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5 Strategies for Academic Success: Using Your Strengths

These five tips show you how to keep a clear head and have a successful semester.

Rebecca Bakken

The start of the semester can be a hectic time. You’re juggling your career, classes, family, and friends. Deb Levy , a certified life and business coach, and a Harvard Extension career workshop leader, offers five tips in this video to help you succeed in your coursework.

Know your strengths.

It’s human nature to want to correct weaknesses. But knowing your strengths and how to use them effectively can have a much more substantial effect on success and well-being. So how can you reframe your thinking?

According to Deb Levy, the field of positive psychology offers many useful tools. One in particular—the Character Strengths Test from VIA Institute on Character—can help you gauge your strengths and weaknesses. The test ranks users’ character strengths from strongest to weakest, allowing for an objective view into where you excel and where you may need work.

Once you know what your strengths are, you can play to them. But it’s also important to know that sometimes strengths need to be tempered.

“Every strength if overused becomes a deficit,” says Levy.

For instance, someone who ranks highly in humor might run the risk of making an insensitive or inappropriate comment that could damage relationships.

Making a plan to bolster weaknesses while remaining conscious of strengths can be a great strategy to ensure not just academic success, but personal fulfillment.

Set specific goals.

Achieving your goals depends heavily on how well you can manage your time. Levy recommends making a priority pie that maps out how you’ll divide your time over the course of a semester.

“When you say yes to becoming a student, you have to say no to other things,” she says. “So goal-setting requires a strategic plan for the semester. Students who do better in general are the ones who take time to plan.”

Your priority pie should reflect all your personal, professional, and academic endeavors. For example:

time commitment graphic

Your priority pie should include not just classes and your work day, but also time for family, studying and homework, and self-care like going to the gym or getting a regular massage.

Levy stresses that the best goals are specific, personal, and flexible.

Prioritize happiness.

Feeling good about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it is the best way to ensure success. According to Levy, happiness often leads to success, but success on its own may not lead to happiness.

As such, prioritizing your own wellness is key to reaching your goals. Levy says well-being  consists of positive emotions, engagement, meaning, and achievement.

“By nature of being in school people are already prioritizing well-being. They’re getting engaged, working on accomplishments,” says Levy.

Read our blog post on work-life balance

Aside from making time for yourself, you can practice building positivity.

One exercise that Levy recommends is writing down three good things at the end of each day. These can be things you’re proud of, things you’re grateful for, or things that simply bring a smile to your face.

Studying subjects that give your life purpose or meaning can also be beneficial.

“People who connect meaning to their goals are more motivated,” says Levy

Be resilient.

Even with a good plan, obstacles will arise. How well you deal with those obstacles depends on your perspective.

In resilience coaching, Levy often refers to the work of psychologist Carol Dweck. Her research identifies two basic mindsets: fixed and growth. Fixed mindsets view mistakes or setbacks as insurmountable. Growth mindsets view them as opportunities for positive change.

If you lean toward a fixed mindset, the good news is that it’s not permanent. No one falls into one mindset 100 percent of the time. Training your brain to see opportunity where you once saw a roadblock is possible.

“Give yourself permission to be human,” Levy says. “Predict you’re going to make mistakes.”

One way to build resilience is by preparing for obstacles with implementation intentions , which are if–then plans designed to help people achieve goals. For example, “If I can’t get the financial aid I need, then I will reallocate money from my vacation or entertainment budgets.”

Setting these intentions gives you a default answer that helps you stick to your plan without having to deliberate or make a snap decision.

Have questions? Contact our Enrollment Services team

Make time to recover.

Rather than avoiding stress altogether, Levy recommends setting aside time to mentally and physically recover.

As a student, you may sometimes fall into a “stretch zone,” where you’re extending yourself to accommodate for different obligations. Periods of stress can actually be positive and motivating if they expand your perception of what’s possible.

But it can lead to chronic stress when you don’t build in time to recover.

Viewing your eight hours of sleep every night as sacrosanct can go a long way toward staving off chronic stress. So before you pull another all-nighter, think about the effects it may have on you the next day.

