There are many positive qualities a person should possess in order to be successful in any career. Such qualities include being hard-working, talented communicators, empathetic, motivated, intelligent, and energetic. Having these traits will give anybody an advantage in the work-place, but the true stepping stone to a great career is studying hard and earning a college degree. Anybody who possesses the qualities mentioned above, paired with a college degree, is sure to have a wonderful future ahead of them. Of course the first step in successfully completing the course requirements for a degree is the development of college study skills.
It is an unfortunate fact that, while a large number of college students work very hard at studying, and spend many hours poring over their books, very few of them have developed the study skills they need to be truly successful at the university level. The fact is this: high school studies and college studies are not the same, and they need to be approached in different ways. To take the first step towards a fulfilling career, college students need to learn new study skills.
A Greater Responsibility for Knowledge
This is the primary fact to remember about studying in college. Students are responsible for learning and memorizing the material. First, college instructors will assume that certain concepts were taught during high school. If college students have any doubt about their educational background, they should consider getting some outside help. This could be accomplished by taking a remedial course, reviewing material online, or consulting a tutor who will help them get caught up on the basics. Secondly, college professors will not spend much time reviewing the material they cover in class or spending much time repeating information that is contained in texts and outside readings. In fact, it is rare that anything will be reviewed more than one or two times. The key to staying caught up in a college level course is effective note taking. The methodology of note taking is not what matters. Some students prefer to highlight important facts in their textbooks and on hand-outs; others prefer to write their notes out on paper or into their mobile devices. These days, many students take notes by taking snap shots of the dry erase boards in their classrooms. Any of these methods is acceptable as long as the important material is recorded in some way. What is truly important is organizing those notes after they have been taken. Notes should be organized into two categories. One category might be titled ‘Concepts we are learning’. The other category might be titled ‘Facts I Need to Have Memorized’. Concepts will be reviewed and discussed in class over and over again. They are still important to learn, but instructors won’t expect students to have them memorized. Facts to be memorized on the other hand are considered to be the responsibility of the students, and they should take whatever steps they need to in order to get that information memorized. College instructors expect this kind of personal responsibility from their students, because they know it will be needed as they pursue a career.
In high school, most teachers are available during the school day and immediately after classes end for the day. On occasion, they may be available for extended hours one or two days during the week. In most cases, contacting them outside of those hours would be considered grossly inappropriate. In college, while students and professors are certainly not peers, students are looked upon as adults. This means that it is perfectly acceptable for a college student to contact an instructor via email, or during office hours. Of course this also means that a student engaged in college study, who needs to have something clarified, will be expected to take it upon himself to contact the professor and obtain that clarification. When college students do this, they are building several skills that relate directly to job success. They are learning to be assertive; they are learning to be motivated; they are learning to communicate effectively. They are also learning to ask for assistance from others, a vital job skill. Finally, they are learning to hold others, in this case professors, accountable for doing their jobs.
Collaborating With Peers
While they are attending college, students will learn that collaborating with peers is an integral part of the learning process. In some cases this collaboration will happen in formal ways under the supervision of the professor or the professor’s assistant. However, more often than not, this collaboration will be self-directed. Students with the same goals will find each other and begin working together to achieve their learning goals. In some instances, this will happen through the formation of study groups. When students in college study the same material, it is only natural that they will get together to help each other. In other cases, this collaboration will occur when students recognize skills and talents among their peers. Then, they will seek out those talents in others, and to share their own talents. The career skills developed here are teamwork, leadership, and recognition of the talent of others, and tapping into that talent when necessary.
It should be quite clear that the entire experience of college learning develops important skills that will be lifelong. No matter how many job and/or career changes an individual may encounter, those college-related skills will apply.