College Ready

Sharing strategies for student success, college readiness and academic coaching


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Light Some Fires: The Top 4 Strategies for Student Success!

As a college instructor for over fifteen years, I’ve learned the importance of starting off the semester with a framework for student success. Although you may find it hard to schedule it in, taking time for this type of discussion in the early weeks is so valuable and will lead to better student outcomes, more engagement, and higher student retention.

These are the “Top 4” strategies for student success we’ve been discussing in the classroom:

1. Growth Mindset: Intelligence is not “fixed.” You are not programmed at a certain level of “smart” and that’s that. Your brain is like a muscle, and with more use, and practice, you can grow your dendrites. (See also neuroplasticity.) You can improve in a subject area. For example, it isn’t that you “just aren’t good at writing, never have been,” but that you have not yet learned the right combination of skills and techniques for that assignment. Once you have these skills, (in writing or another subject) you will see steady improvement.

2. Personal Survey: Find out how you feel about learning. (See #1 above regarding how self-limited beliefs can shape outcome.) What were your previous experiences like with this subject matter in school, higher education, or in the K-12 school system? Think about your prior knowledge and experience (schema) on the subject. Find a connection, with your courses, & the college. If you’re not already excited for the semester, find some way (student clubs, sports, etc.) to get excited. The brain on positive is 31% more productive than on negative, stressed, or even neutral!

3. Goal Setting: establish “SMART” goals. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. For best results, write or type out your goals and address each of the SMART areas. When you think about and set goals early in the semester, it leads to you taking the small steps to achieve those goals. For example, it’s fantastic to say, “Well my goal is an A in this class.” You have a positive attitude and are setting high expectations for yourself. But, what specific action steps will you take that will lead you to obtaining that grade? How many hours a week will you study? On what days? Where?

4. “The Basics.” Read the syllabus. Go to (every) class. Visit your instructor early and often when you have questions. We welcome, expect, and want you to come to office hours! We don’t bite! I promise! And we’re even kinda funny, in an endearingly nerdy sorta way! Again, I promise! ūüôā

If you are a student, let us know in the comments which of these strategies you find most helpful, or most difficult, to put into action. If you’re an instructor, let us know if you spend time during the early weeks of the semester working on these metacognitive strategies, and/or which others you might add to the list.

For more on all of these topics, (including the research that backs it up),¬†check out our blog archives, or leave a comment with any questions. We like–no–LOVE questions here at College Ready Coach! Now go out there and light some fires!

Happy Learning~~Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher!)


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Questions are King of the Classroom

Questions are the sign of a healthy classroom. Encourage students to ask all sorts of questions, especially open-ended questions that require process, experimentation, and research. Let them see that the instructor doesn’t “own” all the knowledge or have all the answers. You will be creating a classroom culture of inquiry & critical thinking.


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How to Soar to Success: Advice for First Year College Students.

Step One: Visualize Success.

The starting point for a successful semester is to take a look at your mindset and your beliefs about your abilities. Make sure that you are surrounding yourself with positive messages that you can and will get to the finish line (aka the end of the semester).

Photo: The starting point for a successful semester is to take a look at your mindset and your beliefs about your abilities. Make sure that you are surrounding yourself with positive messages that you can and will get to the finish line (aka the end of the semester). The first week of college is challenging, but with the right state of mind you can tackle any challenge. Visualize success. That's what top athletes do, from Michael Jordan to Michael Phelps, and it works!

The first week of college is challenging, but with the right state of mind you can tackle any challenge. Visualize success. That’s what top athletes do, from Michael Jordan to Michael Phelps, and it works!

Remember to reach out to me if you have any questions on how to make this a successful semester. Consider me your virtual college coach. I love teaching and I love helping students reach their goals!

xo, Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher.)


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Goodbye Summer. Hello Students.

I love you both. And I love teaching!

It’s a brand new school year. Get ready for:

A Fresh Start.
A new semester.

New Beginnings.
New Challenges.

And all the optimism, opportunity and rewards that come along with it. 

It’s my first day! Wish me luck! When do you go back to school? Are you excited? Ready? What do you like best about the first day? For me…it’s that sense of starting a brand new adventure. New students. New faces, New dreams. Being in a room filled with dreamers is a wonderful feeling.

Have a great start to a great year.

xo, Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher)


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The Top 10 Secrets of College Success

This article from US News & World Report “Top 10 Secrets of College Success”¬†outlines the way college students can soar to the top of the class. Don’t let nerves get the best of you. Set out to succeed, make a plan and stick to it. The 10 tips in the article are a good starting point.¬†

Top 10 Study Tips:  Know your tasks: organize your study material and schedule so you know exactly what chapters or lectures you need to review. ...

collegereadycoach.com

Be There.

As a college prof who has been in the classroom for 17 years, I have to agree with the list. I am especially fond of #3: “Get to class!” and #8: “Get to know your prof!” I would say that in my many years of experience, with countless numbers of students, the ones that consistently do the best are there. In the seat. At every. Single. Class. Yes. We did something important today at that class you missed.¬†

Check In.

And they come to office hours. When they can’t make office hours, they send me an email to set-up an appointment. Don’t be afraid to reach out like that. We really (REALLY!) want you to come talk with us at anytime, not only when you are having difficulties, but for mentoring, advice about classes, and just to connect. And I promise, it is so NOT like getting sent to the principal’s office. We are kinda cool peeps in a “tweed jacket with elbow patches kind of way.” (Just kidding. I don’t own a tweed jacket.) Again, students who do connect with their instructors tend to do better overall, according to the research.

