Five Ideas for Cultivating Success After College

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We’ve all read about the current notoriety of the college admission process that drives parents and some students to tilt its playing field in their favor. Challenge Success, an advocacy group at Stanford, cited that a “school’s selectivity is not a reliable predictor of outcomes.” We ask, what is it that drives successful outcomes for college students?

In my work on leadership in college athletics, we often talk about one’s “range of engagement.” Think about it; those who are engaged really “want” to do something versus those who “have or need” to do because of a requirement. Safe to say then, that engagement is when we really want to get involved, perhaps join a singing group, do research, or take a new class on a new subject. That interest and curious mindset is a breeding ground for success. And for student-athletes this mindset of engagement applies on and off the field.

An institution’s appeal to a young person is based upon their personal assessments; “Can I see myself here?  Can I thrive in this community?” Learning is not linear. It’s a cumulative and integrated process. The more we explore, the more we develop insights and ideas. We often say being on an athletic team is a learning experience, the same way taking a course on urban development during the 40’s or traveling abroad for a semester.

Think of college as a farm and you select what you plant. These are the things you want to grow.

Consider these five thoughts that you, your student-athletes or others could employ to increase learning and engagement to cultivate your success and learning for life:

·       Become more curious by asking questions.

·       Have an explorer mindset.

·       Get out of your comfort zone.

·       Keep a journal of experiences about things you wanted to do and did it.

·       Be patient, thoughtful and non-judgmental.