Taking breaks, setting aside time for meals, and enjoying recreation can help fuel you and keep you on course to achieve your goals.

For more information from Deb Levy on balancing academics with life, check out How to Set Goals and Achieve Balance—In and Outside the Classroom .

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Factors Affecting Academic Success Research Paper

Introduction, motivation and engagement, self-efficacy and academic self-concept, time management, academic habits.

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The most important factor that determines the level of academic success achieved by a student is adequate preparation through the attendance of lectures and completion of coursework tasks throughout the semester (Kim, 2005). Despite the fact that proper preparation is the main determinant of success, there are other vital factors that should be considered.

These factors are based on research studies conducted to establish the relationship between academic success and specific academic aspects that are directly or indirectly linked to academic performance. There are both academic and non-academic factors that interact in different ways to influence student performance (Ellis, 2009).

Factors that affect academic success include motivation, engagement, and academic discipline, self-efficacy and academic self-concept, student perception, of course, academic habits, and effective time management (Kim, 2005).

Students possess an assortment of aptitudes that influence their performance in different academic disciplines. However, in order to attain success, it is necessary for them to be motivated, disciplined, and engaged in their work (Ellis, 2009). A recent report released by the Department of Education and Training revealed that discipline and motivation are among the most common predictors of academic success.

Self-motivation and discipline are evaluated by determining the amount of time students devote to schoolwork, levels of commitment and engagement, and their willingness to learn new things in and out of class (Kim, 2005). Engagement is characterized by students’ willingness to explore more concepts than those taught in class, discuss with instructors about ideas that have not been well understood, and incorporate strategies into their academic endeavors that are not used by their instructors.

According to Kim (2005), motivation and engagement can be inculcated in students by creating learning environments that are supportive and challenging. In order to foster motivation and engagement, it is important for teachers to give students opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of various concepts, direct their learning in certain areas, and discuss their ideas and opinions with other class members. Critics argue that motivation, engagement, and academic discipline do not affect success because the main predictor of academic accomplishment is talent (Ellis, 2009).

They argue that if a student is not talented in certain areas such as languages and mathematics, motivation, discipline, and engagement can do little to guarantee them success. This argument is flawed because the more time a student dedicates to an area where he/she is weak, the more the understanding of concepts covered increases. In addition, discipline and engagement ensure that students do not give up or get discouraged due to the lack of talents in certain areas.

Self-efficacy refers to the perception that students have regarding their abilities to perform certain tasks and achieve their goals while academic self-concept refers to the degree of possession of traits such as assertiveness and confidence (Vuong, Brown-Welty, & Tracz, 2010). Researchers have established that academic success is greatly influenced by students’ perception of their abilities and competence more than their intrinsic talents.

For example, a student who believes that they possess strong skills in languages is likely to perform better because they will work harder and dedicate more time to the course than a student who believes that they are weak in languages. According to social cognitive theory, self-efficacy is important because it influences the decisions that people make and the actions they take based on their perceived competence and skills regarding certain tasks (Vuong et al., 2010).

On the other hand, a student who is confident that his mathematical skills are strong is likely to perform better than a student who lacks confidence in his skills. The level of self-efficacy exhibited by a student affects academic success because it determines their degree of perseverance, engagement, dedication, and effort (Kim, 2005).

Some academic critics have argued that self-efficacy and academic self-concept do not affect academic success because the most important determinants of success are students’ aptitudes and the learning methods used in class. However, this argument is inaccurate because it disregards the results of several studies that show that students who possess high self-efficacy perceive difficult tasks as challenges to be overcome and not as obstacles to be feared and avoided (Vuong et al., 2010).

In contrast, students with low self-efficacy perceive difficult situations as challenges that should be feared and avoided. Low-self efficacy promotes feelings of stress and inadequacy that lead to low performance (Vuong et al., 2010).

