Keep Up The Good Work and You Will Succeed

How to Succeed In College, a blog post written for the New York Times by the co-directors of college counseling at Lawrenceville School is like many you will find when you search for college success in Google. The article starts with a salutation to high-school graduates, then goes on to provide tips to said graduate.

Some tips are useful; Live in the Academic Moment, suggests that you focus on the intrinsic benefits of your assignments rather than the end grade­—I agree with this.

But there are other tips that rub me the wrong way. Don’t Study In Your Room, suggests you find a quiet place out of your dorm room and somewhere quiet within one of the (presumably) many libraries on your tree-lined, sprawling, campus. My issue with this is that it comes from a very traditional, white, elitist viewpoint when it comes to the college experience.

David Brooks

The Atlantic recently published an expose on the usefulness (or not if you’re a white guy) of attendance at an Ivy-league school. This article sited work by Stacy Dale and Alan Kureger that showed that the SAT scores of a student is a more powerful predictor of future success than what school they go to. That is despite the fact that each year more than half a billion dollars is spent by parents trying to get their kids ready for the Ivy-League admissions process.

To me the takeaway from the Dale and Kureger study is clear. Being driven, having a strong work ethic, and studying for the SATs are more valuable qualities than attending a top-tier school.

You can succeed anywhere if you put in the time and effort.

David Brooks, who I introduced you to in my last post, explains what years of research has substantiated. “People who succeed tend to find one goal in the distant future and then chase it through thick and thin. People who flit from one interest to another are much, much less likely to excel at any of them. School asks students to be good at a range of subjects, but life asks people to find one passion that they will follow forever.”

I hope you all have found something to be passionate about, and will go out and pursue it! Congratulations on completing another semester here at Metropolitan State.

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