Change Illness – YUCK!

The following was written by Dr. Rick Jetter, co-author of “Escaping the School Leader’s Dunk Tank”. It’s a great post that hits home in many schools that take issue with moving forward or are non-progressive.  You can purchase the book on amazon.com and follow Rick on Twitter @RickJetter . Read on.

————————————————————————

We have all heard it before:  Change is hard.  It hurts (sometimes).  And, change places lots of tension on our schools and organizations.  What is interesting is that it isn’t really necessarily about “change” at all; it’s more about what is attached to “change” that we often don’t acknowledge.  If we view change as an illness (for those who don’t want to change much of anything in our schools), perhaps we need to look at the symptoms of change before we judge anyone of not being open to new ideas or improvement.  Here are some symptoms that come up time and time again within our schools.  See if you notice any of these symptoms within your system, as well:

1.  There are too many initiatives (things) going on.  Too many software programs.  Too many literacy directives.  Too many new books coming in.  Too many e-mails explaining what we didn’t do yet or what we need to do next.  This is a huge symptom of “change illness.”

2.  There isn’t enough training (or thorough training).  When #1 is going on, training often falls by the wayside, as well.  They are connected.  The problem with the lack of training is that now frustration sets in.  Frustration of not knowing what to do with something “new.”  Have you established a solid training program that will diminish frustration?

3.  There isn’t enough time.  Our educators have lives.  They have families.  They have outside interests.  So, what they accomplish in school is often high energy.  High octane.  Exhausting.  We need to always remember this.  Life comes first.  Jobs and careers come second.  If a teacher cannot attend something after school, it doesn’t mean that they are disengaged.  Maybe they have to pick up their child from school or run to the grocery store in order to put dinner on the table that night.

4.  There isn’t enough enthusiasm.  How do we get anyone excited about anything?  There is power in creating exciting opportunities, forums, and collaborations.  When we fail to promote, market, or even show excitement about something, ourselves, how can we blame anyone else for not being on board when all we are doing is making them bored about a topic or initiative?  Turning educators off from the start will lead to “change illness.”

5.  Educators just want to enjoy our students.  “Less is more,” especially when we recognize the requests we make for additional paperwork, new requirements, more deadlines, intricate forms to fill out, or an increase in meetings that take staff away from their instructional time and enjoyment with their students.  Before we pile more on the plates of our educators, we have to Spring clean a bit, re-focus, stop the clutter, and breathe. 

These 5 root causes of “change illness” should be on our minds each day and it’s OK to have open dialogue about these symptoms in order to evaluate if what you want to change is really worth it for both your students and staff.

 

AASA + NOLA = G-R-E-A-T

Last week, The American Association of School Administrators held its’ annual national conference in New Orleans. Superintendents from all 50 states were in attendance, and yes, the good times did roll.

I have been to New Orleans over a dozen times, but this time was much different.  This was a gathering like I have never seen before.  There are conferences, and there are gathering of the movers and shakers.  This was the latter of the two.

There were Superintendents of Districts of 300 students; others oversee over 30,000. There were vendors, there were elected officials, and yes, there were many from my home state from New Jersey.  62 to be exact. 62 Superintendents all conveying in a national stage to be a part of the big picture, not be on the outside looking into it.

There were workshops, there were meetings, and there were open forums.  Conversations were intense; workshops were powerful.

Some of the best learning occurred in the conversations in the halls and on the floor. Running into colleagues is great, but nothing is better than getting the support, respect, and high-fives.

It’s a right-of-passage in this position to go through the fire to earn your stripes.  I earned mine over the past few months and got the credit for such from my peers.  Nothing beats that, and that;s something you can’t ever take away from a Superintendent.  I officially got my ‘street cred’!

I highly recommend that all Superintendents attend NCE in the future; Nashville is next year. I hope to see you there.

 

5 Guaranteed Ways to Pour Slop Out of Your Bucket

Dan’s blog is one of the best around.  Read the post below and get ready to be charged up! Find the original post at : 5 Guaranteed Ways to Pour Slop Out of Your Bucket

Overbooked, overwhelmed, and over-committed …

You have slop in your bucket. Life grows meaningless as time passes, unless you pour out the slop.