Time is an important resource that all students possess and that they utilize differently due to various reasons (Pehlivan, 2013). School life is challenging due to the numerous responsibilities and duties that students are required to attend. Therefore, managing time well is a critical factor that affects their academic success. Effective time management depends on factors such as self-recognition, determination of priorities, and familiarity with personal traits (Kim, 2005).

Several studies have demonstrated that positive time management enhances academic success, while negative time management stifles academic accomplishment. According to a study conducted by Pehlivan in 2013 involving 168 students taking accounting courses at Karadeniz Technical University (KTU), students with positive time management plans scored higher GPAs and course grades than students with negative time management plans. The GPA and course grades attained by each student were greatly affected by their knowledge of time management and its influence on academic success (Pehlivan, 2013).

The study results suggested that acquiring time management skills is important for students as it enhances the attainment of success (Pehlivan, 2013). The importance of time management with regard to academic success was downplayed by a study conducted by Hamdan, Nasir, Khairudin, and Wan Sulaiman in 2014. According to the study, time management does not have any influence on academic success. The most important factor that affects academic success is the use of coping strategies.

This argument is based on the idea that time management is not an aim in itself, and therefore, it cannot be considered as a goal that can be pursued (Hamdan et al., 2014). Students need to constantly change their cognitive and behavioral efforts in order to achieve success (Hamdan et al., 2014). This change is necessary because schoolwork is challenging and needs great flexibility.

The aforementioned argument is flawed because effective time management enables students to prioritize their responsibilities, fight procrastination, and allocate adequate time to various areas of study. In addition, it enhances motivation because it makes students feel that they are in control of their academic and personal lives (Ellis, 2009). Proper time management allows students to improve and perform well because they dedicate enough time to areas where they perform poorly (Ellis, 2009).

The academic habits of students affect their success significantly because they determine their class attendance patterns, the number of hours dedicated to study every day, and their learning strategies. Academic habits that guarantee success include collaboration with other students, discussions with teachers, prioritization of tasks, adoption of effective study methods, and lecture attendance without fail (Ellis, 2009).

Good study skills and habits such as initiating conversations with instructors, collaborating with other students, constant monitoring of comprehension levels, and exploration of new study materials are important for academic success (Alija, 2013). It is necessary for students to focus on developing major elements of academic literacy in order to enhance their performance. These elements include reading, writing, critical thinking, speaking, and utilization of technology (Ellis, 2009).

An important skill to focus on is reading because it unlocks doors to comprehension and implementation of other literary elements. According to the National Center of Educational Statistics (NCES), the importance of reading in attaining academic success overrides the need for personal development, academic goals, and motivation. A study conducted by Alija (2013) showed that class attendance is a critical academic habit that affects success in school. Class attendance ensures that students get adequate hours of instruction, increase their motivation, and enhance their comprehension of course materials (Alija, 2013).

In the study, reasons for absence from the class included lack of motivation, difficult subjects, lack of interest in certain subjects, boring lecturers, and family engagements (Alija, 2013). Students who succeed do not let these factors interfere with their commitment to attend classes.

Some researchers have stated that academic habits play an insignificant role in the attainment of academic success. They argue that habits such as class attendance, discussions with students and teachers, and study strategies do not affect academic success because the most important factor is the student’s level of comprehension and interest in a certain subject (Ellis, 2009).

If a student is interested in a specific discipline, they will perform well even though they fail to attend lectures, join discussion groups, and apply recommended study strategies. They further argue that high levels of comprehension and interest lead to great motivation that is a critical factor for the attainment of success. This argument has some truth in it.

However, it disregards the importance of planning and consistency. It is difficult for a student to succeed academically by reading spasmodically and missing lecturers (Ellis, 2009). Certain course concepts are difficult to comprehend and, therefore, require the assistance of an instructor. In addition, many courses require students to attend classes because presentations and practical sessions are included as part of the curriculum and grading system.

Academic success has been studied by many researchers who seek to establish the major factors that affect it. Succeeding in school is the major objective of students. However, many of them do not understand the effect that certain factors have on their academic accomplishments. The major factors that affect academic success include motivation, engagement, and academic discipline, academic habits, time management, and self-efficacy, as well as academic self-concept.

