How to Become a Scholar

Five Parts:Getting the Scholar MindsetLearning Outside of the SystemGetting into a Good SchoolGetting Your College EducationWorking After Your Education

Whether you want to be the next Bill Nye (with tenure!) or you just want to learn as much as you can without going to a formal school, being a scholar is easier than it sounds! With some work and determination, you too can bring learning into your life. Read the article below to find out how!

Part 1
Getting the Scholar Mindset

  1. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 1
    Question everything.
    • Real scholars question everything they hear or read. They never take information at face value, and try to make sure the information that they're working with is true.
    • If something seems off, it just might be! Even things that seem right may be wrong, so make sure you're working with the facts.
  2. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 2
    Be curious.
    • Scholars are people who are naturally curious. They want to know everything!
    • You should be naturally curious too, and always try to find out how and why things work the way they do.
  3. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 3
    Love learning.
    • Scholars love to learn about everything.
    • They enjoy the act of learning itself, not being smarter than other people or knowing more facts.
    • It's not a party trick: it's what really makes them happy!
  4. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 4
    Fully form opinions.
    • Take in all sides of an argument and as much information as you can before forming an opinion.
    • Come to your opinions on your own, rather than taking them from someone else. This is an important skill for scholars.
  5. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 5
    Change your mind.
    • Scholars have to be willing to change their mind when they get new information that challenges their previous views. This is one of the most important skills for a scholar.
    • Be open minded and willing to be wrong, in the pursuit of being right.
  6. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 6
    Avoid bias.
    • Don't let your personal feelings inform your actions or the information that you give to others.
    • Just because you don't agree with something doesn't make it not true.
    • Give all information a chance and don't let your bias color your conclusions.

Part 2
Learning Outside of the System

  1. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 7
    Read a lot.
    • The best way to learn without getting a formal education is to read a lot. Read as much as you can at every opportunity. This, in and of itself, can make you a scholar (since a scholar is really just someone who is learning all the time).
    • You can read books that you buy, but don't forget that you can also go to your local library and get loads of books for free! The internet has made lots of library systems much easier to use, letting you find, order, and renew books right from your home.
    • There are also loads of books in the public domain, which you can get free digital copies of to keep. Project Gutenberg is the most famous, but you can also get many through Amazon's Kindle program.
  2. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 8
    Take classes.
    • Did you know that you can take classes without trying to get a degree? If you're interested in learning a particular skill or about a particular subject, you can take classes in just that, without the cost of an entire degree. Some classes may even be free.
    • Talk to your local community college about auditing classes (this means taking the class but not doing any of the homework or tests and not getting credit or a grade).
    • You can also talk directly to the professor and try to work something out between the two of you.
  3. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 9
    Try online schools.
    • Many new online schools with free classes are springing up all over the web. You can take classes from top universities, and some are even working towards offering certificates of completion.
    • You can learn all sorts of skills and topics, from history to computer programming.
    • Popular options include Coursera, CreativeLive, OpenCulture, or even Mental Floss' Youtube Series (featuring John Green!).
    • You can also learn languages online for free. Good sites include LiveMocha, Duolingo, and the Foreign Service Institute's online resources
  4. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 10
    Teach yourself.
    • You can teach yourself new skills and information as well. Humans learn by doing, so get out there and do!
    • You can teach yourself from books or other materials, or you can learn by really just doing things. Just make sure not to hurt yourself!
    • This can often take a lot of determination but you can do it! Don't give up!
  5. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 11
    Learn from other people.
    • You can also learn lots of skills and subjects just by talking with and learning from someone who is an expert. This is called apprenticing.
    • Find someone that does what you want to learn how to do, and offer to pay them or provide a free helping hand if they'll show you what to do.
    • This works better for skills than academic subjects, but you might still be able to find someone sympathetic enough to recommend some good books or other ways to learn.

