Why graduating on time is important

College is a really big deal, not just because a person with a college degree earns twice as much in life as someone without. For many students, college is their last educational chance to show they are intelligent, knowledgeable, resourceful people, clever problem solvers, and great communicators.

What is the question that potential employers always ask? “How smart are you?” Maybe not in those exact words, but it’s the fundamental question employers are concerned with. Employers want mature, hard-working people who “achieve”.

After graduating on time with good grades, the candidate can honestly say at the interview: “Yes, I am smart and I work hard. Just look at my testimonial and see what I can do. I can get the job done.”

Completing on time signals that the candidate is organized, focused, accountable, and meeting deadlines. Applicants presenting five or six year college transcripts showing dropped courses, inconsistent grades, and transfers from one college or program to another seem to “wander around” with no purpose and no purpose.

University is different

Most students think college is a high school just a long way from home. It is not. Therefore, in order to succeed in college, students must make some serious adjustments. First, most learning occurs independently outside of class, that requires skills like time management. College is also a full-time job, so students have to study better, harder, and for much longer. Finally, they must focus on graduating on time. It’s up to you.

completion rates

Most college students do NOT graduate on time. Only about a third complete a 4-year degree in four years. In fact, after six years, nearly 40% of college students still haven’t completed a four-year degree. Parents and students don’t expect college to last that long, especially those with excellent high school grades.

The cost of a late degree

Imagining paying 25% more for an extra year or 50% more for two years is financially scary for parents. Just calculate. All this wasted time and money, and there’s your child graduating from college and trying to start the next phase of life later than you thought – and with more debt.

Why do so many students not graduate on time? Let me tell you what I’ve generally observed: They lack the various personal management skills that allow them to manage themselves, their time, and their coursework.

Practice self-management skills at home

So how do you get your teenager from “here” (where you are now) to “there” (graduating on time)?

From the time your child is a teenager, you need to revisit these family themes: 1) learning is important to keep up with 21st century changes; 2) real learning takes work and time, not just completing worksheets; 3) college is a big expense for the family; 4) You expect your child to graduate from college on time.

Once you introduce these issues, make them a part of family life and take steps to support them. In other words, you have to keep going at home. Set specific goals for your young student: for example, to study every subject every day (that means putting in the time, not just “doing” assignments and homework), and succeeding in every class, even if it’s hard. You are trying to cultivate a self-sufficient, responsible student-

* who understands that he/she cannot learn without spending time learning

* whose learning techniques are productive and active

* whose study techniques mature each year to tackle courses that increase in complexity and difficulty

* who knows how to organize days, weeks and himself

* Who can manage time and reserve the time needed to “really” study

* who takes the initiative to start tasks early (not last minute)

* …and who is proud of his work – does not do the least he can to “make ends meet”

The role of parents

While these skills (let’s call them “competencies”) only scratch the surface, they’re a start. They are based on two of the twelve strategies I’ve identified in interviews with thousands of students. These are some of the skills students in academic difficulties lack.

The list includes the kinds of self-management skills needed to succeed in college, where first-time students must know how to self-manage, keep up with their classes, plan ahead, and structure their day on their own.

Therefore, middle and high school students must practice, develop, and hone such skills before entering college. Use these years to practice and prepare for the responsibilities that await you in college. Children can’t do it alone. Parents need to help them learn to take care of themselves and set and achieve their own goals.

Start early to encourage well-developed strategies for independent learning. (Some students’ strategies have not matured since 6th grade.) As students progress, they gain confidence that they can work through challenging material. The result? They are among the one in three to graduate college successfully, graduating on time, giving them a strong first step into their future.

2012 The Hole in Your Head, Inc.

Thanks to Robert R. Neuman, Ph.D. | #graduating #time #important

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