In order for students to succeed, they have to believe in their capabilities, attend lectures, manage time properly and become committed to their studies. It is also important for them to be motivated and engaged in their academic endeavors. Students need to understand that time is a limited resource that needs to be planned and used wisely.

Time management enables students to prioritize their duties and responsibilities and allocate adequate time to complete various activities. On the other hand, attending lectures without fail increases students’ levels of comprehension and motivation.

Alija, S. (2013). How Attendance Affects the General Success of the Student. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 3 (1), 168-182.

Ellis, A. L. (2009). The Keys to Academic Success . New York, NY: Dorrance Publishing.

Hamdan, A., Nasir, R., Khairudin, R., & Wan Sulaiman, W. S. (2014). Time Management Does Not Matter For Academic Achievement Unless You Can Cope. International Proceedings of Economics Development and Research, 78 (5), 22-26.

Kim, B. (2005). 8 Essential Strategies for Academic Success . New York, NY: Dr. Ben Kim.

Pehlivan, A. (2013). The Effect of Time Management Skills of Students Taking a Financial Accounting Course on their Course Grades and Grade Point Averages. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 4 (5), 196-203.

Vuong, M., Brown-Welty, S., & Tracz, S. (2010). The Effects of Self-Efficacy on Academic Success of First Generation College Sophomore Students. Journal of College Student Development, 51 (1), 50-64.

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Student Success College Essays Samples For Students

6 samples of this type

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Success in College Essay Examples

An undergraduate degree remains one of the most important factors in securing a job after college. Completing college or getting a high school diploma is not enough. Students need to obtain a degree, which is the real measure of success in college. This may be achieved through three main approaches as indicated in this paper: improving academic self-efficacy; supporting the needs of students; and through assessment and feedback.


Free liberal education essay example, design a campus diversity plan essays example.

My university is a premier learning-centered whose graduates and students are all-time best individuals to meet current and emerging trends. Mission My university is an open-access, public utility, comprehensive community institution that advances the lifelong educational growth of the residents and empowers economic and socio-cultural values of the community. To facilitate learning, teaching, service and student excellence, the institution provides innovative, standard quality, and relevant associate, certificate, and career-oriented educational programs and services. At the epicenter of all operations, the university management serves the public’s interest via wise planning and use of human, fiscal, and physical resources.

Guiding Principles

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Free Ech-335 Instructional Teaching Methodologies: Language, Math, Science, Social Studies Essay Example

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Specific instructional teaching methodologies are employed in classroom learning environments, across multiple disciplines, in order to achieve maximum learning for early childhood students. (NAEYC 1, 3, 4, 6; INTASC 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9; APTS 1, 2, 3, 4, 6) - Lesson Plans - Reflective Essay

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Home » za » questions » DIAL5111 Digital and Academic Literacies Assignment Answers

Project Topic – Evaluating Success in South African Higher Education The topic on which all the DIAL5111 projects focus is for you to critically evaluate the following statement:

• Currently, higher education is too difficult to pass in South Africa. The pass mark should be lowered to 30% for all higher education modules.

In recent years, many challenging questions have arisen around the purpose and importance of higher education: Is higher education a human right? Is it an individual, societal, or even governmental responsibility? In what ways, and for what purposes, do students in higher education need to be assessed? What determines success in higher education, and is this success the same for all students – why? In South Africa, in particular – with our history of racial, gender- based and socio-economic disadvantages – such questions can be increasingly difficult to answer or justify with any certainty.

With the above in mind, you need to decide what position you will adopt on this topic – and on the provided statement itself. Do you agree with the statement? Why? Do you disagree? Why? Do you agree and/or disagree with certain parts of the statement? Which parts, and why?

