Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Over an extended period of time, our students often shift from a “below average” student to a “good student.” A student’s progress is typically measured by improvement in grades, work ethic, work completion, etc. Students begin to feel proud and excited about their success, as do parents and mentors. After a student moves from “below average” to “good,” there is a next step. (There’s always a next step!)
At Untapped, we have a conversation about going from “good to great” with our students. This leap from good to great can be even more challenging than the shift from below average to good. To ensure success as a great student, habits need to become more disciplined and students’ advocacy skills must advance and strengthen.
Here’s what we recommend to help your good student become a great student.
Great students can recognize when they don’t understand a concept, and they ask for help from either a teacher, tutor, or peer. They don’t let their egos get in the way of their motivation to succeed, and they use resources like office hours and designated study sessions. They know that teachers thoroughly review material that will be on exams during study sessions, and they take advantage of this opportunity. Great students utilize their resources because they know that the most successful people have the most help.
We always emphasize the importance of routines, and the transition from good to great is no exception; great students have disciplined routines. As students get older and take more advanced courses, consistent routines ensure they miss nothing and maximize their attention. Additionally, routines decrease stress because students know what to expect.
For example, the average college student might pull an all-nighter to cram for a final because they didn’t prepare adequately or have a set study routine. When they take the test the following day, they’re fatigued, anxious, and don’t do as well as a “great” student who followed a set study routine the week leading up to the final. This great student retained the material by committing to short and frequent study sessions for at least a week leading up to the test. Their routine was solid and fended off any stress or anxiety.
This applies to school work outside of studying as well. Great students split large assignments and projects into manageable, actionable pieces. Knowing how to break down these assignments and staying disciplined in completing the small tasks leads to large results.
Interacting with Materials
Good students sit still in class, take notes, and understand the materials, but great students take it a step further. Great students deeply engage with the class and the materials by frequently asking themselves questions, connecting the material to their background knowledge, and attempting to understand why the material is important and relevant to “the bigger picture.” For instance, a good student will memorize the dates of famous battles during the Civil War. A great student will learn those dates, but also study what preceded each battle and the universal questions surrounding leadership, our country’s values, and succession. This engagement on a deeper level will transfer across content areas, and great students will remember the new information better because they’ve given it more meaning. Great students are the people professors and teachers are truly passionate about working with.
Self-care is an incredible life skill that leads to a happy and well-balanced adult. As parents, you know that you need to take care of yourself in order to best support those around you!
Great students understand the importance of getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet, and incorporating movement into their life. Neglecting any of those daily necessities results in the collapse of that balance. Additionally, great students are often involved in extracurricular activities and are invested in their school community and relationships to their peers. This involvement forces them to schedule their time carefully, which often results in better performance academically (in addition to success in their lives outside of school).
Students have to maintain balance. Time for themselves, friends, and family is crucial to self-care. Great students, despite being busy, organize their schedules and carve out time to engage with those people most important in their lives.
Implementing these tips will help any student striving for greatness to succeed in school and beyond their academic careers!