5 Tools For College Success

college prep and organization tips, #collegeadvice, tools for success in college, resources for college

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This post is sponsored by Course Hero. All thoughts, opinions, and experiences are my own.

Beforeee we jump into today's post,

make sure you stay tuned to the end for a GIVEAWAY!!

While I may have struggled in my 9-5 life, I did not struggle in college. Even though I was going through a ton of personal stuff, I felt like I had the school thing on lock. Mostly – there was that one class ?. I digress… For some reason, when I entered the workforce, I felt like I needed to be perfect. You see, a big reason why I succeed in college was due to the fact that I knew when I needed extra help, and had no fear about getting it. I sought help from outside resources like Course Hero.

Course Hero is an online learning platform connecting a community of over 20 million students and educators to find and share knowledge and study resources from anywhere at any time, ultimately resulting in a deeper understanding and a heck of a lot less stress! Honestly, I wish I had Course Hero in college, it basically encompasses all the resources I was constantly outsourcing (you know the ones you need in order to succeed)!

5 Tools For College Success:

Course Reviews:

Back in the day, I used to scour course review sites before signing up for my classes. What was this professor like? What could I expect from this course? College is all about finding balance. You don't want to take all of your hardest classes with the most difficult teachers in the same semester! There are tons of resources out there for course advice, including Course Hero's section of peer reviewed feedback on the courses and professors at your school. Trust me, put in the time before signing up for classes so you don't spend your entire fall semester crying into your pillow and locked away in the library. School and your entire adult life are about balance.

Flash Cards

I'm old school when it comes to studying, I like good ol' fashion flash cards! But I also have the absolute worst handwriting. I'm a lefty – so those dang magic markers would always end up all over the side of my hand. I used to create a Microsoft document where I could scroll and hide the answer as a makeshift flash card… not the best solution. Which is why I'm obsessing over the super cute digital flash cards. You can create your own or access other community members who have shared there.

While browsing what I thought was super smart, is that someone's flashcards were an applied example of the definition! Not just the definition-word. Y'all… applied definitions is where it's at!  I remember my first ever bad grade was in a Biology class back in high school. Up to that point, I was accustomed to studying the definitions in the back of the book – but had little idea how to apply the definition to a real life example… that was a learning experience! Again, you have the option of creating your own personalized flashcards or accessing crowd sourced versions on Course Hero! Just double check the crowd sourced versions for accuracy!

Literary Study Guides

I'm not proud of this confession I am about to make, and honestly it hurt me big time in the long run (just see all the grammar and spelling mistakes on the blog ?), but I really struggled to get into required reading in school. I would do it and it would just go in one and ear out the other and eventually I just gave up. So literary study guides were my lifeline. Again, I don’t recommend ever doing that which is why I love how Course Hero setup up their literary guide section to complement the required reading. If you're a visual learner you'll love how the infographics and diagrams bring the book to life. And if you're all about cut and dry text as a refresher, they have that too.


When you need help, you need help people! And there's no shame in that. Sometimes you just can't find the right study group. Get out of your own way and hire a tutor. Obviously tutors aren't free like some of the other tools I'm talking about, but I think it's a worthwhile investment when you need help, especially if it's a required course. That's one of my biggest regrets in college – you see I started as a business major but could not grasp microeconomics for the life of me. Instead of getting a tutor for the required course, I found myself switching majors. Let me tell you, hindsight is 20/20 and I really could've used that business degree!

If you sign up for one of the “premier plans” every dollar you pay actually gets put into tutor credits. So for example, you want access to all their goodies for a year, an annual membership works out to less than $10/month and you get $120 in tutor credits. The tutors are online 24/7 and you can chat with them right there if you're stuck on a homework question. You can also earn tutor credits by uploading your own course notes and documents to the site for other users to check out.


LBH, you're probably broke AF right now. Scholarships also saved me in college. And yes, I consider them a tool for success. Instead of worrying about money or having to spread myself even thinner with a job during the semesters, I avoid time stress and alleviate financial stress with scholarships. In fact, I had enough left over to even cover my first year of grad school! Course Hero has a section where you can apply for scholarships and trust me on this: you want to apply for scholarships. That's FREE money people! Who doesn't want that?

What else would you add to the list?


Founded 10 years ago by a Cornell student, Course Hero leverages the power of community to help make sure you succeed in college. I've partnered with them to give one winner an awesome “Brain Booster” Care Package!

The winner will receive:

  • Book pillow: In one study, young adults who napped for 90 minutes showed significant improvements in memory. But other research suggests even naps that last a few minutes can increase alertness. Sleep provides a time when the brain’s synapses — the connections among neurons — shrink back by nearly 20 percent. During this time, the synapses rest and prepare for the next day, when they will grow stronger while receiving new input — that is, learning new things.
  • Sunglasses: Low vitamin D levels are associated with poorer brain function.
  • Board game: Challenging your brain with mind-training exercises can keep your brain fit. This can be something as simple as doing crossword puzzles or playing board games that get you thinking.
  • Hulu gift card to watch funny movies: A hearty laugh may be the key to solving a tough problem, since research suggests laughing encourages people to think more creatively.
  • Trail mix: Nuts and seeds pack nutrients that seriously boost cognitive performance; the flavonols in dark chocolate offer a short-term boost in cognitive skills
  • Water Bottle: Research shows that when we’re thirsty, we have more difficulty keeping our attention focused. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. The ability to perform mental arithmetic, like calculating whether or not you'll be late for class if you hit snooze for another 15 minutes, is compromised when your fluids are low.
  • Course Hero subscription for one year: The winner will need to create the account themselves, agree to the normal terms of service and let us know their email to grant the access. We must make sure this information is clarified.

