5 Tips for Student-Athletes to Boost Academic Performance

by Curtis Beach, former Duke University Track & Field NCAA Champion and Academic All-American

Academics, Athletics, Social Life, and Sleep – you can pick three.
That’s what everyone will tell you, at least. But you can have all four. Here are some tips and general advice to crush your academic career so you can have the freedom to maximize the other major areas in college.

Essential Tips & Advice

1. Keep your notes in the cloud

OneNote is my personal favorite for this. Here’s why: you spend a whole lot of time waiting — waiting in line for food, waiting for the bus, waiting for class to start — and if you can easily access your notes in the cloud, you can study in those times, which might save you from last-minute cramming for tests.

2. Download audiobooks

Download audiobooks for your assigned reading or have Siri read you the digital version (two-finger swipe down on iPhone for ‘Text to Speech’ feature). Not only will you spend a lot of time waiting, but you will also spend a lot of time walking from point A to point B. Throw on the audiobook during this time and watch your reading to-do list check itself off.

3. The door is open, but you have to walk through

If your academic performance is solid, you likely won’t have people knocking on your door to offer you help. There is, however, a massive amount of quality resources at your disposal. Take advantage of these resources, such as tutors, subscription learning services and databases, to not only deepen your learning but potentially discover a new passion.

4. Make connections

It is amazing how many brilliant people are around campus willing to give advice. Take advantage of building relationships with these people.  At worst, you get great advice, and at best, you get a lifelong mentor.

5. Your major does not have to be a direct path to a job

College is less about learning a specific vocation and more about learning how to think and act. In college, you will develop productive learning habits and discover connections across disciplines, while developing friendships and having a blast with your teammates. Find classes that align with your passions and your future job will take care of itself.

Curtis Beach is a former Duke University Track & Field athlete who garnered two individual NCAA Championship titles, as well as multiple First Team All-American, Academic All-American and ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors. The New Mexico native has also represented the United States in World Championship competitions on two occasions and currently works in marketing at Teamworks while pursuing the 2020 US Olympic Team.