Excellence simply means greatness. It is a quality of being outstanding; it is not a trait, hence it cannot be inherited. People who are excellent are mostly admired or envied without people spending time to think about why and how they were excellent.
As a student, to achieve academic excellence is not a child's play. There are prices that need to be paid as there is no success without sacrifice- you either dillydally now and regret later or struggle now and enjoy later. Academic excellence entails taking the extra mile to achieve the set goals, avoiding any distractions and being on the tracks till one get to the finishing line. Scholars as fondly called do not jump down from heaven neither do they have bigger heads and wider brains. It only take being serious, focus, determine and dedicated since nothing good come with ease, anything good comes with sweat.
From experience, it has been observed that those who attain greatness or reach their peak academically, start from somewhere i.e doing one thing or the other, therefore the following tips; the standard of which is relative and not absolute are suggested for those who have ever looked at the achievements of others and thought "wow, if only I can do that".
#1. Discover yourself: if you are the type that read and assimilate in the daylight don't copy a friend that read at night as a night class without any knowledge gain is a total waste of time and effort. Discover when, where and how best you assimilate when reading and don't walk in another man's shoe. While some do best reading at the library, some prefer their room depending on individual difference.
Also, use SWOT analysis to discover your strength and weakness as well as opportunity and threat in your immediate environment. If you always perform well in calculation course- that's your strength, capitalize on it to have the best grade in it and as much as possible and minimize your weaknesses in other courses since everything will be cumulated together. "UNLEASH THE GENIUS IN YOU"
#2. Set a SMART goal or objective: SMART here means setting objective that is specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time bound. Objective is the ends at which all effort are directed, without which there will be no direction. Having discovered who you are as a student, the next is to set a realistic objective that is achievable within a specific period of time.
Being one of the best in the class, having minimum of B's or minimum of 3.5GP at the end of a session are some of the examples of objective to be aimed for student who want to achieve excellence in their respected field of study. "All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do" (Norman Vincent Peale)
#3. Planning: having an achievable objective is not enough, you have to follow it diligently and work towards the achievement of the set objective. Planning here entails putting all necessary things in place to make sure your aim/s is/are achieve. Robin Sieger said and I quote "Planning is as natural to the process of success as its absence is to the process of failure".
Attend classes and make sure proper note is taken in the class to ensure that you flow with what is being taught in class. Also, hook up with those who are the best in your department or field and make worthy friends- "show me your friend and I will tell you who you are". The choice of friend to move with is very important as it go a long way in determining ones performance.
Having a good relationship with lecturers is also a plan towards achieving ones goal as they give advice, share experience and guide a student when he/she needs to be guided.
#4. Be prayerful: the essence of prayer can never be over emphasise in achieving academic excellence. Student who had faced missing script or had so many irrational scores like 39,49 or 69 in a single semester will understand the importance of prayer even more. Be prayerful and never exclude GOD in your pursuit of greatness as success truly and solely comes from HIM.
Remember the grace and mercy of God surpass every other thing so seek for it through obedience and faithfulness and these undoubtedly will brings knowledge, understanding, wisdom and guidance.
#5. Control: I stayed off campus during my 100Level days and I had the best result that earn me university scholar but in 200Level I moved to the university hostel and my result wasn't as good as that of 100L which made my CGPA to drop a little. Having noticing this, I returned back to my initial place "off campus" in 300Level and since then the CGPA has been raising like yeast (LOL) – That's control mechanism.
Control is simply setting a standard, measuring and comparing the actual performance with the standard and taking corrective action. Control is important whether or not you meet your target. If you meet the target, the control is to ensure you maintain it. If you didn't, the control is to figure out the causes and tackle it.
On this note, I wish to end saying the action you take and even those you refuse to take while in school will eventually add up to help you become a successful graduate or a struggling one.