Part 3
Getting into a Good School

  1. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 12
    Get good grades.
    • It is important to get good grades in high school (or your country's equivalent), especially during the last two years. Colleges and universities will be looking at these grades to decide whether or not to let you in.
    • Get good grades by studying, paying attention in class, and doing all your work.
    • Get extra help from your teachers and communicate with them often if you want to help boost your grade.
  2. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 13
    Do more than the minimum level of work.
    • Doing just the minimum isn't going to impress anyone, so get out there and put in some hard effort.
    • Take extra classes, audit classes at the local community college while you are still in high school, or work (either for money or volunteering) outside of school.
    • It will help you a lot if the extra work you do relates to the degree you want to get in college. This will look promising to colleges you apply to.
  3. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 14
    Learn more than one language.
    • Speaking a language is not only helpful for you in your life, it also is often a requirement for degrees! Show a college that you're ready by learning a language.
    • You can take lessons privately, at your school, at a local college, or for free online! Good online options include LiveMocha and DuoLingo.
    • Choose a language that will be useful, as choosing an non-useful one doesn't really entice a college as much. Some languages are more useful than others in certain regions or for certain degrees.
    • Skills in 1 or 2 foreign languages may be helpful as well, in order to read older scientific papers that haven't been translated into English. The most helpful languages to learn include French, German, Spanish, Italian, Latin and Russian.
    • You may need to learn Arabic, Persian and Turkish. Many scientists and scholars have passed in Arabian Peninsula, Southeast Asia, Ottoman Empire and Persia (Present day Iran).
  4. Image titled 563418 10
    Study psychology and philosophy.
    • You will need to study psychology because you might have to deal with difficult people so by this you will understand people's nature.
    • By studying philosophy your mind capability will expand. You will be able to think a lot more than before.
  5. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 15
    Get good test scores.
    • Getting good SAT (or equivalent) scores will make a huge difference in what schools you are able to get in to. Get better scores to get in to better schools.
    • Get good scores by studying ahead of time (well in advance of your test date) and take practice tests.
    • You can also take the test more than once if you want to.
    • Don't feel like getting a bad or average score will keep you from doing the things you want. You can always start at one college and transfer to a better one.
  6. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 16
    Write a great essay.
    • Admissions essays are very important and can help you get in to colleges even if your grades or test scores are kind of average.
    • Get a read on the college to find out what they're looking for and then write something that caters to what they're looking for.
    • Set yourself apart, make your essay really unique, if you want to get in. Whether this is by doing something unconventional or just being academically outstanding depends on the college.

