Top 13 New Year’s Resolutions for College Students

Browse our New Year's resolution list for 2022. Explore New Year's resolution ideas that can help improve your health, grades, and finances.
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Stefanie Grodman
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Former tutor Stefanie Grodman has a bachelor's degree in English from Muhlenberg College. She enjoys researching and writing about a variety of topics including education, sustainability, politics, and the arts....
Updated on December 15, 2022
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The start of a new year can be an ideal time to set self-improvement goals. According to one 2021 survey, half of participants who made New Year's resolutions aimed to improve their fitness, while 44% aimed to save money and 39% hoped to improve their diet.

Good New Year's resolutions offer realistic strategies to help people kickstart constructive habits. The following New Year's resolution ideas can help college students improve their health, mental wellness, and work-life-school balance. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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1. Participate More During Class

It can be tempting to succumb to the anonymity of online learning and large lecture courses. However, studies show that students who participate more in class perform better academically. Asking questions and contributing to discussions may help students feel engaged, retain information, and establish rapport with professors and classmates.

2. Get More Involved on Campus

Organizations like sports teams, community service groups, and cultural clubs can provide students with diverse, enriching opportunities. This may be especially important for commuters or students who don't have as much time to socialize on campus.

Getting involved on campus can mean discovering creative outlets, exploring cultural identities, engaging in political advocacy, serving the community, or building social networks with learners who share your academic or personal interests.

3. Create a Better Work-Life-School Balance

Many students struggle to balance academic stressors and work obligations with social relationships and personal development. While finding a good balance can be a lifelong process, college students shouldn't neglect rest and recreation. Students should also be careful to avoid taking on an unrealistic course load or work schedule.

4. Get More Sleep

Sleep deprivation is infamously common among college students, but sacrificing sleep can lead to negative academic outcomes, including a bad mood, a lack of productivity, and poor information retention.

Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night can be challenging for busy students, who often juggle hefty academic, work, and social demands. However, they can start by establishing regular sleep and wake times and by eliminating unnecessary downtime activities like scrolling through social media for extended periods.

5. Practice Healthier Eating Habits

Eating healthy can be tough for college students. Demanding schedules, tight budgets, frequent social engagements, and a lack of access to cooking supplies might tempt students to opt for processed "convenience food" over more nutritious food options.

But regularly consuming nutritionally barren and highly processed food has negative health consequences and can cause brain fog and fatigue.

Students can improve their diets by creating a foundation of healthy meal staples, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and bringing snacks and drinks on the go so they're less tempted by fast-food options.

6. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is an essential part of maintaining good physical and emotional health. Exercising regularly may sound daunting for those used to a more sedentary lifestyle, but many resources can help students kickstart the habit.

Colleges often offer access to a fitness center, which may appeal to students looking for more sophisticated equipment and a community-centered environment. Alternatively, sites like YouTube make fitness accessible through instructional videos or virtual classes.

Students can also incorporate cardiovascular exercises like walking or biking into their daily routines.

7. Attend a Networking or Career Event

For many students, establishing a positive career trajectory is a process that begins well before graduation. Students can attend regional or school-wide job fairs to gather information about their intended industry and submit their resumes to company representatives.

College-sponsored networking opportunities can be some of the most essential services that institutions provide for their students. Some schools even offer department-specific networking events where students can connect with alumni in their fields.

8. Focus More on Learning Than Just Grades

Since many jobs require postsecondary education as a prerequisite, it's easy to dismiss college as simply a stepping stone to a career or graduate program.

However, students should try to shift their focus onto learning rather than just earning good grades. They can do this by engaging in meaningful dialogue in discussion-centered courses. They can also participate in student-led clubs and organizations relevant to their academic discipline.

You might even seek out supplementary resources, like journal articles and podcasts, to bolster your understanding of important topics.

9. Study More Effectively

Many students hope to optimize their study time to achieve better academic outcomes. Although there's no "best" way to improve study habits, learners can adopt various techniques to improve their organization and ability to retain information.

Students should consider adhering to a set study schedule, finding a distraction-free workspace, hand-writing their notes, taking plenty of short breaks, and working with a supportive study group.

10. Make an Effort to Meet People

College campuses can be exceptionally social places. Forming relationships is often easier for individuals who live on campus, but commuters also have opportunities to socialize in classes, labs, discussion sections, and common spaces.

If making new friends seems challenging, community service or interest-based clubs can be excellent social environments. Participants already have shared interests and a designated activity to make outreach feel more natural.

11. Prioritize Your Mental Health

Academic, financial, and personal pressures — as well as a degree of uncertainty — can take a hefty toll on college students' mental health. Maintaining mental wellness and avoiding burnout should be a priority for individuals navigating this pivotal stage of life.

Many colleges offer affordable counseling services for students seeking professional guidance. Other students may prefer to promote their mental wellness through healing activities like yoga and meditation, or through creative outlets like painting and knitting.

12. Get a Part-Time Job

Climbing tuition costs mean that students are under more financial duress than ever. The Education Data Initiative reports that, as of 2021, 43.2 million American students and graduates had taken out student loans to pay for school, borrowing an average of almost $40,000 each.

Many students find part-time jobs to try and keep up with tuition costs, loans, and other expenses, often working in retail, food service, or childcare. Students may also be able to find on-campus jobs or paid internships related to their academic discipline.

13. Apply for New Scholarships

Students can find grants and scholarships offered by various organizations and foundations. These are often designated for students who have specific ethnic backgrounds, areas of study, or geographic locations, as well as military status or financial need. Students can research their eligibility based on these qualifications.

Often, scholarship programs require applicants to write essays, which can be a time-consuming process. However, scholarships may award thousands of dollars, so applying can be worthwhile for persistent applicants.

Featured Image: skynesher / E+ / Getty Images is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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