Making a Success of College

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ken Bain, provost and vice president for academic affairs of the University of the District of Columbia, author of What the Best College Teachers Do and now What the Best College Students Do, offers advice for succeeding in college – beyond GPA.


Ken Bain

Comments [14]

John A

Peter F,
This the reason why Facebook is not currently succeeding in the stock-market? Can it be named a 'job destroyer'?

Aug. 22 2012 11:14 AM
Tricia from Manhattan

I graduated high school in 1985 and felt discouraged about going to college because my parents couldn't afford it (even discouraged it) and I was a mediocre high school student with a complicated family life. But I started taking college courses at the local state university (Arizona State) part-time while living at home, discovered that I had a passion for History and became a dean's list student which enabled me to transfer to Rutgers in NJ because I wanted to live on the East coast and experience a more challenging and academically diverse environment. I took out loans, worked and obtained grants to self-fund my college education. I finally obtained my B.A. with Honors in January 1991 and followed my passion for working in the public sector. Even though my husband and I have started college funds for our 2 children, I hope that when they are ready in 12 years, they will not take for granted the the opportunity for college education.

Aug. 22 2012 11:12 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

The fact that fear is an ever increasing motivation is a sign of other things... that the speaker is quite ignoring it seems, in recommending "be genuine" as a sufficient solution. "Be genuine" is always the best path, of course.

That our world of ever more rapidly changing technology, chasing ever shrinking physical resources, creating conflicting purposes for people all over and becoming unmanageable for everyone,... in fact, is a far worse problem than the usual "don't worry, follow your heart".

Aug. 22 2012 11:03 AM
Robert Gryn from NY

just look what happens in Israel... every high-schooler goes for 3 years to the army, than One gap year travelling. than at 22 goes to College.
the result the highest High tech success in the world per capita and according to Bill Gates the reason for this success is the maturity of the Students when they go to college.

Aug. 22 2012 11:01 AM
Sandra from The Bronx

Take classes for which you have PASSION and TALENT! Also those for which you have CURIOSITY.
I had so much stress over being a Chemistry major which would lead to medicine. I secretly switched to Math which I loved and now I have been teaching Math in College for the past 20 years and have enjoyed every moment!
As they say, "Do what you love (and have a talent for) and the money will follow..."

Aug. 22 2012 11:00 AM
Elle from Brooklyn

Great advice. Virtually impossible to follow. Kids are being force-fed standardized tests until they are coming out their ears. Not a whole lot of room for passion, curiosity, and innovation.

Aug. 22 2012 10:59 AM
fuva from harlemworld

The "passion" requirement for school and employment is definitely bourgeois. However it does have a positive effect on productivity...If students should pursue their passions in school, then they shoould do this in an informed way; the curricula should provide a realistic view of their employment and earnings prospects, so they may prepare accordingly.

Aug. 22 2012 10:59 AM
mck from NYC

An extraordinarily talented individual--one of the 0.1% in any field--can depend on their passion. The rest of us have to find something that the society values enough to pay for that we can stomach doing for 8+ hours a day, 5-6 days a week. Remember, the individual brain may work best under deep approach conditions, but if it doesn't pay the rent you sill still be living in a garbage can.

Aug. 22 2012 10:58 AM
Julie @ Perfect Whole from Chestnut Ridge, NY

So many high school students are still getting the standard-issue advice about the algorithm of success, the old American Dream. The problem is that parents, teachers, and other adults who care just don't know how to advise this generation, now that the economy seems to have no use for the labor and talents of the young. I wrote more about that here:
I'm very interested in the young people who are moving beyond the goal of pleasing the gatekeepers. There are many of them in all fields.

Aug. 22 2012 10:58 AM
Carolita from NYC

I found that treating my university as an adjunct in my self-education gave me a much more satisfying experience than when I just tried to pass my courses to be "good."

Aug. 22 2012 10:52 AM

Just finished a masters about an educator, Esther Raushenbush (mentioned by Barbara Walters in her memoir). Raushenbush was the 6th president of Sarah Lawrence College which Princeton Review just ranked #1 for quality of faculty. Raushenbush felt a good college experience meant the student learned 'how to be'. She meant many things by this but she ultimately saw college as a place to mature and to learn how to learn, a skill that would last a lifetime.

Aug. 22 2012 10:51 AM
Peter F from Washington heights

One of my nephews is going to a large land-grant university. I notice that he spends A LOT of time on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, staying up very late, when he mostly likely should be studying or getting some rest.

I worry about Facebook, etc., turning people's brains to mush.

Aug. 22 2012 10:51 AM
Michael from Ridgewood

As a professor I can attest to the fact that the deep approach not only leads to the best work but is a much more powerful motivator than either surface or strategic approaches. The key being that those who believe that knowledge and learning are ends in themselves have the most passion for the subject.

Aug. 22 2012 10:51 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manahttan

SIMPLE ANSWER: Don't succumb to taking dumbed-down contrived courses on politically correct topics. Don't take any courses from a phony department that has "…....Studies" in its name. (Black Studies, Gender Studies, Queer Studies, Latino Studies, etc. etc.) You have your whole life to read that claptrap on your own time. Don't waste that precious spot in that incoming class that you were PRIVILIGED to get on BALONEY....or the scholarship money you were honored with....or the student loans that you will work hard to pay back later.....or the money that your caring parents sacrificed so that you would do better than them in this world.

Aug. 22 2012 10:12 AM

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