In this episode, Karen Southall Watts talks about the habits of “A” students, including
- Study skills
- Organizational skills
- Time management
Watts and a colleague developed a workshop called, the Habits of A Students. “We found that many students come to college without all the skills and strategies that they really need to succeed in adult education,” said Watts.
A strong high school student is not necessarily going to be a strong college student. The transition to the adult education world is very different from the high school world. Students have to make the switch from being a student to an adult learner, who has to be much more accountable to their education.
Parents should have conversations with their student about what is required at college. Ask these questions:
- What’s your strategy for doing this?
- How do you plan to finish this project?
- What do you think will happen after you finish this section of your work?
Listen to how they verbalize their strategies. Or are they unable to verbalize their strategies? If so, they should take part in the Habits of A Students workshop.
College students also need to have strong inter-personal skills, which include:
- Being polite
- Being on time
- Being able to engage in a conversation with someone whose opinions differ
Preparing High Schoolers for the Transition to College
Again, Watts stresses the importance of working on the inter-personal and accountability side of the transition. “A students are adaptable and collaborative,” said Watts.
- Ask your student for their opinions
- Engage them in conversations about the transition
- Address time management
Technology in Classrooms
With so much technology available today, some colleges have implemented rules about cell phones, tablets, and other devices. “Colleges have a real difficultly laying down the law around technology…because we are dealing with adults,” said Watts.
The Habits of A Students workshop raises awareness about what it means to access technology during class. Using technology in the classroom can mean students are not paying attention and disrespecting the instructor. “We’re looking down the road towards the workplace,” said Watts.
You don’t want your boss and co-workers to feel like you are not paying attention or that you are being disrespectful! “When you go into the workplace, you can really give people your total undivided attention and that’s going to make you stand out,” said Watts.
When students go to college, they do not have someone watching over them to make sure they do their homework. So sometimes they fall behind and do not hold themselves accountable. “That is one of the ways that parents can begin prepping their students to go to college is to provide them with a few opportunities without giving them the structure,” Watts said.
Provide low-stress opportunities to practice the skills of time and task management as well as self-direction. Then when they get to college, it is less of a shock.
If you get a phone call that your student is struggling, “Resist the urge to be a helicopter parent and go in and try to fix it all,” said Watts. Helicopter parents are those who hover over their children long into adulthood. But students won’t learn anything if the parents do everything for them. The students need to fix things themselves. There are support services on campuses for students to utilize in such cases. Services may include:
- Counseling for stress and relationship problems
- Accessibility (learning and physical disabilities)
- Coaching/peer mentoring programs
“There’s typically a whole list of things that are available to students,” said Watts.
Students who take on the responsibility to handle their own issues learn:
- How to solve problems
- How to communicate with instructors
- What strategies work and don’t work
Ideally, these skills should be taught way before college!
It can be challenging when parents have good students who develop bad habits. For example, they procrastinate and do homework right before class.
Ask these questions:
- Are there some advanced courses that may be more challenging?
- Are there other things the student can be doing such as clubs to stretch their abilities?
Parents should share their stories about mistakes they made regarding college and education. Then students can then identify with their parents. Also, take students to environments where they will experience the college environment such as campus art shows and other events.
Do parents and students focus too much on grades? Don’t make yourself sick over grades. Most employers do not care about a student’s grades because students do so much more – like internships.
“Employers hire people. They do not hire transcripts,” said Watts. Employers tend to look for the following:
- Communication skills
- Ability to collaborate
- As a family, read parts or all of The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.
- Written Plan: Develop a plan for what your student wants to do as far as their education.
- Evaluate: Discuss how things went thus far.
Check Out Her Book
Watts is the author of a new book titled, Messenger: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Communication. It is a basic communication skills book designed for small business owners.
LINKS AND RESOURCES
- Starting College Presentation
- Returning to College as a Non-Traditional Student
- Deciding to Return to School as an Adult
- Group Projects
- Taking Online Courses
- Open Colleges Resume Project
- Career College Magazine (Bridging the Success Gap)
- Messenger: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Communication
- Karen Southall Watts
- Ask Karen – Twitter
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Brad is not affiliated with Karen Southall Watts.