The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Students

A number of you have emailed us to indicate how much you enjoyed our teaching tip that adapts Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to faculty members. One suggested we develop a version that might help students better manager their learning. Here it is!

Habit 1: Be Proactive

  • Assess your Learning Style (PEPS) and inform your professors of results
  • Visit each of your professors in his/her office before experiencing any problem
  • Sit in the first three rows of every classroom in which courses are held
  • Take the initiative to introduce yourself to two other good students in each class .

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

  • Identify for each class what you expect to learn by the end of the semester
  • Ask each professor to see (in her office) a copy of an old final course exam
  • As you start each class session, identify your learning objectives

Habit 3: Put First Things First

  • Arrive two minutes early for every class
  • Read textbook chapters the day before they are addressed in class
  • Start studying for exams a week in advance

Habit 4: Think Win/Win

  • Make your professors look good in front of the class
  • Take prudent measures to accommodate your Learning Style in each class
  • Form study groups with other students to prepare for assignments and exams
  • Share your successful strategies with other students, ask for theirs in return

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

  • Ask each of your professors a little about their background
  • Identify what you have in common with your professors, rather than differences
  • Thank your professor when they do something that is really cool
  • Ask professors for informal feedback throughout each course

Habit 6: Synergize

  • Identify resources that can help you be successful in your classes, e.g. CPI lab
  • Talk with students taking your course from other professors - share approaches
  • Encourage others to join your out-of-class study groups

Habit 7: Sharpen your Saw

  • Establish a mentoring relationship with a professor
  • Complete a study skills workshop
  • Teach what you have learned to someone else

Shop on line at or Barnes & Noble to get your copy of Dr. Lyons' book, The Adjunct Professor's Guide to Success: Surviving and Thriving in the College Classroom.

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