SKILLS FOR SUCCESS
What are some of the skills for success that you must develop and practice?
The transition from high school, or even community college, to university represents a
significant challenge. It is important, therefore, that you begin early, preferably while
in high school, to develop the basic foundational skills you will need to be successful.
You may need and receive appropriate academic adjustments and accommodations in college,
but after these are provided it is your responsibility to do well. Consider developing,
mastering and utilizing the following skills and strategies before and early on in your
I need to:
goals that will prepare me for college.
Take college preparation
Improve my reading,
writing, and math skills (these are the basic tools to learn and demonstrate mastery in
all the disciplines).
Develop and improve
strategies to compensate for my disability.
Learn and practice
time management strategies.
Learn to study efficiently
Learn about my best
Develop computer skills
and word processing competencies.
Students with disabilities who have learned to rely heavily on both parents and teachers
to direct them and manage their lives may have difficulty adjusting to the demands of college
life. The students with disabilities who have been most successful are those who demonstrate
self-reliance and the skills to cope with the ever-changing challenges of daily living.
Some of the skills necessary to manage college life include the following.
I need to:
of my life and develop independence.
Understand my disability
and learn ways to compensate.
Learn to accept my
disability by recognizing my abilities.
Identify my strengths
Learn how to explain
my disability and needs to others.
Learn how to articulate
my abilities and talents clearly.
Learn how to ask for
Learn that it is OK
to use appropriate accommodations.
Learn that it is OK
to ask for help.
Ask for help for personal
or academic problems before it is too late to do so.
Develop mature social
and personal skills.
Recognize that success
or failure is up to me.
Discover and utilize
support services on campus and take available remedial courses to improve basic skills if
Accept the idea that
I may have to study harder than do my classmates.
Accept the reality
that it might take longer than others to graduate, few graduate in four years.
Recognize that higher
education is meant to be challenging and frustrations are to be expected.
Recognize that a college
education is an eminent example of deferred gratification; I will need to persevere in the
face of boredom and disinterest I may encounter with some courses or periods of my academic
Develop, with the
above in mind, more immediate rewards and reinforcements to keep me on track towards my
communication with family, friends, professors and the advisors on campus to assist me.
Foster curiosity and
an appreciation for learning.
COLLEGE SURVIVAL SKILLS
I need to:
myself with all the rules, policies and procedures that pertain to me as a student by reading
the University catalog, class schedules and relevant handbooks.
Plan on spending two
to three hours of preparation and studying for every hour in class.
Plan a reasonable
school, study, and work schedule Remember that, given the statement above, that a full-time
load is equivalent to a full-time job.
Balance my class load
with difficult/easier classes and major/general ed. classes.
Leave time before,
after or between classes when scheduling classes during registration. Schedule no more than
two classes back to back.
Make preparation for
how to address my semester with the help of my advisors and counselor.
Seek a mentor through
the Faculty/Staff and Student Mentor Program.
Go to all classes
on time, participate, and ask questions when needed.
Allow extra time for
Take advantage of
special support services and tutoring sessions available on campus.
Take advantage of
classes that offer instruction in basic skills and critical thinking skills such as those
offered by the Reading Program.
Keep a calendar for
all appointments and exam/assignments due dates.
it is the college student's worst enemy!
Meet with instructors
and DSS counselors before disaster strikes.
Visit the DSS office
for assistance, questions, and/or counseling at least once a semester.
Arrange, at the
beginning of the semester, for needed academic accommodations such as: books on tape,
tape recorders, test accommodations, adaptive listening devices, interpreters, notetakers,
Sit near the front
of the class to minimize distractions.
Complete all assignments
in a step-by-step fashion.
Form study groups
with classmates. (Teaching others helps one learn.)
Take notes and review
them often by reading them out loud and/or rewriting or typing them into a word processor.
Use a tape recorder
in lectures if appropriate.
Maintain good health
and deal with personal crises so that I do not jeopardize my academic standing.
Remember, the record
I hope to achieve is the record I am currently writing.
Balance my schedule
and life, allowing time to eat, sleep, exercise and have some fun.
COLLEGE SURVIVAL TIPS
(the unabridged version)
1. Get organized at the beginning of the semester. Keep your syllabus or procedure
sheet, handouts and notes for each class together in a folder or binder separate from those
of other classes. Keep track of your materials.
