Eleven Habits of Highly Successful College Students
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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This book is a project many years in the making, only becoming reality with the help of many supporters. I am grateful for the encouragement, frank feedback, and support of Ashleigh McKown at the Johns Hopkins University Press. She saw real promise in the project, but that promise could not have been realized without her honesty. I also ap-...
Introduction: Facing Freshman Year
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Congratulations! You did it. You got into college! Maybe you’re going to Princeton, Michigan, Duke, Berkeley, Stanford, or another of the best research universities in the world. Or perhaps you’re bound for a great liberal arts college like Swarthmore, Davidson, Pomona, or Kenyon. Maybe it’s a private college in New England or the flagship campus of your state university system. That ...
Habit #1. Focus on Learning, Not on Grades
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To begin a college life filled with success, you can start by imagining the last day you will be in college. Looking backwards from the future always puts any experience in perspective. That day will be a university commencement—a profound event, the zenith of academic tradition and spectacle. Even the most reserved of ...
Habit #2. Build an Adult Relationship with Your Parents
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In one remarkable—but not unusual—week, I had visits to Johns Hopkins University from two sets of parents. One father flew to Baltimore from Singapore to argue, on his daughter’s behalf, over an academic policy. What distinguished this visit was not the distance traveled, but that the policy was so simple and unshakeable. His ...
Habit #3. Work the System by Understanding the System
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Founded in 1876 by the donation of a wealthy Baltimore businessman and train magnate (whose first name truly was Johns—not John), Johns Hopkins University is now well into its second century of guiding research, taking care of patients, and educating students. The architecture on Hopkins’ Homewood campus in North ...
Habit #4. Approach the Curriculum Like a Great Feast
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One of the best features of some Jewish weddings is something called the Viennese table. This is a long table or a series of tables with the most extraordinary array of desserts. All kinds of delights await—cakes, pies, pastries, chocolate mousse—everything you could imagine. When a friend of mine got married years ago in ...
Habit #5. Understand That Majors and Careers Are Not the Same Thing
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When you go to college, you expect to learn something, of course. But most students are not really sure what that means. Learn what? And why? For Habit #4, I talked about seeing your choices as a great feast. But you may want to ask why you are eating at all. Really ...
Habit #6. Don’t Just Work Hard—Work Smart
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Let’s start with a fictional story about a student I’ll call Rajiv. When Rajiv was a freshman at Harvard, he took a course on microeconomics. He really had no idea why he took this course, though it did seem vaguely practical, and it certainly was sophisticated and mature to talk about economics, a famous discipline about which ...
Habit #7. Build Integrity to Get into Professional or Graduate School
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Most successful students, perhaps not surprisingly, like going to school. They have a hard time stopping, in fact. They recognize their own academic talents, believe they understand the reward system (even if that means obsessing over grades), and hunger for more. They are not fools, either. Looking at the job market ...
Habit #8. Learn from Diversity at Home and Abroad
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There’s no doubt about it: college will change the way you view the world. As a freshman, newly graduated from high school, you are likely to arrive on campus a bit perplexed, a bit worried, and probably very naïve about the world and its people. Yet we know that the world of the 21st century is more complex, diverse, and ...
Habit #9. When You Are Failing, Understand Why
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Matthew was a first-year student at Johns Hopkins University. His record from high school looked a lot like the records of his Hopkins classmates. He took difficult courses, and he aced them. He volunteered in his community, and he won awards for it. He was captain of the varsity tennis and soccer teams. His scores ...
Habit #10. Cope with Failure by Rebuilding and Forgiving
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Recovering from our failures is the greatest challenge we face at any time of life. Ironically, the failures themselves feed a feeling that they cannot be overcome. But successfully recovering from our mistakes and weaknesses can be enormously rewarding and satisfying, like a cool drink after a hot day without water. Figuring out ...
Habit #11. Plan Boldly for Life after College
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Images of life after college color the most critical choices students face: where to go to school, what major to choose, what coursework is needed, and others. Fears and dreams of the world beyond fall like a shadow over an academic culture that would prefer the full attention of every young person within its walls. But that is impossible ...
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List of Contributors
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Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2011