Procrastination in College Students

Procrastination is extremely prevalent. If you opened this post because you procrastinate and you’re looking for ways to change the pattern, just know that you’re not alone. So many of us procrastinate, and a lot of the time, we do the right things at the wrong time. Even famous people we hold in high regard procrastinate. Frank Lloyd Wright spent a mere two hours designing Fallingwater after delaying for nine months. Leonardo da Vinci spent nearly 16 years painting the Mona Lisa and never completed it. So, it’s good that you have identified procrastination as a significant problem and want to make a change. We think you are awesome for taking this step! And we’ll help you along the way, however we can.

Procrastination is the voluntary postponement of an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off from the delay. It is a severe and widespread problem affecting students at all levels. Procrastination is also a complicated problem since different students put things off for various reasons. The following are examples of student procrastination.

  • A high school student puts off studying for a continuous assessment test and instead browses social media.
  • A college student postpones writing an essay or research paper for weeks until right before the deadline. Instead, they go out with friends, play video games, or watch their favorite TV shows.
  • A graduate student defers working on a thesis or dissertation for an entire semester and instead works on small and unimportant tasks.

This article provides a comprehensive and practical guide to the problem of student procrastination. We intend to first give you the statistics on procrastination in college students, help you understand why students procrastinate, and then explore ways to avoid procrastination in college. So, roll up your sleeves and read on to understand and learn how to deal with the menace that is very common among students.

Statistics on Procrastination in College Students

Students should avoid procrastinating because it can morph into a habit that seriously impacts their ability to be productive, which can negatively affect their academic performance. Research shows that about 80 to 90% of students procrastinate. In a 1997 survey, University of Denver School of Education professor Kathy Green, Ph.D., found that procrastination was one of the top reasons doctoral students failed to complete their dissertations. Another study shows that 50% of college students say they procrastinate in a consistent and problematic manner, while approximately 75% consider themselves procrastinators. Besides, about 80-95% of students engage in procrastination to some degree, implying that nearly all students struggle with the problem.

Younger learners are also susceptible to procrastination. Magoosh, an American education company, reports that 86% of high school students procrastinate on assignments. A 2015 study found that the longer business school students waited to turn in an assignment, the worse their grades were, with last-minute hand-ins costing them an average of 5% points or half a grade. Another 2015 meta-analysis confirmed these results, revealing that procrastination correlated with lower grades across 33 studies that included over 38,000 students who were mostly college students. With so many students now learning remotely and coping with more isolation and stress, these already alarming facts and figures are likely to surge even higher.

Finally, the prevalence of procrastination varies based on the task involved. A study on students in an introductory psychology course indicated that:

  • 46% of students procrastinate on writing term papers
  • 30% postpone reading weekly assignments
  • 28% procrastinate studying for exams
  • 23% put off attendance tasks
  • 11% delay handling administrative tasks
  • 10% procrastinate on school activities in general.

Use Professional Writing Services to Manage Procrastination

Procrastination causes many issues for students when it comes to academic performance, time management, emotional well-being, and mental and physical health. Fortunately, students can use reliable essay writing services to avoid rushing to submit their assignments past the deadline. Contact the expert service CustomWritings to buy college papers online which help students with all sorts of academic writing needs at all educational levels. It has professional writers who understand all the ins and outs of academic writing and deliver content-savvy and subject-specific papers. Visit their website for quality, personalized, and original assignments, coursework, research and term papers, theses, and any other academic writing.

What Causes Procrastination in College Students?

But what triggers students to clean their closets or watch movies when it’s time to work on their research papers or revise for their exams? Usually, it’s self-doubt, says procrastination researcher and Carleton University psychology professor Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D. Graduate students often worry about performing inadequately or fear that success may raise others’ expectations of them. Some college students even believe that they work best under pressure. While perfectionism and fear of failure play significant roles, other factors can also lead students to manage their time ineffectively. Depending on the student, the following reasons can make students procrastinate.

  • Task aversion
  • Abstract goals
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Fatigue of overwork
  • Disengagement from the assignment or course
  • Underdeveloped time management and organizational skills
  • Disruptions and distractions in the students’ learning environment
  • Inadequate tools and resources, such as unclear instructions from the instructors

6 Tips on How to Avoid Procrastination in College

Now that you know the statistics and causes of procrastination in college students, the following tips can help you deal with the root causes of procrastination. However, it would help if you understood that there’s no blanket solution that works for every student. Choose whatever works for you and deal with the problem head-on.

Get organized

Have a plan or idea for completing your work. Investing in a planner can help you track your assignments and their due dates.

Manage motivation

Remind yourself of the practical value of your academic tasks. Figure out the reasons you’re studying something in the first place.

Eliminate distractions

Getting rid of distractions is another tip to avoid procrastination. Eliminating interruptions can help you get done with what you need to accomplish. Switch your phone off or retreat to a quiet place to focus on what’s important.


Prioritizing your work and assignments can also help you avoid procrastination. Every week or so, make a list of what you need to complete and address the most critical and time-sensitive tasks first.

Reward yourself

Rewarding yourself can create an incentive to complete a task and help you avoid procrastination.

Hold yourself accountable

Holding yourself accountable for completing assignments on time, studying for exams, and getting good grades is a critical survival skill in college and a meaningful way to avoid procrastination.

To Sum Up!

While there is no single answer to stop procrastinating for college students, you can apply the discussed behaviors and habits to overcome this challenge and avoid its undesirable consequences. So, if you’re a constant procrastinator or you find yourself stuck these days more than before, try to figure out why. Then, practice and apply the tips to overcome any mental hurdles. Remember, it won’t be an overnight transition, but keep at it!

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