Category: Student Focus

These blog posts are focused on empowering students.

Experimentation, Practicing, and the Learning Agenda

An integral part of the learning process is the opportunity to test our nascent theories about ourselves as they develop. Experimenting with new ideas and new behaviors and getting good feedback from the world is how we calibrate our progress toward intentional positive change.  

In our evidence-based work with college students, we emphasize experiential learning informed by Intentional Change Theory, established and developed by Richard Boyatzis, Professor of Organizational Behavior,

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Who Am I really? Good Self-Assessment Skills are at the Heart of Positive Change

“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I—I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”
“What do you mean by that?” said the Caterpillar, sternly. “Explain yourself!”
“I ca’n’t explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir,” said Alice,

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How to Create a Personal Vision: Small Steps; Big Rewards

By now some of us have already broken our New Year’s resolutions. Like goals, New Year’s resolutions can generate feelings of obligation, i.e. “I ought to eat better,” and “I ought to exercise more.” Obligation creates stress. A personal vision, on the other hand, creates hope and activates parts of the brain involved in reasoning and creativity. Hope fueled by self-advocacy “means that we not only imagine that good things are about to happen, but we also believe in our ability to achieve them.”[1]

The concept of the personal vision is certainly inspiring,

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The Power of a Personal Vision and Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

It’s that time of year when the airwaves and the ether are filled with good intentions for behavior in the season and in the new year. As the holidays loom, we strive to be our best and make plans for positive change. We promise ourselves more exercise, greater patience with loved ones, fewer cookies, more vegetables…The New Year’s Resolution is our opportunity to make amends.

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Thanksgiving Reflection and Renewal

Thanksgiving is an excellent time for reflection and renewal.

Learning comes about not only from doing, but from thinking about what we do. Reflecting on a student’s path through the semester, or what we call the Learning Agenda, is an important part of what we do at Focus Collegiate.

The discrepancy between the student’s personal reality and personal goals helps us co-create the foundation of each student’s learning agenda.

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How to Make Difficult Conversations more productive during the Holidays

The holidays are notoriously fraught with difficult conversations. Conversations about next semester, conversations about progress, choices, direction, expectations – the list goes on. Many of these conversations are bound to take place at the holiday dinner table.

We believe that these difficult conversations do not happen in isolation; students struggle to assert their new independence just as parents struggle to define their new role.

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So, I Just Failed a Midterm…Now What?

You may not have received your grade yet, but you do have a sinking suspicion that is growing into a panic. You have failed a midterm—or two. You are stressed, your self-esteem just took a huge hit, you didn’t meet expectations… And now you wonder what comes next.

Breathe. Take a little time to regain your perspective.

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Appreciative Inquiry: It’s Why Our Approach Works

Simply put, our approach works. We use Appreciative Inquiry to facilitate lasting positive change in our students.

“Appreciative Inquiry is the cooperative search for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them. It involves systematic discovery of what gives a system ‘life’ when it is most effective and capable in economic,

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What does Focus Collegiate have in common with a Nobel Prize Winner? System 2 Thinking

Psychologists Keith Stanovich and Richard West refer to two systems in the mind, System 1 and System 2.

• System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control.
• System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. The operations of System 2 are often associated with the subjective experience of agency,

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Leveraging Your Dreams to Find Academic Success

When our College Life Coordinators talk to students about following their dreams, they are not referring to rainbows and unicorns but to real, heart-felt student aspirations.

The charge to pursue your dreams (i.e. do what you love) is certainly not a new recommendation. Confucius told us to “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Modern business leaders reiterate the advice: Steve Jobs tells us,

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