>>> Enter the Giveaway <<<

(closes 09/08/17) only U.S. entrants:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

43 thoughts on “5 Tools For College Success”

  1. Flashcards are the only way I could properly study for an exam with a lot of info in college! Such a life saver

  2. I loved flashcards when I was in school! I had a few digital ones, but mostly would make my own on paper – time consuming but totally worth being able to review on the bus/on break!

  3. Great tips! I’m back in school right now, in my third year of my degree program, and I’m already nervous for how crazy school is about to get! I really struggle with making time to do the required reading, and I’m terrible at studying. I think having applied definitions is a really great idea! Also, super bummed I can’t enter the giveaway (Canadian 😉 ) but good luck to those who do!

  4. I totally recommend these!! especially the part about tutoring… college is about learning, no one will judge you for tutoring!! we all need a boost sometimes <3

  5. I was a flash card fiend! I still use index cards today to keep tasks in order and it always takes me back to school 🙂

  6. Miranda Chance Nash

    This is the perfect list! Tutoring is a must at times and there’s no shame in that. Flash cards LITERALLY saved my life in college! Love it.

  7. I wish I had something like this when I was in college! That would have helped with some of my classes. (I’m lookin’ at you Statistics & French!) For French I ended up getting a tutor. I had a terrible teacher one semester: half of the class dropped out and under half of those of us who left passed. (I barely passed that semester.) When I saw she was the teacher for the only class that would fit into my schedule I decided to take a semester off, so I went to the French Alliance in Minneapolis and got tutoring throughout that semester to keep up with it. My tutor was so helpful that I continued tutoring during my last semester of French. It was the best decision I could have made for that class! (I was required to take two years of a language to get my degree.)

    I’m all about flash cards when studying! It’s the best way for me to prepare for tests. 🙂

  8. All of these are a must to succeed in college (at least they were for me). Hey tutoring so helped me when it came to certain courses. Flash cards were my saving grace!

  9. I went to a very small, private college and scholarships were a huge reason I was able to go! I am so thankful for the ones I won while in high school and the one’s I received from my Alma Mater!

  10. Robin @ And Then We Tried

    All good resources! It is so important to reach out and find help when you need it!

  11. I went to a very small, private, Franciscan university and scholarships were essential! I also like that you talk about flash cards because even though they are a little old school in practice, they are definitely a good way to study no matter where you are or how much time you have! Reading this made me a little nostalgic, haha!

  12. What a brilliant tips! I’m really glad that I always had my Flashcards! These are really important to survive to college.

  13. I think a huge thing for me was flexibility and understanding – especially since I did my schooling online. Having a supportive family made it MUCH easier for me to juggle things. I already had step-kids and a volunteer job and all the responsibilities of adulthood when I went through for my bachelor’s degree, so I know the importance of that type of support.

    I wonder, if you struggle a little more now than you did then to find your balance, how can you use the skills you used in college today?

  14. Kyla Matton Osborne

    I have a daughter who – yesterday! – just started business school. So this post was really interesting because I want to do everything I can to help her succeed. I also started out in a business program and switched and, like you, I sometimes wish I hadn’t! I’ve told my daughter about Course Hero and sent her a link to your post so she can add it to her resources for school success. Thanks so much!

  15. Stephanie Parrell

    Great tips here. I found flash cards very helpful to me while learning something new. Great contest also 🙂

  16. My daughters Ashley (engineering) and Brooke (PR/marketing) are in their early 20s and have graduated from college, but Ashley is now attending law school. Some of the most important tools they used for college success was: time management, using a planner, being very selective of who they chose to study with (some students can easily turn a study session into a time suck where you end up spending all your time tutoring them!), get to know your professors one-on-one by visiting them during office hours, make sure part-time employment doesn’t undermine your college goals. Course Hero sounds like an excellent college resource!

  17. This is going to sound crazy but I just started using flash cards now that I’m in grad school. They’re so helpful! Since I write them down I tend to retain the info a lot more and actually learn the concept instead of memorizing a definition.

  18. PTL for scholarships and flash cards. Those two things literally are the only reason I made it through school haha!

  19. I had a really tough gen ed class in logic and philosophy my sophomore year and I remember going to tutoring 2-3x a week!! The great thing about college is help is often accessible!! If only the adult world was like that too haha 🙂

  20. Flash cards were 100% my jam back in high school and college!! I’ve always been a fan of their small size. Since transitioning to the work world, I now use sticky notes on the reg!!

  21. Flash cards are pretty great, they were a life saver for my spanish classes! Love your giveaway!

  22. I wish I would’ve had applied definition flash cards when I was in college! I used to use Quizlet, which was a site for digital flash cards also. These are great tools!

  23. I never was much of a flash card person or a study-er haha! My husband used flash cards when he was studying a foreign language back when he was in college!

  24. I relied HEAVILY on course and professor reviews when scheduling my courses in college! I learned early on to use those reviews to decide which courses to take. I was also a huge fan of flash cards too! I was getting a minor in Spanish, so flash cards were hands down the best way for me to study for those classes 🙂

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