3 ways college students can build self-confidence

July 13, 2021 · 6 min read · By ASU Online
These tips and best practices can help college students build self-confidence as they work on achieving their personal and professional goals. 

Self-confidence — the measure of our belief in our own ability to achieve goals and succeed at challenges — is widely understood to have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives. When you feel confident as a student, you’re able to navigate college semester after semester and handle large and small challenges along the way. Keep in mind that the confidence you create as a student will be the building blocks for your professional career.

Self-esteem, or how you see yourself on the inside, has a great impact on the confidence you project into the world. Having self-esteem correlates with academic performance — students with low self-esteem often have less classroom engagement and a lower ability to focus. Both are essential to your success in the future, so it’s important to cultivate your strength now and believe in your ability to make a difference. As you prepare to apply to schools or start the upcoming school year, we encourage you to take steps to build confidence in yourself as you work to achieve your goals.


1. Take a holistic approach to self-confidence

New experiences can pull you out of your comfort zone and cause you to feel uneasy and unsure about the road ahead. When you're rooted in a comprehensive wellness routine, you’ll feel more grounded and able to manage unexpected challenges. Taking a holistic approach that focuses on nurturing your mind, body and soul can serve as the base for creating a stronger sense of self. 

At ASU Online, we support our students’ growth and believe in building the best you. We provide online students access to 360 Life Services, a comprehensive support service specifically designed to help our Sun Devils navigate a range of issues no matter the distance. Our full suite of online student support services includes clinical care, personal care, legal and financial assistance, and other resources.

To empower students to achieve a healthy lifestyle throughout their program, we encourage them to focus on four foundational wellness elements: live, feel, learn and engage.

  • Live. Improve and maintain your physical well-being by making healthy choices on a daily basis — from staying active and eating healthy to getting better sleep and scheduling routine health checkups.
  • Feel. When you feel different emotions, it’s important to do the following:
    • Accept the feeling as true.
    • Tell yourself that your feelings do not determine your actions.
    • Choose how to manage your feelings. It may be beneficial to go for a run, write in a journal or call a friend.
  • Learn. Your mind is naturally curious. Learn something new everyday and allow yourself to see the world as being full of learning opportunities to elevate your health as well as society’s.
  • Engage. Engage in conversations and experiences with diverse individuals and groups. Build connections of trust, create memories and strive to ensure everyone succeeds. ASU Online creates these opportunities by building a support system through online clubs and organizations, message boards, virtual events and inviting collaboration with peers and professors.


During your time of remote learning and virtual engagement, there is great value in prioritizing your wellbeing. When you feel better, you’ll feel more confident and have a stronger sense of your authentic self. Taking a holistic approach to cultivating your self-confidence can be your source of power in your education and career.

2. Overcome your self-doubt

Setbacks are inevitable. It’s easy for these situations to fuel a negative inner dialogue; but don’t allow them to take up real estate in your mind. Consider them to be opportunities to learn and grow and provide you with a roadmap to navigate future challenges in your personal and professional life. Having self-confidence can help you build resilience and handle setbacks with ease. 

Be more mindful of your thoughts and thought patterns, and be more encouraging of yourself. Make an effort to practice positive self-talk and identify areas in your life where you can express gratitude. Building self-confidence starts with building self-compassion. Failure is a prerequisite to success. Learn from your mistakes and strategize on your next plan.

3. Participate in confidence-building activities for college students

When you explore confidence-building activities, you can feel secure in your sense of self and develop a routine that prioritizes your well-being. Here are some easy guidelines you can follow that can make a big impact on your success as a student and professional:

  • Sleep. Sleep impacts your overall state of health. When you get enough sleep, you’re happier, make healthier choices, gain focus and are equipped to handle responsibilities. When your mind is sharper, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to achieve.
    • Do:
      • Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
      • Avoid using technology 30 minutes before bed.
      • Sleep in a dark and quiet place with few distractions.
      • Try to go to bed at the same time every night.
    • Don’t:
      • Keep your phone by your bed.
      • Pull an all-nighter to cram for a test.
      • Take naps in the late afternoon.
  • Get moving. Physical health impacts your overall well-being. Regularly moving your body boosts your mood, improves focus and enhances your immune system. Make time to exercise every day to reap the full benefits. Active living helps build your self-esteem and your drive.
  • Nutrition. What you eat matters. Having a healthy and balanced diet is a vital component of managing your health. You’ll have increased energy, more focus and reduce your risk of health problems. Focus on making your diet sustainable and full of variety. Take the time to consider which foods will fuel you throughout the day and give you the stamina to help you accomplish your goals.
  • Set goals. Goal setting serves as a path toward achievement. Creating short-term and long-term goals can help keep you accountable and give you a sense of direction as you strive toward success. When setting goals, focus on making them SMART.
    • Specific. Is your goal clear and well-defined? Goals that are specific have a greater chance of being accomplished.
    • Measurable. Does your goal include a degree of success that is measurable? If there's no criteria to measure your progress, you won’t be able to determine if you’re on track to achieve your goal.
    • Attainable. Can your goal be accomplished? Be realistic, but also challenge yourself. This will help you navigate ways that you can realize your goal and work toward it.
    • Relevant. Does your goal take into consideration what is going on in your life now? Your goal should be realistically achievable based on your available resources and time.
    • Time-bound. Do you state when you will have completed the goal, or when you will do the tasks you have assigned yourself? If your goal is not time-bound, there will be no sense of urgency, which can lead to less motivation to accomplish it.
  • Mindfulness. When you practice mindfulness, you pay special attention to the present moment with openness and willingness to experience all the moment has to offer. Starting a mindfulness practice can help you reduce stress, improve focus, enhance your gratitude and build your confidence.


Students can explore additional guidance through ASU’s Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience. This center offers online access and serves to support students and faculty through care, connection and equitable mindfulness for a transformative future. The center’s vision is rooted in the vision to create an academic “Culture of Caring” by advancing mindfulness and compassion practices at ASU and the community to nurture purpose, focus, resilience and connection.


The ASU Online experience

Empowering students to build their self-confidence and nurture their wellness journey are essential parts of the ASU Online experience. When you know how to build self-confidence, you can embrace your full potential personally, professionally and academically.

Student support at your service

Your success as an online student goes beyond good grades. Take advantage of counselors, career advisors, tutors, time management coaches, and more to support you on your ASU Online journey.


About ASU Online

Earn your degree completely online from the nation's most innovative university. ASU Online offers more than 300 degree programs and certificates in high-demand areas such as nursing, engineering, business, education and more. Explore all of our areas of study.

Our offerings include:

  • Elite expertise and research.
  • Innovative curriculum design.
  • Superior student support services.

Learn more at our about us page. And follow ASU Online on Facebook, YouTube, X and Instagram, and connect with us on LinkedIn.

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