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Academic success is a vital issue in any nation. Any nation can develop only through having employees who are talented and know their work very well. We need people who can innovate and discover new things, so we can compete with the developed parts of the world. In order to find out what makes people successful in the academia, we carried out an interview with the coordinator of the learning support center at Abu Dhabi University to dive immensely into the topic and determine if our thoughts of Academic excellence are correct. The research studied some forces such as environment and having the right tools that help any student to succeed.
Let us state first what Academic success means. Academic success occurs when the student is committed to hard word and gives out everything he got to achieve what he always wanted and dreamed about. It is the yearning to become an important individual in the society. Briefly, focusing mostly on studying and having good concentration on the work are some qualities of a successful student; and for Academic excellence. Academic success is the state or condition when a student does his homework, submits it on its due date without any delay and interacts well in the classroom environment (What does academic excellence mean? - Yahoo! Answers, 2010).
The world is changing at a quick pace and people need to adopt their habits and skills accordingly to succeed in the academic field and at work. The new generation must expand their knowledge and horizon. Not only regular students must learn but also those who talented should practice and use their talent or otherwise it will be wasted. For these reasons and many more, a suitable environment should be provided by the government in the public and private institutions, so the future generation will bring important citizens who can contribute to their community and their country. We consider education as a primary key to make new discoveries, findings, and play a significant role in the changes that are happening around the world. To reach this point of accomplishments or success, the government should ensure that a smart and talented generation is going to lead the nation and excel in all the areas of knowledge. With that being said, education is the force that drives the change of the nation. As we said earlier, environment is vital but we should not forget about being active learners and inner motivation; and by this we mean individualistic decision making, socially communicable, analytical, participating in activities which are the key factors that highlights academic success. In order to conduct an investigation about this issue, we did an interview with a person who is well educated and aware of this area of study. Our sole purpose out of the project was to find out those forces and factors that are affecting everyday life of students to make them succeed academically.
Academic success has a lot to do with study skills just like any activity. For instance, sports require practice, repetition, dedication, and hard work. Some of the habitual skills set have been identified among high performing students; for example, reading, note taking, and plenty of other skills and habits to excel in the academic field. To get in-depth understanding of how students excel in the academia we shall look into some of the beneficial things those prosperous students do during their class work.
Understanding Text reading
Have you ever encountered a situation where you have read a whole book but could not recall any information? Well, this is because you are not aware of the right method of reading. Reading step by step, highlighting, translating difficult phrases or words, or having prior knowledge regarding the topic can define how much you understand from what you have read (Academic Success: Study Skills, 2011).
During the class time this is a very good exercise and habit for those who cannot concentrate or focus on the instructors lecture. Writing down keywords and main ideas can increase concentration and intensive understanding of the course. Effective application of such strategy can be very helpful and effective (Academic Success: Study Skills, 2011).
Preparing for tests
Before any test a student goes through difficulties that encourage a positive behavior and rewards those who did well in their test with high scores. A good student during the period of examination would be prepared, organized and managed to control different types of anxieties during this time of the course (Academic Success: Study Skills, 2011).
This is a special skill that helps to understand and convey thoughts and ideas to the writer (Academic Success: Study Skills, 2011).
Understanding means that a person knows what he has studied which is very essential to the process of storing information in the memory for a longer period of time. When students understand the course material, he/she can come up with new creative discoveries and ideas of their own. This type of behavior should be promoted in schools and universities for the betterment of the learning system (Academic Success: Study Skills, 2011).
Music is a controversial issue when it comes to studying (Gauld, 2011). Some students claim that listening to music while studying stimulates their focus on what they are studying (Gauld, 2011). However, other students claim that listening to music is no more than a mean of distraction for them (Gauld, 2011). Whereby, a considerable number of students say that it all depends on the genre of music whether it is a calm one like jazz and classic music or if it is a noisy one like rock and heavy metal (Gauld, 2011).
Recently there has been a great discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of Individual and Group study (Gauld, 2011). One point of view claims that individual studying helps you to recall ideas that you missed in the class as you hear them from the group members (Gauld, 2011). Moreover, individually studying is the only way to get challenging work done as it gives you space to concentrate on vast ideas (Gauld, 2011).