5 guaranteed ways to pour slop out of your bucket:

#1. Identify slop:

The trouble with slop is it comes disguised as fulfillment. You end up carrying a bucket of putrescent slop. The weight of your bucket feels impressive. Before long it smells like crap.

Slop:

  1. Repeated activities that lack long-term impact.
  2. Good activities that don’t contribute to meaningful goals.
  3. Every activity that’s disconnected from values.

What’s stinks in your bucket?

#2. Seize more opportunities – solve fewer problems:

Pour fresh water in your bucket by asking, “What opportunities might we seize today?” Everyone who focuses on solving problems camps in the past.

It’s hard to build the future when you’re always fixing the past. Work to create something new rather than fix something broken. Problem-solving centers on something that already happened.

An opportunity seized is a problem solved.

What opportunity might you seize today?

#3. Seek significance not busyness:

The seduction of feeling important because you’re busy trivializes leaders.

I asked Jon Acuff how to pour slop out of the bucket. He mentioned our need to feel important by being busy is about who we are.

Jon on feeling important (1:16) Listen for the tip on delegating at the end.Audio Player

How might you seek significance over busyness?

#4. Choose joy:

Jon also suggested making a long list of everything we do. Identify the things we enjoy. Do more of that.

How might you listen to joy?

#5. Embrace the irresistible yes:

I’ve come to believe that learning to say ‘no’ is pathetic. It suggests we don’t have an irresistible ‘yes’. Say ‘yes’ to something so captivating that saying ‘no’ is necessary.

What mighty ‘yes’ is calling you?

Once it’s gone, time never returns.

How might leaders pour slop out of their buckets?

Follow Jon Acuff on twitter. @JonAcuff

Buy Jon’s book: Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck

@EitnerEDU Launches a New Podcast…from the Hot Tub!

Eitner Education debuts in its’ new podcast called “The Tub”! Each episode will feature a trend in schools, a trending book in education, and something to turnkey into your educational lifestyle. This podcast is for all leaders, teachers, and everyone in between.

My first podcast features Rebecca Coda and Rick Jetter, co-authors of “Escaping the School Leaders Dunk Tank”, which is available on amazon, Barnes & Noble, and classy bookstores everywhere!

I hope you enjoy this; thanks for coming on the journey with me!

About The Authors

Dr.  Rick Jetter  is an Educational Consultant, Speaker & Trainer, and Multi-Genre Author. He was a solid “D+” student in 7th grade and he has a cool dog, named George Jetter. Dr. J. also types faster (with two index fingers) than he talks. Dr. J. is interested in all types of topics–especially the ones that no one wants to truly take on (even though they say they do while their fingers are crossed behind their backs).

For more information about the book, Escaping the School Leader’s Dunk Tank: How to Prevail When Others Want to See You Drown, visit http://www.leadershipdunktank.com

Dr. J. has also successfully worked with other authors on their ideas and creative concepts by offering book concept and writing strategies through his own unique coaching process.

He is the founder of and lead consultant at RJ Consultants.

Rebecca Coda is the founder of the Digital Native Network. http://www.digitalnativenetwork.net She currently serves as a STEM Coach, weekly contributing columnist for School Leader’s Now, and article contributor on LinkedIn. She has over 18 years’ experience in education as a teacher, ELA curriculum and assessment writer, and technology program leader. Rebecca is a National Board Certified Teacher & Arizona K12 Center Master Teacher. She is a Christian and lives each day by faith, hope, and love.

Interested in hopping into the tub? Join me on my podcasting journey!

 

Thank your (BOE) president today!

While Presidents’ Day is reserved for honoring and celebrating our American presidents, I can’t help but think about local board of education presidents today as well. Like any elected officials, some you love, some you loathe, but most deserve credit for the time they put in to make sure the best is being done for students. Most have great working relationships with their superintendent, and most know the role that they play. I do keep saying  most, because, well, there are some that do not. I’ll focus on that a little later. Below are three boards that deserve some credit this Presidents’ Day.