Please note: There is no “correct” position or “right answer” to this – it is a complex topic with many different sides. That is why we are asking you to apply your mind critically to your projects. Do not just accept the statement as it is; ask questions, research and investigate, and make up your own mind after having reviewed all the information you can find on the topic. Some examples of positions that you may want to adopt or combine, include (but are certainly not limited to):

i. Yes, higher education is currently too difficult to pass in South Africa because of a, b, and c, and so the pass mark should be lowered to 30% in all modules because of x, y, and z. ii. No, higher education is currently not too difficult to pass in South Africa because of a, b, and c, and so nothing needs to change because of x, y, and z. iii. Yes, higher education is currently too difficult to pass in South Africa, but in some contexts or qualifications only. Therefore, the pass mark in some modules should remain at 50% because of a, b, and c, but should change to 30% in other modules because of x, y, and z.

iv. Yes, higher education is currently too difficult to pass in South Africa, but lowering the pass rate to 30% is too extreme because of a, b, and c . Rather, it should be lowered to 40% instead because of x, y, and z. v. No, other factors – such as a, b, c, x, y, and z – should determine what students need to achieve to pass modules, rather than percentage grades.

NB – You will not be assessed on what position you adopt, but rather on how you present and support this position across your three projects. In other words, you need to make sure the reasons for your position (the a, b, c, and x, y, z in the above statements) are clearly explained and well-supported through the inclusion of credible and relevant examples and ideas that are accurately referenced

Project 2 Instructions _ For this project, you need to continue working with the five relevant and credible resources you found and used for Project 1.

If you decide, based on feedback from your lecturer/tutor, that some or all of the five resources you selected for Project 1 are not suitable to use as support for your position within an academic essay on the project topic, then you need to search for and find better, alternative resources – i.e., go back and work through the Project 1 instructions until you have found at least five relevant and credible resources you can use to support and/or counter your position on the project topic. And then proceed with answering the Project 2 questions using your newly selected resources.

NB – Make sure you use accurate and appropriate IIE Harvard in-text referencing for all Project 2 questions. Include a corresponding IIE Harvard reference list at the end of your full Project 2 response.

Your lecturer/tutor will use the marking rubrics provided in Appendix A at the end of this project to mark your project responses. Work through all the marking rubrics to ensure you have completed each question sufficiently.

Question 1 – Applying an Appropriate Reading Strategy (Marks: 55)

Q.1.1 Using your prescribed LU2 Critical Thinking in Reading Learn artefact as a guideline, develop 10 questions that you can use to engage actively with your five selected resources for the project topic.

Your 10 questions need to:

• Be relevant to the project topic, and appropriate for each resource. • Assist you in identifying the purpose, structure, argument(s), counterargument(s), and supporting evidence of each resource. • Comprise the following question types: o three fundamental questions; o three part-whole connection questions; o two hypothesis questions; o two critical questions.

For ease of marking, please label each of your 10 questions with its question type (i.e., fundamental question, hypothesis question, etc.). (20)

Q.1.2 Answer the questions you developed for Q.1.1 for each of your five selected resources.

Summarise your answers to these questions under the following headings:

• Resource arguments (i.e., what are the main ideas of each resource?) • Supporting evidence (i.e., what examples, counterarguments and rebuttals and/or research does each resource use to support their main ideas?) • Usefulness for my position (i.e., how useful would each resource be as supporting evidence for your own position/argument on the project topic, and why?)

Your Q.1.2 summary should be 600 – 900 words. Please note your lecturer/tutor will not mark beyond the maximum word limit.

Question 2 – Creating an Essay Outline (Marks: 45) Create an essay outline in which you plan the essay you will write to establish your position/argument on the project topic (the actual essay will be written for your summative project).

Your essay outline must include:

o A relevant title for your essay that clearly aligns to your topic position. o Introduction outline:  a few key points of relevant background information that would function as a hook for the reader in the introduction.  a relevant and clear thesis statement that clearly relates your position on the topic, and which will form the basis of your essay argument. o Body paragraph outline for a three body-paragraph essay, where each paragraph includes:  One topic sentence related to your position;  At least three supporting sentences – that provide relevant evidence and/or examples and/or counterarguments and rebuttals drawn from/inspired by your selected resources, which you will use to support your position/argument.  One concluding sentence. o A summary of your main claims/argument that will form the basis of your essay conclusion.

