition, building a growth mindset will look different for one person versus another. Consider how things like daily affirmations, self-help books, and motivational speakers are some people’s go-to for motivation and personal growth, while others get absolutely nothing from these resources. In other words, we all process the world uniquely. However, there are steps that you can try to build your growth mindset and become a confident student.

Putting it Into Practice

First, you should make an active effort to reverse negative self-talk and alter your vocabulary. When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts like “I can’t do this,” flip the narrative. Replace that thought with “I can’t do this yet.” It may seem silly, but just as forcing yourself to smile can improve your mood, replacing negative self-talk can help lessen or eliminate the negativity. Your journey to becoming a confident student starts with dismantling your old mindset.

Next, push through and outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes, we stop trying because we don’t want to deal with stress or negative emotions. But stopping in the middle of something causes two issues: first, you never get to reap the reward of your efforts thus far and, second, you get it in your head that quitting is an option whenever things get tough. You should absolutely learn and respect your physical and mental boundaries and take breaks as needed. But don’t give up on your dreams if you’re struggling to improve your essay-writing skills.

You’ll also want to build a support system, which may be your family, a friend, a professor, or even a supportive boss or coworker who can talk you through problems. Talk to people who will give you real, constructive feedback, and be honest.

Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself for your hard work, no matter how “small” you perceive the progress to be. Indeed, an ‘A’ is always the ideal grade, but a ‘C’ average in place of a ‘D’ is progress worth celebrating. Don’t forget to fairly and honestly evaluate your successes and treat yourself for your hard work.

a confident student with good study skills

Developing Effective Study Skills

Having effective and structured study habits will help you become a more confident student. When you’re a busy student with an active social life, a full schedule, a family, and/or a full-time job, it’s easy to fall into the bad habit of doing everything at the last second. Notably, up to 50% of students state that they procrastinate “consistently and problematically.” In other words, their grades and/or their mental well-being are being negatively impacted due to their study habits.

You’re not going to build confidence in your schoolwork if everything is thrown together at the last second and you’re unprepared for every test. Indeed, your grades will likely begin to fall as you burn yourself out with this method.

To create effective study habits, make you set aside enough time every week to do your schoolwork. Preferably, create space in your schedule for study time every day, even if you only have ten minutes on certain days. Those ten minutes can be used memorizing vital terms for an exam, creating an outline for an essay, or knocking out some assigned reading.

Next, set goals and break them down into manageable tasks that will fit into those blocks of study time. So, if you want to finish 200 pages of reading in one week, consider breaking it up into sets of 10 to 25 pages at a time.

If you’re struggling, you should also plan to find and utilize resources, such as the writing center, a tutor, or more in-depth self-study.

a study group

Finding Support

Truly, one of the biggest issues students run into at college is that they don’t know how to get help. Most freshmen are used to socializing with the same small group of friends from high school that they’ve often known their entire lives. Similarly, older adults may experience culture shock as they enter higher education as part of the minority population. They don’t know how to speak to their younger peers and may even see college resources as being “for the young people.” And students of all age groups might simply not know about the resources available to them.

Overall, it’s important to remember that regardless of how old your peers are or how different their interests may be, you’re all in this together and you can offer each other support. Whether you’re attending an online or traditional college, you can provide each other with resources, form study groups, and bounce ideas off of each other.

You should also always try reaching out to your teachers, advisors, and success coaches for help. These individuals are there to help and are happy to do so. And when they’re not able to help you, they can likely point you in the direction of a tutor or writing center, as many campuses offer these as part of your tuition.

At the end of the day, a support system can turn a struggling student into a confident student as they know they’re not alone, they have people to turn to, and there are resources available to help them out.

Lakewood University

Lakewood University is an accredited online school that offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. We have rolling enrollments and asynchronous courses. In other words, you don’t have to worry about missing a lecture or running late to class. If you plan on enrolling in college while working, Lakewood University offers the flexibility you need to earn your degree.

Don’t hesitate – reach out to our admissions department today to learn more!