Office of the Faculty Teaching Fellow

The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Students

Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Sit near the front of every classroom in which your courses are held
  • Ask a solid question at the first and many subsequent class meetings
  • Introduce yourself to each of your professors in the first two weeks of the term

 Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

  • Begin early to build a team of good students to study with for exams
  • Identify how each of your courses might help you reach an important goal
  • Ask each of your professors to see a copy of an old final course exam

 Habit 3: Put First Things First

  • Arrive five minutes early for every class meeting
  • Complete reading and other assignments at least a day before they are addressed in class
  • Start studying for exams a week in advance with your study group

 Habit 4: Think Win/Win

  • Make your professors look good in front of the class
  • Make other students look good in front of their peers – disagree agreeably
  • Share your successful strategies with other students, ask for theirs in return

 Habit 5:  Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

  • Ask each of your professors a little about their background
  • Thank your professor personally when they do something that helps you learn
  • Ask professors for informal feedback throughout each course

 Habit 6:  Synergize

  • Make applications of course content to your present and future career
  • Talk with students taking your course from other professors – share approaches
  • Encourage others to join out-of-class study groups

 Habit 7:  Sharpen your Saw

  • Establish a mentoring relationship with a professor and/or experienced student
  • Complete a study skills workshop
  • Teach what you have learned to someone else

 Habit 8: Find Your Voice and Encourage Others to find Theirs

  • Identify something that you are passionate about that is related to your major
  • Focus your course projects, papers and presentations on it
  • Join campus or community groups that advocate for your passion

Please Note:  Richard Lyons, the developer of the Adjunct Success program and an internationally-respected author and consultant on adjunct faculty development, created this editable handout of hints for college students.  It’s built on the Covey “Habits” model, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People [1989], New York: Fireside, and The 8th Habit, [2004), New York: Free Press, both by Stephen R. Covey.  We ask that when distributing this to students, you please acknowledge Richard Lyons’ authorship.