Get Involved.

I’m going to put in a quick plug for one that isn’t on the list. #11, if you will. Make sure to get involved in campus life. There are literally hundreds of clubs, organizations, sports team (and not just varsity athletics, intramural, too!), and a variety of other groups to check out. Find what fits for you. It’s a great way to meet other students, make some new friends, and to really invest in college life.

College planning timeline: Grades 8-12  More tips for college readiness and student success at collegereadycoach.com

Students that feel connected, with their peers, their professors, and their college, actually graduate at much higher rates of completion! So not only are you having fun & getting better grades, you are making progress toward your long-term academic goals.

Good luck to all of you as you start the new semester. If I can be of any help to you, please reach out. The comments are open. You can also follow us on facebook to get quick updates, articles and advice for college success. You know what to do…just click that blue button at the top of this page that says “Like.” Consider me your virtual college coach…here to help you make it to the finish line.

Go Team!!

~~Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher)


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Super Soul Sunday: Advice on living a happy life.

Good advice for a successful day & a happy life. Especially for us English professor/writer-types and creative people of all kinds. We need poetry, and song, and art, and connection, in all its forms. It’s good for the soul. It’s even better for fostering creativity.

I try to incorporate a little of each every day. How about you?

goethe read a little

Make sure to take that little bit of time out to do some part of Goethe’s recipe for living a happy life.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

xo, Lisa (aka–The Happy Teacher)

 


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It’s Our Anniversary!! One Year Old Today!

Happy Blogaversary!¬†¬†It’s been exactly one year since I started College Ready Coach.¬†What a year it has been! I’ve learned so much, and met so many great bloggers, writers, students and educators along the way! The one common denominator we all share: a passion for learning.

Gift in celebration

I could not have anticipated what the year would hold, but decided to take that leap, jump in and get started. It’s meant a lot of writing, amazing opportunities, more writing, and new adventures, as the message of¬†College Ready¬†has been shared & spread around the globe. Now, 12 months later, with over 6700 visitors from 93 countries, I am grateful, humbled, and excited to embrace the next step!

Thank you so much for making this blog a place for students, parents, and educators to have a conversation, share ideas, and support one another. We need opportunity, access, and mentors to make sure every student has a chance to be college ready. For more on helping first-generation college students succeed, check out this article.

Making smart college choices means not being buried in debt when you graduate. Here's why students are rejecting America's top college: ROI

I truly believe that “Education is the movement from darkness to light,” (Allan Bloom). Reach out to me if you have any questions, or need help shedding some light on the process of getting from high school to college.

I am happy to feature guest bloggers, especially international students , college freshmen, and parents of college students. Feel free to message me if you have ideas or suggestions.

Happy #Teachers: Changing the World in Three Easy Steps: education, confidence, hope equals #peace  visiting collegereadycoach for more teaching inspiration

For more on why I started the blog, and the importance of being a mentor in a student’s life, you can read this post: 1 Easy Way to be a Hero.

To find out more about CollegeReadyCoach, check out our About page.

Many thanks~~~Lisa

aka, The Happy Teacher


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Yes, It Pays to Go to College. Here’s Why.

Does it pay to go to college? Yes!

We hear that question a lot in the news. And the simple answer is, yes…it does. These statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reflect the difference in weekly salary and in the unemployment rate¬†between a worker with a high school diploma and a college degree.¬†

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So, the answer is yes, but proceed with awareness. See my earlier post regarding the ROI–Return on Investment-of a college degree. The territory needs to be navigated with not only enthusiasm for a certain school or university, but with awareness and information. This awareness should include a strategy to get to the finish line with a diploma in hand and without the burden of too much debt. To do this, make sure to carefully consider which college you attend, for how long, and what if any student loan debt you will have upon graduation. Visit your on-campus advisors and counselors early and often and make sure to have the information you need to be¬†informed.

Millennials are the workplace of the future. Those with degrees will not only be more employable after graduation, they will make higher salaries and be in demand.


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Beyond the 3Rs: Skills all Students Will Need to Thrive in the Global Market

Move over Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmatic.” ¬†According to “The Learning Curve,” here are the 8 “Must-Have” skills students will need in the future to stay competitive:

Leadership. Digital Literacy. Communication. Emotional Intelligence. Entrepreneurship. Global Citizenship. Problem Solving. Team Working.

Notice the strong reliance on the social-emotional aspects of interpersonal communication, along with the need to lead and be able to work in a collaborative environment. Students often balk at group work, but this is what all future employers see as essential.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 5.13.29 PM

These “21st century non-cognitive skills” are essential in a global market, and are defined as the “abilities important for social interaction.”

I found this post via¬†Edudemic. You can read their entire post here. The information and graphic came from the original report called “The Learning Curve,” produced by Pearson. You can read it¬†here.


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Six Tips to Keep Kids Reading this Summer and 5 Apps to Help Make it Fun & Rewarding

Make sure your students continue to read this summer. Reading leads to greater success in both college and career, and greater engagement in community events and civic issues that are important to us all. Reading truly is the road to success.

Here are 6 tips and 5 apps to make it easier to hop on the road to summer reading:

Why reading matters.