Answers to Above Questions on Digital and Academic Literacies

Answer 1: An analysis of the current education system in South Africa indicates that it is highly difficult for students to pass higher education. Proposal to reduce the pass mark to 30% is not somewhat considered to be the solution for this issue. I believe that lowering the pass mark would lead to direct questions with respect to academic standards in terms of academic integrity and rigor of the education system. The quality of Higher Education would be lost and they might not be able to produce highly qualified professionals that can bring dynamic change in the industry.

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    Set specific goals. Achieving your goals depends heavily on how well you can manage your time. Levy recommends making a priority pie that maps out how you'll divide your time over the course of a semester. "When you say yes to becoming a student, you have to say no to other things," she says. "So goal-setting requires a strategic plan ...

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    Success is a predetermined goal for any university student undergoing studies, however the transition to university is a difficult one, and can become quiet challenging. The critical foundations can subsequently become difficult to be formed, resulting in students deciding to drop out. According to Tinto (1993), the majority of students (75% ...

  13. Success Essay for Students and Children

    500+ Words Essay on Success. Success Essay- In today's world everyone wants to be successful but what is a success. The perspective of success varies from person to person. For the record, the people before us have a different view on success and the person after us will have a different view on success. Moreover, people compare different ...

  14. Academic Success

    Paper Type: 650 word essay Examples. Academic persistence and success in higher education serves as a topic of continued interest in research. In part, it is a result of students' capacity to apply educationally advantageous skills including time management and remaining focused on coursework throughout the semester.

  15. Factors Affecting Students' Academic Success

    Ultimately, however, the power lies on the student if he or she will be passive or become an agent for his or her own learning and academic success. References. Burton, L., & Dowling, D. (2005). In search of the key factors that influence student success at university. Higher Education in a Challenging World, 2 (1), 23-32. Jay, A., & Zain, R. M ...

  16. Academic Success Research Paper

    Reflective Essay: Improving My Academic Success 813 Words | 4 Pages. Academic success to me is achieving good grades and understanding the material to get good grades. Academic success also means to have an good attendance. I already get mostly A's and B's, but I am not good at staying on top of things.

  17. I'm a Student. You Have No Idea How Much We're Using ChatGPT

    If you continue to experience issues, contact us at 202-466-1032 or [email protected]. We welcome your thoughts and questions about this article. Please email the editors or submit a letter for ...

  18. Reasons why Academic Success is Important

    Academic success is important because not only the good jobs with the satisfactory wages the students would have, but also the higher levels of education to tackle the technologically demanding occupations the working students would need in the future (Brown, 1999; National Alliance of Business, Inc., 1998).

  19. Academic Success

    265 Words. 2 Pages. Open Document. Recently the phenomenon of definition of success and its corresponding effects has sparked a heated debate. Although contested by many that achieving professional and academic targets is highly beneficial, such issue is regarded thoroughly as both constructive and positive by a substantial number of individuals.

  20. Factors Affecting Academic Success Research Paper

    There are both academic and non-academic factors that interact in different ways to influence student performance (Ellis, 2009). Factors that affect academic success include motivation, engagement, and academic discipline, self-efficacy and academic self-concept, student perception, of course, academic habits, and effective time management (Kim ...

  21. Student Success College Essays Samples For Students

    Completing college or getting a high school diploma is not enough. Students need to obtain a degree, which is the real measure of success in college. This may be achieved through three main approaches as indicated in this paper: improving academic self-efficacy; supporting the needs of students; and through assessment and feedback.

  22. DIAL5111 Digital and Academic Literacies Assignment Answers

    Project Topic - Evaluating Success in South African Higher Education. The topic on which all the DIAL5111 projects focus is for you to critically evaluate the following statement: • Currently, higher education is too difficult to pass in South Africa. The pass mark should be lowered to 30% for all higher education modules.

  23. How Essay Writing Services Can Help You Achieve Academic ...

    Moreover, 24/7 availability and no missed deadlines make essay services a stress-free solution to academic demands. These benefits help students focus on important aspects of life, creating a ...