One main thing that a college student must conquer is test anxiety. There are many causes of test anxiety, but it is mostly caused by the stresses that students put on their shoulders in order to pass. "Without any pressure, students would not be motivated to study; some stress connected with taking exams is natural and can enhance performance." (Jerome, Barefoot, & Gardner, 2011). Another cause of test anxiety is the people around you like parents and family and what they expect from you. When a person when does not meet with family members' hopes and wishes, this causes for him/her tension and discomfort. This is a naturalistic experience and everyone has to go through it at least once in a life time. Eventually, this experience can provide a lesson to be learned for a student, so it is very normal thing to happen; however, method or techniques must be learnt with a specialist if the case is severe for the pupil to avoid any effect on academic success.
The research on the topic of this project was conducted using interview technique. We have interviewed the coordinator of the learning support center at Abu Dhabi University Dr. Barbara Van Sant. The reason behind our choice is her good background on the topic Academic success since she has an undergraduate BA and a masters degree in Special Education.
Below are some strengths and weaknesses of the interview method which was used in conducting this research.
Interviews allow immediate feedback from the interviewee.
Any misunderstanding can be corrected instantaneously.
Two way communication.
Face-to-face contact between interviewer and interviewee.
The interviewee was knowledgeable and had strong background on the topic.
Takes too long; less number of people can be interviewed.
The interviewer did not have sufficient experience on interviewing others previously.
According to Dr.Van Sant, Academic Success at a university setting will have to center around the Grade Point Average (GPA) because the student's admission at the university depends on his Grade Point Average. To be more precise, if the Grade Point Average is below 2.0, the student will get academic prohibition and warnings and eventually will get dismissed from the university if it stays below 2.0 for one academic year.
Moreover, she mentioned that academically successful students tend to like their majors, enjoy their classes, enjoy their student life and meet their friends out to have a good time. "If someone is not majoring in something that they really want to be majoring in whether their family or someone says they had to, I don't think students are successful in those kinds of majors as those who get to pick what they want." she said. In addition, building good relationships between the students and their instructors is a key to academic success.
Dr.Van Sant showed that ADU promotes academic success by helping students who are willing to ask for and seek assistance regarding issues like taking notes in class or the Grade Point Average. This assistance is provided in the learning support center or the academic support center. Moreover, the wellness of the student affects his academic success. Wellness is the ability to pursue any physical activity that you enjoy as well as healthy eating and relaxation. Not everybody likes to do sports, but it is important that everybody must do a physical movement because of what it does to the brain and its role in the oxidation of the blood stream.
The response from the Dr. Barbara was as we expected. The environmental forces play a critical role in providing the right set of tools for the study purposes. Nonetheless, this did not mean a person inner motivation and commitment to the hard work was less important. A student with the right environment and attitude can achieve plenty provided there is a will and hope from the student himself/herself. Therefore, the results from the investigation were similar to our thesis statement of our research. Moreover, there is a great importance of the enjoyment that is derived by the student from the work and reward experiencing the received from it mentally and emotionally. Another factor is being communicable and social person. When a student build a good relationship with the people surround him daily this can produce a power and energy within the student. Student will feel through the means of interaction the he belongs to the place of study, and it will be a good opportunity not only to socialize and share ideas but also to make friends. That is all to say, a student will have in this way a healthy study environment to excel in the area of studies. Also the anxiety issue through socialization can be reduced and student will no more experience an anxiety, tension, and even shyness like those who do not have healthy environment which is social environment.
To sum up, the research on academic success was good provided there was not enough time. Fortunately the interviewee had a strong background on this matter. Therefore, our results are reliable and it meets with our expectation. Our investigation on this issue clarifies the importance of environment; right tools provided by the institution, and the skills and qualities of materials that should be taught at the schools and universities to educate students and helps them perform well in the real world. Moreover, educating instructors and teachers is also significant to improve their capability to deliver the information righteously to their students. As we said earlier, the government should place this as a highest priority objective to make a positive amendment in the nation and increase the number of qualified workers and improve the economy. All these can be done only through the enhancement of the academic facilities, material, quality of education to achieve academic excellence in all areas of knowledge.