Tips for Successful Students

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Tips for Successful Students
Guidelines and Thoughts for Academic Success
Adapted and shortened in 2005 by Alison Lake and Carl von Baeyer from a web page by Steve Thien, Kansas State University, which was based on the following articles in The Teaching Professor. Larry M Ludewig, "Ten Commandments for Effective Study Skills," Dec 1992. John H. Williams, "Clarifying Grade Expectations," Aug/Sep 1993. Paul Solomon and Annette Nellon, "Communicating About the Behavioral Dimensions of Grades," Feb 1996.

Successful students exhibit a combination of successful attitudes and behaviors as well as intellectual capacity. Successful students . . . 1. . . . are responsible and active.
Successful students get involved in their studies, accept responsibility for their own education, and are active participants in it! Responsibility is the difference between leading and being led. Active classroom participation improves grades without increasing study time. You can sit there, act bored, daydream, or sleep. Or you can actively listen, think, question, and take notes like someone in charge of their learning experience. Either option costs one class period. However, the former method will require a large degree of additional work outside of class to achieve the same degree of learning the latter provides at one sitting. 2. . . . have educational goals.

Successful students are motivated by what their goals represent in terms of career aspirations and life's desires. Ask yourself these questions: What am I doing here? Is there some better place I could be? What does my presence here mean to me?Answers to these questions represent your "Hot Buttons" and are, without a doubt, the most important factors in your success as a college student. If your educational goals are truly yours, not someone else's, they will motivate a vital and positive academic attitude. If you are familiar with what these hot buttons represent and refer to them often, especially when you tire of being a student, nothing can stop you; if you aren't and don't, everything can, and will! 3. . . . ask questions.

Successful students ask questions to provide the quickest route between ignorance and knowledge.In addition to securing knowledge you seek, asking questions has at least two other extremely important benefits. The process helps you pay attention to your professor and helps your professor pay attention to you! Think about it. If you want something, go after it. Get the answer now, or fail a question later. There are no foolish questions, only foolish silence. It's your choice. 4. . . . learn that a student and a professor make a team.

Most instructors want exactly what you want: they would like for you to learn the material in their respective classes and earn a good grade.Successful students reflect well on the efforts of any teacher; if you have learned your material, the instructor takes some justifiable pride in teaching. Join forces with your instructor, they are not an enemy, you share the same interests, the same goals - in short, you're teammates. Get to know your professor. You're the most valuable players on the same team. Your jobs are to work together for mutual success. Neither wishes to chalk up a losing season. Be a team player! 5. . . . don't sit in the back.

Successful students minimize classroom distractions that interfere with learning.Students want the best seat available for their entertainment dollars, but willingly seek the worst seat for their educational dollars. Students who sit in the back cannot possibly be their professor's teammate (see no. 4). Why do they expose themselves to the temptations of inactive classroom experiences and distractions of all the people between them and their instructor? Of course, we know they chose the back of the classroom because they seek invisibility or anonymity, both of which are antithetical to efficient and effective learning. If you are trying not to be part of the class, why, then, are...
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