What Are Some of the Qualities That Make You an Effective College Student?

Effective college students are able to manage their academic and social responsibilities.
... Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Being an effective college student means that you have developed sufficient maturity to understand the importance of your education. But it also means knowing how to maintain a proper balance between your studies and your life outside of school. Some of the qualities that can make you an effective college student are innate, but some can be cultivated with a bit of patience and persistence. Many successful college students share similar traits.

1 Balanced

Balancing responsibilities is difficult for many college students. College is a stressful time for most young adults, yet it's critical to make time for all aspects of life, including academics, socialization, sleep and exercise. Being balanced helps prevent burnout, anxiety and stress. In fact, a study published in the Winter 2000 issue of the "American Journal of Health Studies" found that college students with effective time-management skills experienced less academic stress and anxiety than their counterparts. When the going gets tough and deadlines start to creep up on you, you need to be able to manage your time and tackle the most pressing responsibilities first.

2 Hardworking

Being a hard worker is a key quality of an effective college student. Without the motivation to succeed, there's nothing driving you to step up your game and perform to the best of your abilities. If you are a hard worker, you won't let anything stop you from achieving the best grades possible and squeezing the most out of your classes. Hardworking college students attend classes regularly, show up on time, listen closely to the information being presented, take notes and spend sufficient time on study, according to the Cuesta College Academic Support Center.

3 Engaged

Successful college students are engaged in the entire learning experience. They seek opportunities to enhance learning, such as taking advantage of extra-credit opportunities, completing optional assignments, forming study groups or talking to their instructors during their regular office hours. If they don't understand something, they try to get immediate clarification instead of ignoring the problem. They ask questions and speak up in class, even if they aren't entirely sure that they have the right answer. They aren't afraid to make mistakes, because they realize that making mistakes is a necessary part of the learning process.

4 Self-Aware

Effective college students need to be self-aware and able to recognize their strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness helps you develop new skills and allows you to build on your strengths. According to business professor Scott Williams of Wright State University, you can develop self-awareness by learning more about yourself in five main areas -- namely, your personality traits, personal values, habits, emotions and the psychological needs that affect your behavior. For example, if you have a good understanding of yourself and know what works for and against your personality type, you are less likely to feel stressed and anxious. You'll also be able to identify the areas where you need to improve and able to operate on a more autonomous level.

Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.