When Stephen Covey wrote his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, many years ago, I read it chiefly because one of the editors here at BLACK ENTERPRISE was also reading it.
“Begin with the end in mind” is one of Covey’s seven recommended habits. And, if I could distill the message of the article excerpted below that I recently read on Gallup.com (yes, these are the same folks that do the polls), I would say that this is its gist, as well.
The article states that students who employ these five strategies can help ensure their success at school:
- Invite someone at your college to mentor you.
- Become the candidate that hiring managers want.
- Finish your degree.
- Avoid debt.
- Find the right fit.
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the Tuskegee University Class of 2015 Commencement ceremony in Tuskegee, Alabama, Saturday, May 9, 2015. (Image: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
I wish I could say my husband and I were so forward thinking when we began the college hunt with our children, but we weren’t. Having that kind of “begin with the end in mind” perspective would have been helpful to our adult children even now.
Read the following excerpt from Gallup.com below:
Many students don’t know enough about the important decisions to make and factors to weigh when selecting a college, which costs them time and money and can even take a toll on their well being. My oldest son graduated from high school this year, and every aspect of the college selection and enrollment process is more complex than it was when I went to school.
Selecting an institution of higher learning, financing an education, and learning technology systems are all daunting tasks. Below are five strategies that soon-to-be college students can employ to successfully navigate the terrain of the college experience, avoid getting lost in the higher ed shuffle, and maximize the return on their higher education investment.
- Invite someone at your college to mentor you. Your mentor should help you reflect on your talents and accomplishments, and should encourage your success in school and in life. Mentoring is a key college experience that can help you feel more prepared for life after college.
- Become the candidate that hiring managers want. Set up interviews with hiring managers in your field while you are a college student, and learn what they want from their new hires while you still have the opportunity to shape your college experience. A college transcript is an indicator of what you know, but business leaders also want to know what you can do in a real-world environment. Many business leaders say college graduates don’t have the skills their business needs. So, get the experience that hiring managers want while you are still in school, and be prepared to discuss that experience when you interview for a job.
- Follow my dad’s advice: Finish your degree. Completion yields choices. You may hold many jobs over the course of your lifetime—a recent report indicated that, among baby boomers, the lifetime average is 12 jobs—and completing your degree could increase the chances of finding and crafting the job of your dreams. If the maze of courses and requirements for your program is confusing, ask your higher education institution for help, because it is expensive to speculate about the right way to navigate these requirements alone. Find someone who will help you map your path to degree completion.