The College Puzzle Blog
Prior PostingsAbout
Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

Tips For College Sucess and Completion

Essential Tools for College Success :Guest Blogger Holly McCarthy

Over the last several decades, college has become less of an option and more of a necessity in the eyes of high school students around the country. Even reluctant learners know the importance of getting a college education. However, as retention rates continue to be examined, it is clear that many entering freshmen are not up for the rigors of collegiate life. What follows is a brief list of essential tools for college success.

Study Skills

Studying isn’t just something that people do; it is a skill that is developed over time through a variety of avenues. Some study skills are taught in school, while others are tailored to the individual student’s needs through trial and error. The important thing for the student is that he or she has a method for studying materials that will ultimately help them to be successful.

Time Management Skills

The ability to manage time effectively is another thing that many college students haven’t been taught before setting foot on a college campus. Many times, students are accustomed to bells throughout the day to make sure they are on time for classes, as well as constant reminders by teachers about deadlines, homework, etc. For many college students, it is a rude awakening indeed when they are asked to rely on a syllabus (many don’t even know what a syllabus is) for pertinent information regarding a course.

Note-Taking Skills

Similar to study skills, the ability to effectively and efficiently take notes in class is a foreign notion to many entering freshmen. Students need to learn a variety of shorthand or come up with their own set of symbols and abbreviations in order to keep up with the pace of lectures. Knowing what is important to write down and what can be looked up after class is another distinction ill-prepared student are unable to make on their own.

Writing Skills

In the current collegiate environment, many classes are writing intensive; writing skills hold many students back at the college level. Often, entering freshmen operate under the assumption that writing is just for English or literature classes, but nothing could be further than the truth. Writing is used in most college classes because it proves that the students have a working knowledge of information and are able to use this knowledge to analyze and then express their thoughts in an original manner.

Networking Skills

Many modern students will consider this somewhat simple, given their widespread use of social media. However, the ability to talk with others, make contacts, and communicate effectively in-person are all necessary skills that can make or break a college career. While the ability to use technology for networking purposes is a good skill to have, it is not the preferred mode of communication for many professors on campus.

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of a college degree. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com

Copyright 2006 My College Puzzle