2. Mark dates of tests, due dates for papers, personal obligations, etc., on your calendar.
Do this at the beginning of each semester so you can easily anticipate time crunches.
3. Use a daily organizer to manage your time effectively. List all errands, classes,
family obligations, work-hours, etc. Anticipate how much time each will take. Schedule them
according to priority. Block off time for studying each day and try not to let other obligations
eat away at that time. It's not as easy to waste time if you have a visual reminder of what
you need to accomplish each day.
4. Take good notes in class. Listen to what your instructor says in class. Use a
tape recorder, if necessary, to help you fill in information you missed (ask your instructor's
permission, of course, if this is not one of your designated accommodations). At the end
of each day, reread your notes and add information you remember but weren't able to write
down in class. Organize your notes every day by writing topic headings in the margins, highlighting
important information, and writing a short summary. (Yes, it's a lot of work. You'll be
glad when test times come around, though; each of these exercises helps you remember, prioritize,
and classify information.)
5. Keep up with your reading. Buy your textbooks before classes start, look them
over and begin reading to get a head start. Read each assignment carefully and take notes
(Use a highlighter right in the book if you don't plan to sell the book later, or, better
yet, use an active reading strategy such as SQ4R.). The table of contents will not only
show you where information is located within the book, but show you how it's organized,
giving clues as to what information is most important and how one piece of information relates
to the rest. Read abstracts, summaries and/or study questions for each chapter, if provided,
before you start reading the main body.
6. Attend all of your classes. The temptations will be great to miss class when
other obligations demand your time or you're feeling tired. But missing class means that
you're missing important information that can help you succeed in the class. Sometimes missing
class is unavoidable, but try not to let it become a habit. Keep school a priority! It is
always your responsibility to arrange to get notes from classmates or to make up tests or
in-class work in any classes you miss. Your instructor may want to be informed ahead of
time if you must miss class and may have special instructions regarding makeup work.
7. Begin work on large projects or papers early. Breaking up big projects into a
series of smaller tasks can make the assignment seem far less overwhelming. For a research
paper, for example, find a topic and research it early in the semester. Then take notes
from your research sources and write an outline for your paper. Now you can begin work on
a first draft. Beginning these tasks early will leave you time to research more information
if you need to, and to revise and refine your work in later drafts at the end. Your grade
will reflect your extra effort!
8. Devote enough time to studying. For each hour you spend in a class, you should
be spending 2-3 hours studying outside of class. Some classes will be easier or harder for
you than others and will require less or more study time. Ask your instructor for an estimate
of study time for success in his or her class.
9. Take frequent study breaks. Experts say that you study more efficiently and more
information is retained if you take a ten- or fifteen-minute break between hours of study.
10. Study every day. Disciplining yourself feels good! (Learning to discipline yourself
will help you succeed in other areas of your life as well as in school.) And studying every
day will help you remember information so you won't have to cram for tests. Study skills
experts agree that cramming leads to burnout and poor grades.
11. Find your time to study. Some people concentrate better in the morning, others
in the afternoon and some very late at night. Find your optimum study time and allot that
time for study every day, if possible. Leave errands and less important tasks for times
when you are naturally less sharp.
12. Learn your most effective learning style by experimenting and then use it. Some
people are more visual than auditory, more hands-on than cerebral, more solitary than group
oriented or vice a versa. Some prefer absolute silence (invest in some earplugs) whereas
some need music or some other background noise. Some prefer to learn the theoretical or
abstract nature of things while others prefer the more factual or concrete nature of things.
Some prefer orderly structure to their learning; others are more comfortable in a creative
chaos. Your choice of major, courses and instructors needs, in part, to be based on these
preferences. Maximize the use of your strengths while skill building to improve your weaknesses.
13. Learn to take good care of yourself. You are embarking on what amounts to a
rigorous full-time job with minimal supervision of your performance or personal well-being.
In addition to the basic tools of reading, writing and mathematical skill; your mind and
body are essential to your successful performance. Balance into your busy schedule time
for sleep, a good diet, some exercise, and relaxation and fun. This will be easier if you
develop a routine for when and how much you need to sleep; when, where and what to eat;
and when, where and what you do for exercise and fun. If your health starts to be compromised
go to the Student Health Center. If you start to encounter personal problems or begin to
feel anxious or depressed seek some assistance from the counseling available on campus.