5 Essential Principles to Achieve Academic Excellence

Excellence connotes the quality of being very good, exceptional and distinguished. It is usually evident in the quality of thoughts and results an individual achieves. For students, this is the Holy Grail. As contained in the California State University student brochure, academic excellence is the demonstrated ability to perform, achieve, and/ or excel in scholastic activities. It is usually identified with attaining high grades and superior performance.


But, academic excellence goes beyond just making good grades. It is the total sum development of your intellectual capacities and skills in service to humanity.


The question on the mind of most students is, how can I achieve academic excellence? Before answering this question, it is important to note that: there’s no fast rule to attaining academic excellence. However, there are timeless truths which when applied increases the odds of academic success.


Here are proven principles that will set you on a path of academic excellence:


Believe you are capable of achieving your academic goals


It was Henry Ford, the famous car manufacturer that said: “whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right”. Your mindset about your abilities is the number one critical factor in your quest for academic excellence. It will in no small extent affect your attitude to your studies – whether you should stick to your schedule or skip class; whether you should stay awake studying and preparing for tomorrow’s class. Your belief in your ability will drive your actions towards your goals.


Set SMART goals


Nothing is ever accomplished without setting goals – but in this case SMART goals. The concept of writing SMART goals is essential for accomplishing individual goals, which are discrete steps to achieving the desired outcome. Here are some questions to guide you set SMART goals:


  • Specific: the goal you want must be specific. Ask: What will the goal accomplish? How and why will it be achieved?
  • Measurable: You must be able to measure your outcome. Ask: How will you gauge whether or not the goal has been reached?
  • Achievable: Your goals must be something you can achieve. Ask: is it possible?
  • Result-Oriented: The goal must be focused on the outcome. Ask: What is the reason, purpose, or benefit of accomplishing the goal?
  • Time-bound: Your goals must be time bound. Set a time frame within which to achieve the goals. Ask: in what time can I get this accomplished?


Schedule classes around your habits


Most exceptional students understood how to maximize their strength, and they definitely leveraged it. Here’s what Ronen of, has this to say, while early classes may be right for some people, they’re certainly not right for everyone. He went on to say if you’re not a morning person, do not sign up for 8 A.M classes.


A common mistake is for students to schedule their classes when they’re least productive. If you’re aiming for academic excellence and your brain isn’t fully awake until afternoon, then make sure you’re not doing heavy mental work before then.


Rewrite your notes


You want as much information to stick to your brain as possible right? Then rewrite your notes. What you’re actually doing is employing more brain power to concentrate on the task at hand than when you just read your notes.


Engage in other extra-curricular activities


Attaining academic excellence is not just about the grades, get involved in other activities that expose your mind to additional stimulation. This takes your mind off your academic works for a moment, and when you do come back to them, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle them.




Hinton T. (2004, February 18). Four Essential Principles for Education Success. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from the Web


Ronen A. (2011, October 10). How to Achieve Academic Success in College. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from the Web


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