Walt Sheets is a proud member of the Lower Alloways Creek community–a retired worker from the PSEG power plant, an active community member, and most importantly to me, a father of four.  Patriotic, witty, and possessing an infectious laugh, Mr. Sheets always had my back. No doubt we had our disagreements and clashes in certain arenas, but he always acknowledged that the superintendent was in charge and listened to my recommendations. What I still admire about Mr. Sheets was his mantra, “You take care of you first, then us (LAC) second.” I learned so much during my time in the crick and owe much of it to him.

Kevin Blondina is a board president that I ran into (literally) by accident. Both of us were enjoying a cigar, and I asked if I could use his lighter because mine kicked. From that point on, we have had one of the most cordial, real friendships around. Mr. Blondina is a financial planner in Sussex County, NJ, and I was working in Salem County. While geographically far apart, we couldn’t  have more commonalities if we tried to. We always make time to catch up over convention dinners and text on a daily basis about educational issues and how they affect us. Kevin is another who wears his heart on his sleeve and wants nothing but the best for students and staff. His passion is admirable, and his leadership style is envious. I owe much of my newly learned diplomacy to him.

Fran DiRocco is now a retired board member. Spending over 20 years on a  board, a decade of them as the president, Mr. DiRocco has navigated through a sea of educational issues ranging from collective bargaining to switching a sending school district. Mr. DiRocco’s professionalism, despite any internal board conflict, has been nothing but top-notch. I was hired under Mr. DiRocco’s term as president and chose to join the district even when the vote was 5 yes and 4 no. Was I crazy for doing so? Yep. Was it worth it?  Absolutely. Besides being 10 miles from home, I was able to work with a board president who knew what needed to be done and backed me when I needed it most. DiRocco didn’t have some underlying agenda, had nothing to prove to the town, and wasn’t bitter or vindictive when things didn’t go his way. He stayed classy until his term expired in December and now thoroughly enjoys his time volunteering at his church and on the local OEM committee.

Needless to say, I admire these three current and former presidents immensely. They set the bar on what great things can happen when an honest agenda and partnership occur.

Now what about the bad presidents?  Yes,  they are out there, too. Sadly, there are presidents who

  • Run to the soccer field to rile up parents when they don’t get their way
  • Undermine a superintendent with a self-righteous political agenda in order to prove that they are right
  • Turn road bumps into sinkholes by taking quotes and data out of context
  • Fail to recognize national and local student recognition and replace it with canned naysayers and planted questions
  • Use the board president’s chair as a springboard to attempt to get on a municipal government
  • Use the president’s chair as a throne to show they are worthy (i.e. If they weren’t hired in town as teachers)
  • Apply a “past practices” mindset to today’s problems when attempting to lead

And, yes, there are scads of examples of this all over the  internet. You will also have the chance to read about some real whoppers by purchasing one of my quick reads this summer–available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble!


Okay, that was a cheap plug, but it is nice to know about the good presidents in the land.  Enjoy the holiday…and thank a president!

ADDitional Support

Below is a great post by Jack Milgram. It’s certainly worth the read for all parents, teachers, and administrators in the land. You can find Jack’s original post by clicking here.


100 Self-Help & Study Skills for Students with ADD

By February 3, 2017

100 Self-Help & Study Skills for Students with ADD

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are becoming more and more common in the modern age. Students complain about struggling to pay attention, which affects their studying.

But don’t you worry!

We’ve decided to compile a list of 100 tips on how students with ADD can develop proper study skills. This article can give you an idea of how to handle this condition properly and provide you with helpful ADHD strategies. Keep on reading if you want to know how to manage your time and schedule, take notes, and remember material efficiently. This article will also tell you about study strategies for ADHD students, study techniques, and skills you may find useful. You’ll get a number of study tips that actually work.

Scheduling & time management

Scheduling & time management

  1. Watch the time.

You can use whatever you want: a desk clock, wall clock or wristwatch. When starting a task, say the time out loud, or make a note of it (write it down, for instance). This will help you to stay on track.

