Tips for Academic Success in 2021


Posted January 4, 2021

Happy New Year! A new year is here, offering us limitless possibilities in terms of what we can accomplish in just 365 days. As classes start back up, we’re taking time this month to go over our best tips to help you plan for a successful semester.

Evaluate Your Workload

If you’re already fretting over your workload, even before the semester has begun, you may be pushing your capacity. Take this time to evaluate how much you’re taking on. It is possible that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, and some careful rearranging must be done before the semester starts. By the time classes start, it’s best to be organized and ready to take on the additional workload of a new set of classes and/or dissertation writing. Leading up to the start of classes, create a financial plan for budgeting and time management. A financial plan will help you access funds for outside dissertation consulting (if needed), books, or tuition. Aligning a schedule with your family can help you determine who will help with chores, kids, etc. once the semester begins.

Mind Your Mindset

Stressing over your workload, schedule, and finances can take a toll on mental health. Make a habit out of checking in with yourself in order to keep your mind from slipping into a negative loop of stress. If you do find yourself slipping into a negative mindset, try picking up positive habits to change your outlook. Practice writing daily gratitudes each morning, practice positive self-talk, surround yourself with positive people, identify your areas of negativity, and think about ways to overcome those challenges. Realize that you have the power to influence your every day because you have the power to fix your mindset.

Take time to evaluate your mindset regularly. Ask yourself: How are you feeling going into a new semester? Have you accomplished your academic goals from last semester? Are you ready to set new ones? What needs to be done to reach your goals?

Find a Mentor

It’s easier to learn a new city with a tour guide, it’s easier to learn how to swim from a coach, so why go through your entire post-graduate career without finding an expert mentor to guide you through the toughest parts? Doctoral and Ph.D. students have an assigned mentor and/or chair but when that does not cut it, find additional support that fits you. Reach out to a past professor, a professional involved in your field, or an expert writer or statistician to help you. This is an expense you might have already planned for when you evaluated your workload – if you’re stuck, hire resources!

We wish you a remarkably successful spring semester and 2021! If you’re working on your dissertation and are stuck or have questions, reach out. We’ve helped over 15,000 doctoral students with their dissertations and know we can help you too.


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