Executive Function Skills: What They Are and How They Can Help You Succeed in College

people throwing hats on air

If you’re headed to college, you’ve probably heard of the term “executive function skills.” But what are executive function skills, and how can they help you succeed in college? Let’s take a closer look.

Executive function skills are a set of cognitive skills that help us control our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These skills are important for self-regulation and for achieving goals. Some of the most important executive function skills include planning, organization, time management, and problem-solving. 

While executive function skills are important for everyone, they’re especially important for college students. That’s because college is a time of increased demands and responsibilities. From managing a busy class schedule to completing assignments and preparing for exams, there’s a lot to juggle! Having strong executive function skills can help you manage all of your responsibilities and succeed in college. 

Here are some specific ways that executive function skills can help you succeed in college: 

1. Executive function skills can help you manage your time effectively. 

One of the most important things you’ll need to do in college is to manage your time wisely. There will be more demands on your time than ever before, so it’s crucial that you learn how to manage it effectively. Fortunately, executive function skills can help! Time management is an important executive function skill, and developing this skill will enable you to better manage your time in college. 

2. Executive function skills can help you stay organized. 

Another way that executive function skills can help you succeed in college is by helping you stay organized. When you have a lot of responsibilities, it’s easy to let things fall by the wayside. But if you’re organized, you’ll be able to better keep track of all your tasks and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Staying organized will also make it easier to find things when you need them—which comes in handy when you’re searching for that elusive textbook right before an exam!

3. Executive function skills can help you stay focused.

It can be easy to get sidetracked when you’re juggling multiple tasks at once—but if you want to succeed in college, it’s important to stay focused on what’s important. That’s where executive function skills come in! The ability to focus is an important component of several different executive function skills, including attention span (staying on task) and working memory (remembering information). By developing your focus through these types of executive function skills, you’ll be better able to stay on track with your studies and achieve success in college. 


As you can see, executive function skills are important for both teenagers and adults alike—but they’re especially crucial for students who are navigating the challenges of college life. If you’re headed off to college soon, make sure to brush up on your executive function skills! From managing your time wisely to staying organized and focused, these essential cognitive abilities will help set you up for success in higher education—and beyond!