  1. Set the limits.

To discipline yourself even more, use a timer. You can set an individual alarm for each task or set multiple timers to go off after a certain time has passed. It will be easier to tell how much time you spend.

  1. Allow extra time.

Start a habit of giving yourself an extra 10 minutes for every half an hour you think you’ll spend on completing a task. You’ll have a more flexible schedule in case you’ve estimated the time poorly.

  1. Set your plans earlier.

It’s the same thing as with the previous tip. If you need to be somewhere at a certain time, make an appointment for 10–15 minutes earlier. You can also make a reminder to know exactly when to leave.

  1. Use a planner.

This should go without saying, but this is a vital tip. You can write down all your plans and appointments using any device you want, or even go old-school and use a separate notebook or organizer.

What’s the main purpose?

To keep everything in order and not forget a thing. This is one of the most vital ADHD strategies.

  1. Choose the right time.

All people are different and it’s impossible to say what time is the best for everyone to study. You need to choose the part of the day when you’re the most active to study. This will maximize its efficiency.

  1. Don’t cram your schedule.

While some feel more motivated having a busy schedule, assigning too many tasks for the day often just adds unnecessary pressure. If you feel stressed out, free up your schedule a bit.

Set your priorities

  1. Set your priorities.

When you have many tasks to do during the day, it’s important to keep this thought in your head. Tell yourself that there’s work to do instead of just dozing off and procrastinating. You’ll only lose time, without getting things done.

  1. Have something to waste.

In this case, it’s time. Leave a place in your schedule just to let off some steam and do nothing. After that, you’ll be back free of stress and refilled with energy.

  1. Have a consistent sleep schedule.

Studying can alter your sleep schedule greatly. So, you have to make sure you go to bed at the same time each night and get enough sleep. If done right, it will have a positive effect on your productivity.

  1. Your mood matters.

When making a schedule, make sure that you’re in a good mood and thinking positively. If you’re forcing yourself to make a schedule, the chances are that you’ll have a hard time following it, too. Developing proper study techniques is important, but they also don’t have to make things harder for you.

  1. Have multiple schedules.

Making schedules requires patience. And if there’s something wrong and you fail to follow the plan, it can lead to discouragement and abandoning the whole idea of scheduling. This is why it’s important to make schedules for various terms. We’ll talk about them below.

  1. Have a long-term schedule.

This one includes only regular and fixed tasks. It won’t change much with time and acts as a base for building shorter term schedules.

  1. Have a weekly schedule.

This schedule will include all the important events waiting for you during the week. It can also contain the amount of work you need to do. Changing each week, this schedule is the best to build on weekends.

Have a daily schedule

  1. Have a daily schedule.

This one will contain the specific tasks to be completed throughout the day. After something is done, you can cross it out.

Here’s the main idea:

Daily scheduling not only keeps you organized, but also prevents you from giving up the idea of making schedules in the first place.

  1. Double the time.

While everyone’s schedule is unique, there’s a guideline that works for most students. Plan 2 hours of studying for each hour of classes. This includes all the study-related tasks.

  1. Make a habit.

Try studying at the same time each day. After some time, this will become a habit, which will make your studying more systematic and active. It will also be easier to follow the schedule.

  1. Include weekends in your schedule.

No, nobody tells you to study on weekends. What you can do, though, is to schedule an hour to review all the material you’ve learned during the week.

  1. Trade the time.

No one can predict the future, and an unscheduled event will happen occasionally. Instead of giving up the time that you planned to spend on a task, just trade it with a later time, so that you can still complete the task. It won’t be a problem if you save up time as mentioned in the 9th tip.

  1. Set the milestones.

Decide what steps you’ll need to complete a certain task. Milestones will help you to estimate your time better and focus on smaller, more manageable chunks of work instead of one huge task.

See the deadline

  1. See the deadline…

Write down the deadline for a certain task. Put it somewhere so you can always see it. This will act as a reminder not to waste your time and stay focused.

  1. …not only for yourself.

Let’s say you need help. But you also know that you can’t waste any time, because a long wait for a reply can make you lose focus. To avoid that, ask the people who help you to come up with a reply by a certain time or day.

