How to Make College Students More Courageous

As educators, we know one of the best traits that can aid in success is confidence. Self-doubt can kill dreams and a lack of belief in oneself can deter anyone from achieving a goal and becoming successful. However, confidence is often something that we have or need at any given time. We need confidence, even for the smaller day to day routine things that we do. On the other hand, sometimes, we need courage to get through a situation. Courage is pushing through when things are tough or create fear. For example, it might take confidence to ace the final exam, but it takes courage to stick out a degree program when it puts finances in jeopardy, reduces work-life balance, and all your support systems are against you going for this goal.

As educators, we will see many students each year that need to build up their courage. They need our help and guidance on how to be courageous in a time of fearfulness or anxieties. Students face many life events along their four plus years with us, and to help them achieve their goal of earning a degree, we must also provide mentorship on how to be courageous.

Here are 3 ways you can guide students into being more courageous:

  1. Reduce Fears and Anxieties

If you want your students to be more courageous, remember that as a professor, your role is to teach, guide, model and inspire, not to show students how tough “the real world is.” Learning new content and balancing education with life is already hard enough, no need to instill fear on top of this. As an added bonus, as you minimize fears and anxieties, and students push through, they build confidence.

To minimize fears and anxieties in your students, there are several things you can do, here are some tips:

  • Set course expectations up front.
  • Link students to helpful resources.
  • Give them tips on what to do if they encounter technology problems.
  • Provide your contact information and answer emails/calls in less than 24 hours.
  • Give a little leeway in the event a student had a major life event occur during a specific week.
  • Humanize yourself. You can do this by sharing a little about who you are personally, doing videos in the courseroom, using humor, building rapport.
  • Don’t give negative feedback in the open forum. Use personal email or gradebook feedback.
  • Give feedback on assignments and discussion questions. This helps the student to know what they have done well with and where they can improve. No feedback leaves students in the dark as to what they can improve on and how.
  1. Encourage Students to Focus on What They Can Control

In a classroom setting, you are the authority. Students may feel intimidated at times or feel that they have limited power. Perhaps they don’t like the content, don’t understand it, or are having personal troubles while also trying to manage their education. As a professor, if you want to increase your student’s courage, help students to focus on what is in their control. This will help students persevere in the face of adversity or trials because they will realize they are not completely powerless.

Here are some tips you can share with students to help empower them to take control over their education:

  • Give students tips on avoiding procrastination
  • Share resources on balancing life and work
  • Give students tools on how to achieve better time management
  • Help students become intentional about their leaning. You can provide them with assessments that can help them better understand how they learn. (Check out the Learning Connections Inventory (LCI) through Let Me learn).
  • Share school/university resources.
  • Educate students on the importance of, and how to, build support systems and strong networks.
  • Teach students how to create SMART goals.
  • Encourage students to take an honest look at the people and activities in their lives. Then have them personally assess what/who might be best to cut versus keep in order to achieve those SMART goals.
  1. Teach Communication Skills

It takes courage to do something when you are scared or to press on in the event of pain and sadness. It is important to let students know that they are valuable and can use their voice to make a difference. By teaching students how to speak up, you empower them to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others- and that often takes a lot of courage. In today’s society, the next generation in line must be heard. They are facing extreme levels of violence and rage, but the power of speech can change that and create a positive movement. As a professor, you can also educate your students on how to speak up on less socially involved issues, but still critical aspects of a student’s life; for example, how to speak up for an advancement or say no to outside tasks that don’t fit their goals.

Here are some ways you can help students improve their communication:

  • Educate students on the importance of various communication styles (formal, informal, verbal, non verbal).
  • Provide tips on how to use social media- alongside pros and cons.
  • Provide guidance on how to listen and the value of patience.
  • Educate students on how certain words can be perceived as having self-doubt. (For example, watching how often a student leads with “I think” or “I feel” in negotiating or business).
  • Model being respectful and discuss the importance of having an open mind.
  • Provide feedback on how to be clear and concise, yet substantially answer a question.
  • Share resources, such as books, articles and videos on how to communicate with confidence.

By boosting students’ levels of courage, we are helping them to persevere through the trials and tribulations that life throw at them while they are taking a leap of faith into bettering their lives. As we boost courage, we also instill confidence. Courage and confidence are two key ingredients into helping our students reach their goals, obtain dreams and earn their degree. It is in these amazing students and their achievements that we are fortunate enough as professors to leave a bit of our legacy, behind.

For College Admission Success, Mind Your Manners

You may be wondering how college admissions and manners could possibly be related. The connection is surprisingly clear. As you go through the college planning process, you’ll deal with adults who have some influence on your future. How you handle these encounters can make all the difference.

Frequently, the college admissions process seems quite impersonal, but there are many interactions with college representatives, admissions officers, alumni and high school teachers. This is where manners and appropriate behavior play a role.

Read on to find out the five areas of college admissions where manners do matter:

Teacher recommendations

Students usually ask high school teachers for college recommendations. Obviously, if teachers are asked to write a recommendation in the spring of your junior year, they have plenty of time to get this done during the summer. If, on the other hand, you wait until the recommendation is almost due, many teachers resent the rush and pressure to get the job done quickly. Teachers are busy people, and they’re doing you a favor. It’s important to thank them for taking the time to write you a letter. Don’t forget about your counselor, too.