Part 4
Getting Your College Education

  1. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 17
    Have specific goals from the beginning.
    • If you know what you want a degree in from the beginning of your time in college, this will help you a lot. Knowing what you want allows you to take only classes that will help you, rather than fluff classes that get you nowhere.
    • It's okay to change your mind of course, this can just really help.
    • Use your time in high school, if you can, to decide what you want to study and do with your life. Getting experience in that field by volunteering can really help you figure things out.
  2. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 18
    Spend time studying.
    • Study as much as you can and get good grades in order to get the most out of your time in college.
    • Taking notes and paying attention in class will go a long way towards helping you learn. Get good at these skills if you really want to succeed.
    • You can study on your own or with other people. Whatever works best for you. Working with others, however, allows you to take advantage of their notes.
    • Get help when you need it. You can ask your classmates, make use of the tutoring center, or you can get help from your professor or the TA.
  3. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 19
    Take the right classes.
    • Getting a degree involves taking the specific classes that a college requires for that degree. Make sure you're getting the right classes so that you can get your degree on time.
    • Look for classes that meet more than one requirement, in order to speed up the time that it takes you to graduate.
    • Try to take only classes that relate to your future career or degree. This will look better to and help get you ready for grad school.
  4. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 20
    Write great papers.
    • Papers often play a big part in determining your grades, so writing great papers will of course help your grades. However, most graduate schools will require a sample paper when you apply. Having a stellar one on hand can play a huge role in getting in.
    • Read other good papers to get ideas on the best way to structure your paper, and how to present your evidence.
    • Shoot to be original. Original, significant research is what gets you noticed as a scholar.
    • Leave yourself plenty of time, so that you can have a draft ready to show the professor before the deadline and get feedback on it before turning it in.
    • Do more than one draft and make sure to do some great copyediting!
  5. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 21
    Befriend your professors.
    • Befriending your professors is about more than getting a better grade because they like you more. You professors can often be your ticket into a good grad school, and they may be your colleagues later in your career.
    • Get to know them by taking advantage of office hours. However, be sure you aren't wasting their time. Come in with actual questions and pay attention to what they say.
    • You can also get to know your professors by being engaged in class. Sit near the front, answer and ask questions, and be good about participating in general.
    • You can also just talk to them and ask for advice. They want to see you succeed and should be more than happy to give you some pro tips about working and getting ahead in the field.
  6. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 22
    Get all of your necessary degrees.
    • For some academics, a master's degree is enough to do what they want to do. Some will need to get a PhD.
    • This means that if you really want to spend the rest of your life as a scholar, you'll need to go to graduate school. Keep in mind that all of your schooling together can be 8 years or more after high school!
    • Doctoral programs take about 6 years to complete after obtaining a bachelor's degree. This may includes time used for earning a master's degree and completing a dissertation.
    • Don't get scared about this though. Graduate school is very different than normal school and, in some ways, it's easier. If you can get in, you can probably handle it.
  7. Image titled Become a College Professor Step 4
    Do postdoctoral research. If you want a faculty position at a research-oriented or PhD-granting university, typically you will need to do at least one postdoctoral fellowship after completing your PhD. During this time, typically 2-4 yrs, you will need to publish as many papers as you can in the top ranked journals of your discipline.
  8. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 23
    Do other scholarly activities.
    • The whole time that you are in school, you can take part in a wide variety of scholarly activities that excite your mind and let you have fun.
    • You can read for fun and explore your own research interests.
    • You can even do group activities, if you're more of a people person, like joining the debate team.

Part 5
Working After Your Education

  1. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 24
    Find a position.
    • Once you've got your degrees, you'll want to find a teaching or research position in which to work. Teaching at universities is where most professional scholars end up.
    • Your college should have resources to help you find a job after you graduate.
    • Try to find positions with good benefits and pay, as you will likely have to pay back a large number of loans.
    • Try to get a position with a college or university, since you will have many resources available to you at institutions like this that you would not have elsewhere.
  2. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 25
    Teach classes.
    • Most colleges and universities allow professors to work full time and earn tenure. Tenure provides those in the academic profession with some benefits, including protection from termination without due process or without cause.
    • Typically tenure at a top-ranked research institution requires some degree of demonstrable funding (especially in sciences and engineering disciplines) and a strong record of publications. There is also a 7-year trial period to determine whether you are eligible for tenure. Being a good teacher with an undistinguished research record will typically not get you tenure.
    • In sciences and engineering, starting assistant professors are typically given funds to build a lab, buy specialized equipment and supplies, and get their projects off the ground. This would usually be thought of by the junior faculty members as an investment that their university has made in them. They should try very hard to make good on this investment through securing their own funding, typically 2-3x their startup, before coming up for tenure.
    • As a professor, you'll be required to teach classes in your subject. Some will be closely related to the subject you study but some might be a bit of a stretch, especially when you're just starting out.
    • This means that you will have to talk in front of other people. Sometimes it will be a very large number of people, if you're teaching large freshman lecture classes.
    • Don't be intimidated though. You'll get practice in teaching classes while you are in graduate school, and your department should provide you with lots of help. Your students are also probably more nervous then you are, since they want you to give them good grades!
  3. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 26
    Keep learning.
    • Real scholars spend their entire lives learning. Just because you finished school doesn't mean that you'll stop.
    • Continue to read in your spare time. This usually means reading academic journals, since this is where you'll be able to keep up with the latest developments in your field.
    • Travel to study in other countries. For many fields, it may be beneficial to take trips overseas, to see what your colleagues in other countries are working on or to gain access to materials that you may not have where you live.
    • Get other degrees. Sometimes scholars will go back to school and get degrees. This is often so that they can get further in their career, or if their research area overlaps with another field.
  4. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 27
    Attend conferences.
    • Conferences are special gatherings of lots of scholars in a particular field. They get together to present their research and learn from each other.
    • You may present things that you've been studying but mostly you'll listen to the presentations of others and talk with your colleagues.
    • Some conferences may be local or regional, but sometimes you may get to go to international conferences.
    • Believe us, conferences are more fun than what they sounds like. Realistically, most are just a bunch of scholars getting drunk together.
  5. Image titled Become a College Professor Step 9
    Stay on top of the latest research in your field and also attend business conferences. You should be reading publications in your field every day -- which shouldn't be too difficult if you have a true passion for that area. (And if you don't, you may want to reconsider becoming a professor for that subject.)
    • You need to continually expand your specialized knowledge in that field if you want to become a good professor. Things can change from what's printed in the textbooks, and you want to be able to share that information with your students. It's better not to be one step behind your students and peers.
    • Networking with the experts in your field will also bolster your own research endeavors.
    • As George Bernard Shaw said: “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea as well, and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” Don't be scared of having your ideas stolen by others when you share it with them. Having people hear your ideas will spark criticism and contribution within them, only strengthening your own thoughts and counter-argumentation.
  6. Image titled Become a scholar 30
    Spread the the Knowledge you have got.
    • In Islam there are 5 levels of knowledge.
      • Silence
      • Listening with
      • Remembering what is heard
      • Practicing what you learned
      • Spreading the knowledge what you have got
  7. Image titled Become a Scholar Step 28
    Continue your research.
    • When you work in academia, you will usually be required to continue researching in your field, writing papers and books at regular intervals.
    • Sometimes you will be allowed to take a sabbatical, or a paid, year-long break in order to work on your research.
    • You will write articles for journals, papers for conferences,and essays and books for publishing. The hope is that your original research will be significant enough to gain notoriety for the university you work for, attracting more students and grants.


