By John M. Paitakes,Ph.D. Professor Emeritus Seton Hall University
From the time I entered school, my father had encouraged me to study hard and prepare myself to enter college. He had emigrated from Greece and came to America at age 12 and entered the educational system. Unfortunately, at age 16 he had to withdraw from school to assist his family financially as his mother was physically handicapped and his father was having a hard time securing and maintaining a full time job. In spite of all this responsibility and hardships he became a successful business man owning and operating a Diner, Restaurant and Cocktail lounge employing 50 employees. In addition, he assisted his four children in securing further education which was so important to him.
He, like many of the emigrants from different countries, felt that it was very important for their children to attain a college degree even though they (parents) could not, due to the circumstances they faced adjusting in America. Granted, not everyone has to go to college to be considered successful. Success is measured in a number of ways; financial wealth, accomplishments, satisfying family life, helping others etc. The vocational trades can be very satisfying both financially and personally. Individual choices of youth and their desires have to be taken into account.
Attending a college or university is still a popular choice among our younger generation at this time. Therefore, as an educator for more than 40 years teaching at 5 different college and universities, I felt it was important to share my findings of students who were successful. This was based on teaching over 7000 students during my tenure. The findings are strongly recommended especially during these times when the majority of educational institutions have returned to in class meetings. Personal interaction is invaluable in learning, communicating and networking.
The following are some of the behaviors, traits and characteristics exhibited by students who were deemed to be successful:
1. Classroom seating: students who sit toward the front or middle of the classroom seem to do better scholastically than those who sit in the back or in the corner.
2. Preparation: students who are prepared from the initial class seem to do better. This includes having the text, review the syllabus and taking notes.
3. Rested: students who come to class rested are more alert and receptive to information.
4. Class participation: students who participate on a regular basis usually do well in class. This includes volunteering to respond to the professor’s inquiries and posing relevant questions regarding the subject matter.
5. Assignments: Completion and remission of assignments when due according to the professor’s format is critical in placing students in the upper range of the class.
6. Attendance: students who attend class on a regular basis usually do better than students who do not. Generally, students should try not to miss more than 3 classes during a semester. This is dependent on each professor’s attendance policy.
7. Professor interaction: Student’s who get to know their professor by discussing relevant issues with him/her after class or during his/her office hours usually will enhance their chances of doing better during the course.
8. Student networking: students who network and get to know a number of other students in class through study groups or informally, usually perform at a higher level than those who do not.
9. Join Professional groups or Associations: this can enhance your knowledge on related issues.
10. Outside Readings: seek out related readings outside of required text for additional information on the class.
NB: During his tenure in teaching college students, Dr. Paitakes has taught students at the following colleges and universities:
5z Seton Hall University, Rutgers University, Kean University, Thomas Edison State University, Rider University and the Union Institute & University. He can be reached at the following: [email protected]