Social media

Students don’t always use the best judgment on their Facebook pages or other networking sites. Before you apply to college, clean up anything that could jeopardize your opportunities for college acceptance. Colleges DO care what you post and show online. If it’s inappropriate, there’s a good possibility it will be noted on your college application. A surprising number of college admissions officers reported social media sites have had a negative impact on a student’s possibilities for college admission. Don’t take that chance. It’s poor manners to say things online that you might regret later.

Email and cellphones

It’s wise for students to have a separate email address for all college correspondence. Your current address might be cute but doesn’t convey the image you want to project to colleges. It’s also smart to review your cellphone message. College representatives will often contact students on their cellphones to set up interviews. Most college reps would like to know that they’ve reached the student for which the call was intended. If the college representative hears blaring music, he or she may not know whether to leave a message. You might miss an important opportunity to connect with someone from a school that interests you. Also, know how to answer a phone. When asked, “Is this Rob?” say, “Yes, this is he,” not “Yeah, this is him.” First impressions count.

College interviews

If you have a chance to interview with someone from a college or university, by all means do it. Dress appropriately, and be prepared with a few questions you would like to ask about the school. Arrive at the interview at least 10 minutes early. College officers are busy and can’t wait if you’re late. It’s important to meet your interviewer with a firm handshake. You should also maintain good eye contact throughout the interview. When you return home, it’s polite to send a thank-you note, not an email. Ask your interviewer for a business card so you know where to send the note. Show interest in the school and listen to what the interviewer has to say.

College visits

College admissions committees like to accept students who show an interest in their school. One of the best ways to do this is through a college visit. Call in advance to set up a tour, information session and possible interview. Avoid using your cellphone or texting while you are visiting a college campus. Pay attention to the guide, and don’t talk with other people during the tour. Colleges realize that you’re a teenager and don’t expect you to act like an adult all the time. However, they do want to know that you can demonstrate appropriate behavior and know how to conduct yourself, so keep in mind that manners are important for college admissions.

College Tuition Costs are Spiralling

So, our children want to fly away from the nest and further their academic life in college. But with escalating costs, can we afford it? Will they have to take part time jobs to stay afloat or can we supplement their financial needs with college loans?

These are just some of the questions that concerned parents and aspiring students are asking themselves nowadays. It’s hardly surprising when you look at the facts – a 51% increase in fee and tuition costs for public four year colleges and a 36% rise for private four year colleges in the last decade alone. This, coupled with the disproportionate income increases for families likely to have college age children, means that more and more often parents or students themselves are turning to direct loans or private college loans for help.

Why do parents and students need extra help?

Every parent and family is made aware what their Expected Financial Contribution (EFC) will be to their child’s further education when they apply for a place. This is calculated minus any government grants and federal supported college loans the student will be granted. Every family has numerous financial commitments and additional support for your child throughout college could be all too much to bear if you don’t have enough savings or disposable income. But all is not lost! There are other sources of financial support available.

How can the shortfall be covered?

Additional financial support comes in all shapes and sizes. They normally take the forms of unsubsidized federal student loans, state sponsored loans and private sector college loans. It is the latter that has experienced the most significant growth over ten years (a 745% increase) and accounts for a whopping $10.5 billion of aid used to finance college education.

The private college loans available can be split into student loans or loans for the parent:

Student Loans

o Private college loans from banks and other funding sources.

Parent Loans

o Private education loans from banks and other funders.

o Home equity loans to draw down equity from your property. These funds can be used to pay for college fees.

Is it all worth it?

Its all too easy for parents and students to balk at the idea of taking out college loans to enable them to further their education. The hard cash needed to see them through up to four years of study may seem impossible to raise but they just need to realize the benefits this will bring their child and America. College educated individuals earn more than secondary school leavers, they also participate in society more and their children will attain higher levels of education too.

The investment is worth it.

Tuition Free College – What’s the Best Kept Secret in Education?

For many prospective college students, tuition can be a make-or-break factor in the final decision. What if there were a tuition free college? Thankfully, there are many schools around the world that do just that.

A tuition free college is able to sustain itself through government subsidiaries, thus dropping the tuition cost.

Nevertheless, there are still some costs involved in attending a tuition free university, such as room & board, books, etc. This can be covered in most cases, as many tuition free college

allow students to work while in school.

A lot of tuition free college are in Europe, where this educational scheme has a long and successful history.One example of a tuition free college is the Jonkoping International Business School. Located in Sweden, the Jonkoping International Business School is an urban university that offers degrees in informatics, economics, business administration, commercial law, and political science. Bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees are offered, and most of the classes are in English. The school is relatively small, with a total enrollment of about 2000 students, of which 25% are international students.

Just like the Jonkoping International Business School, many other tuition free college have strong English support due to the extensive number of international students. Not all of these academic establishments focus on business though. There is a wide range of degrees and programs offered around the world, including computer science, IT, and engineering degrees.

In addition, such high programs such as medical school are offered. In order to participate in a free study abroad, be aware that a list of prerequisites awaits you. First things first, any prospective student needs to contact the embassy of the host country to acquire a student visa. Secondly, make sure to check with the university regarding any entry exams or grade requirements. All in all, the ambition of attending college shouldn’t be hampered with tuition, and in the case of the many tuition free universities around the world, it doesn’t have to be.