Why should we define and evaluate our college success skills?
When we think about going to college, we think about learning a subject deeply, getting prepared for a profession. We tend to associate colleges and universities with knowledge, and we’re not wrong in that regard.
But going to college, and doing well once we’re there, also relies heavily on our behaviors while we’re there. Professors and college administrators will expect you to behave in certain ways, without any explicit instructions on their part. For instance, professors will expect you to spend several hours a week working on class concepts (homework, writing, preparing for exams) on your own time. They will not tell you WHEN to spend those hours, but leave it up to you to recognize the need to put in the effort and schedule the time accordingly.
The good news about behaviors that help us succeed in college:
- These skills can be learned, and improved upon. Just because we’re not great at something like time management now, doesn’t mean we can’t get better at it. The more we practice, the better we get (and the more it becomes second nature).
- These skills are transferrable. Patterns of behavior that help us pass difficult classes, also help us succeed in the workplace, and improve our relationships with people who matter to us.
Consider this short video from Richard St. John, who spent years interviewing people who reached the top of their fields, across a wide range of careers. He traces the core behaviors that were common to all of these successful people, and distills them down into 8 key traits.
To recap, those 8 traits are
All 8 traits are things that you can put into practice immediately. With them, you’ll see improvement in your school successes, as well as what lies beyond.
- Identify and practice habits for success
- Identify and apply critical thinking skills
- Analyze time management practices
- Define successful approaches towards college-level writing tasks
- Apply word processing skills to college writing tasks