  • Libraries will often have someone who specializes in a particular topic. This person can help you learn more and send you to the best books for what you want to learn.
  • Take elective courses (while earning the Bachelor's degree) in collateral areas.
  • Go to conferences offered by the national organization for the discipline that interests you to continually expand your knowledge.
  • Make sure that you enjoy teaching and are a personable person who can relate to college students.
  • Remember that the teaching rewards will be great. Teaching in a college environment means that your students want to be where they are, whereas normally in elementary through high school classrooms, students are there because they have to be, not because they want to be.
  • Remain humble. Don't succumb to "professor's disease." Just because you spend your days in front of students who, by definition, have a lot to learn, doesn't mean you are omniscient or have an exalted place in the universe.
  • If you go to a two-year school, junior college, or community college, make sure that your degree path is intended to transfer to a four-year college or university. Some degrees at the two-year institution are not intended for transfer, but rather to prepare the student for the job market (vocational).
  • Be prepared to work as a TA or adjunct professor to get your foot in the door. Most universities require experience before hiring.
  • Try to study by computer instead of books if you get tired or exhausted with some instrumental background music.


  • Being a scholar or typically requires lots of patience. There are equal chances of failure as that of success, hence you should be ready to accept the results as they come.
  • It may be difficult to balance cultivating a strong family life while conducting extensive research. Moving to places to meet job opportunities can also take a toll on your family.
  • Don't base your decision on where to teach solely by prestige of university. Some smaller universities can be top-notch niches in certain fields, and others can have excellent faculty and resources to work with.
  • Be wary of online schools that require money. Make sure that they are accredited and that their reputation is good.
  • Due to the larger number of PhD candidates for professorship and commercial positions, prospective scientists and scholars may find themselves having to take a series of postdoctoral positions before landing a permanent position.
  • The pay is not always great, and the work can be isolating. When you seek the tenure track, the first 6 years on the job are intense.

Things You'll Need

  • Study of Books
  • A Timetable

Article Info

Categories: College University and Postgraduate