As a parent, you desire your child to thrive as a student. Success, in this context, translates to gaining admission to your preferred university for pursuing your desired field of study. With a new school year underway, you might assume that planning isn’t necessary. However, motivational experts hold a different viewpoint. Similar to running a business, setting goals and strategies is vital for effective studying. Nonetheless, conveying these concepts to your child can be challenging. While it would be ideal for them to grasp these ideas independently, it’s unlikely. Hence, parents can only hope that their children will adopt the best practices of accomplished peers.
1. Read a Diverse Range of Books
The American education system places significant emphasis on reading. Education itself involves imbibing the culture of past generations, and there’s no better way to achieve this than through reading. Developing a familiarity with reading from a young age is crucial. Even if your inclination leans toward visuals, music, sound, or numbers, continue to engage with language through reading or listening to content in those domains. While our generation relies heavily on visual media, the significance of reading remains unchanged. If your child isn’t drawn to physical books, digital reading is a viable option. Irrespective of when you begin, the ability to read should always be nurtured. It remains the foundation of all learning.
In addition to acquainting yourself with reading, diversifying your reading material is essential. Master the art of reading and comprehending various text types, encompassing children’s literature, novels, non-fiction like biographies depicting real-life events, informational texts such as encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines, persuasive essays including editorials and columns, as well as pivotal primary documents like speeches. Reading also naturally facilitates vocabulary acquisition. Make a habit of highlighting unfamiliar words, deducing their meanings from context, using a dictionary for precise definitions, and incorporating these words into your own sentences.
2. Hone Writing, Speaking, and Expressive Skills
Amassing knowledge proves futile if you’re unable to articulate it effectively. Practice articulating thoughts through writing and speaking. Train yourself to think and express ideas logically, adhere to proper grammar, and employ appropriate vocabulary. Esteemed high schools and universities often favor smaller class sizes, discussion-based teaching methods, and extensive written assessments. Excelling in such an educational environment necessitates proficient writing and speaking abilities. Early involvement in activities like book clubs, debates, and speech clubs can prove exceedingly beneficial. Effective communication isn’t solely crucial for liberal arts fields but also holds immense significance for medical school and technical domains.
3. Preemptive Study
Review is a common practice. Test preparation involves review. However, not everyone engages in proactive study. As you progress through grades, you’re provided with insights into upcoming topics. Exploit this advantage. It’s unnecessary to embark on exhaustive pre-study. In fact, excessive pre-study can prove counterproductive. Familiarize yourself with the main subjects to be covered and skim over pertinent individuals, events, or terms based on the subject. Equally important is the ability to pose pertinent questions about the lesson content. Even in non-discussion classes, posing insightful questions benefits both your learning and impresses your teacher.
4. Comprehend Assessor or Instructor Intent
Understand the scope, format, and intent of tests in advance, as well as the prerequisites and objectives of assignments. Different instructors may adopt distinct evaluation methods; hence, comprehending their question-setting and grading preferences is vital.
5. Engage with Teachers
When studying for a class or exam, if something is unclear, don’t hesitate to ask your teacher directly. Most teachers welcome appropriate queries in class and appreciate students who exhibit interest by initiating discussions outside class. While conversing with teachers might seem daunting, most educators value sincere questions and academic curiosity from students.
6. Develop Independent Study Skills
Seeking guidance through tutoring is common. Efficient studying might necessitate some form of tutoring. However, reliance solely on tutoring for learning is unwise. Younger students should grasp fundamental reading and writing skills and cultivate effective study habits to enable independent learning. For older students, supplementary instruction tailored to each subject is more advisable. Study methods vary, and finding what suits you is crucial.
For some, it entails organizing daily notes and completing homework post-school hours, while others might opt to initially focus on subjects they excel in, then tackle more challenging subjects. Some may even find studying with background music productive. Identify and refine your preferred style during grades 5 to 8 to ease the transition to high school.
7. Cultivate Passion
Developing expertise that distinguishes you during college preparation is increasingly crucial. Acquiring commendable grades across various subjects, participating in extracurricular activities, and volunteering are commendable; however, possessing a genuine interest in a specific subject, even if it isn’t directly related to your major, holds value.
8. Pursue Internships
To shape your life goals and aspirations, firsthand experience in your chosen field is invaluable. Internships, once reserved for college undergraduates and graduates, are now accessible to younger students. While initial internships might not offer extensive exposure, approach them as opportunities for learning. While most internships and part-time jobs are accessible from age 16 onwards, engaging in relevant volunteer work before that and gradually progressing is a prudent approach.
For instance, if journalism intrigues you, engage in fundraising for a local newspaper during 9th grade summer, work part-time during 10th grade, and undertake a junior reporter internship during 11th grade. Leveraging personal connections can facilitate securing internships, making it beneficial to involve adults like parents or teachers. Opting for a summer part-time job unrelated to your studies can indirectly enhance skills like communication, responsibility, and organizational understanding.
9. Harness Networking
When advocating the significance of leveraging personal connections, networking consistently surfaces. In the United States, networking involves fostering positive connections, exchanging information, and extending support. However, effective networking relies on adept connection-building skills. Young students often struggle to interact with adults beyond their parents. Developing social skills early is paramount. Instill the understanding that self-reliance is unrealistic and encourage seeking assistance when needed.
10. Prioritize Physical Fitness
In an increasingly competitive landscape, physical fitness can be the differentiator between success and defeat. Depending on your field of study, much of your undergraduate and graduate journey might involve physical challenges. Sustaining physical fitness from high school onwards while pursuing academics is advantageous. High school functions as a rehearsal for life post-college.
BY BYEONGHEE CHANG