5 habits of highly successful students
There’s no question that being a college student in today’s modern world of online, self-directed learning requires a great deal of initiative. But what does it really take to go to the head of the class? We talked to some key University of Phoenix student support professionals to find out.
1. Exercise self-discipline. “In my experience, the most successful students are those who are self-disciplined,” says Mary Osadzinski, MA, a student mentor at University of Phoenix Southern California Campus. “They actively work on developing their organizational and time-management skills, and they commit to a daily or weekly study schedule.” Self-discipline involves a commitment to coursework and study that is student-led, rather than instructor-led, and includes a carefully crafted action plan. “Without developing a plan of action, students can get lost in their coursework which often leads to lower grades and increased levels of stress,” says Osadzinski.
2. Remember that practice makes perfect. As a student, this includes everything from making sure you have the required class materials, to doing your homework and studying for tests, to getting enough sleep. It also includes working on your craft every day.
“When it comes to skills like math, daily practice is essential,” says Clifton Luke, PhD, a former math instructor and vice president of learning products for University of Phoenix. Luke highlights Step-By-Step Math Review, a new complimentary online math tutorial program available for all University of Phoenix students, as an essential math practice tool.
“Math is an area that requires a lot of practice to master, just like playing a musical instrument or a sport does. You can’t ‘cram’ math, it requires practice.”
Ruth Geiman, PhD, product director for the Center for Math Excellence, agrees. “When students are taking math classes — or any subject, for that matter — we encourage them to practice course concepts over and over again until they’ve mastered them,” she says. “Practice the concepts you don’t understand until you do understand and they become second nature.”
3. Ask questions. “Educational research has shown repeatedly that students who ask frequent questions of their instructors get better grades and are more successful overall,” says Geiman. “Ask questions of your instructor. You are paying for your education, so get your money’s worth.”
4. Develop good study skills. Students who learn to understand their own personal learning styles and develop study skills accordingly are more successful. Reaching out to fellow students for study tips is also helpful. “We see a tremendous amount of peer-to-peer study help occurring online between students via PhoenixConnect℠,” says Luke. “Students are often the most effective in setting good examples for one another.”
5. Be proactive. “The more students empower themselves,” says Osadzinski, “by actively researching and taking advantage of all the various support services University of Phoenix offers (such as the Center for Math Excellence, the Center for Writing Excellence, the Life Resource Center, and PhoenixConnect) the more they can take a proactive stance on their education.”