  1. Make a commitment.

When you set the time for your studying, stay committed to it. Remind yourself that if you finish your tasks on time, you’ll be free to do whatever else you want. Don’t try to find compromises. Otherwise, you’ll just end up spending even more time.

  1. Don’t delay.

Start each task as soon as possible – preferably as soon as you get it. There are enough things you can do “to prepare yourself”. And by doing them, you end up spending more time on a task. So, no “sharpening pencils” – just get to work.

  1. Know exactly what you’ll do.

When starting a task, go through all the steps you’ll complete in your head. Stick to that plan.

Why?

Even if there’s a distraction, you’ll be able to deal with it and resume your work quickly because you know exactly what to do next.

back to top

Note-taking & remembering material

Note-taking & remembering material

  1. Do a bedtime review.

If you need to remember important material, do a quick review of it for 10–15 minutes before going to sleep. Sure, you’ll still need to study it beforehand, but reviewing what you’ve just learned will help to memorize it easier.

  1. Review more.

Apart from having bedtime review sessions, you can also check back on your notes right after the class. It will help you to remember the important information with ease.

  1. Be ready to take notes.

Always have a notebook by your side, or any device where you can keep notes. You never know when a great thought or idea will hit you, so it’s better to be prepared.

  1. Copy the notes.

There’s a trick to memorize your notes easier. Just write them down again. It will act as good revision for newly learned material.

  1. Make association chains.

If you’re struggling to remember certain information, keep drawings in your notes that you can associate with a concept you’re trying to memorize.

  1. Use acronyms.

In order to remember a list, use the first letters of all the items and put them together. You can play around with the order of the items for the resulting word to make more sense. Or make up a sentence using words that begin with the same letter as the items you’re trying to remember.

  1. Talk to yourself.

When studying alone, you can repeat some of the key thoughts aloud after reading them. This will help you to memorize the material easier.

Interpret it

  1. Interpret it.

You don’t have to note everything that’s been said word for word. If it’s possible, write the main ideas down in your own words so it’s easier for you to understand. Proper note-taking and remembering are among the most important study skills for ADD students. So, it’s better not to neglect them.

  1. Take notes more often.

If you don’t feel like taking enough notes, there’s a little trick you can use.

Divide your page into several sections (let’s say, 5). And try to fill those sections after a certain period of time (you’re free to decide how often).

  1. Edit your notes right away.

Don’t wait until you get back home. Highlight and mark the key thoughts and ideas, before it’s too late and you’ve forgotten about it. It will be easier to use such notes later.

  1. Make indicators.

You need to be able to quickly tell which part of your notes is important (e.g., use a highlighter), which part is confusing and caused you to have questions (e.g., mark it with a question mark), and which part you need to add more information to (e.g., mark it with an asterisk). Come up with a code system to easily point out such parts.

  1. Use alternatives.

In order to get the most information from the lecture, ask for a printed summary. With it, you’ll be sure that you didn’t miss anything.

  1. Try exchanging notes.

This will not only give you extra snippets of information, but it will also give you some hints on what you can improve in your own note-taking. It’s even better if you exchange them with other college students with ADD. In this case, they’ll benefit from it too.

  1. Make it diverse.

In order to memorize the material better and concentrate more, avoid studying similar subjects one after another. It will only bring confusion and prevent you from remembering properly.

Sticky notes

  1. Sticky notes.

Make use of sticky notes when reading and trying to remember the important information. Write the key points down on a note, so it’s easier to revise everything later.

  1. Organize space in your notebook properly.

It’s better to use a larger notebook, but at the same time, it has to be as comfortable as possible for you. Use only a part of the page and leave free space so that you can keep keywords, comments or ideas there.

  1. Separate the thoughts.

Leave blank spaces between the key points. It will be easier to spot the end of one thought and the beginning of the other. Also, you’ll be able to add extra information if necessary.

  1. See the points.

Most of the lectures consist of a few main points and a couple of additional ones. Everything else is mostly explanatory material. You need to spot those points.

The deal is simple:

You’ll see the main points if you listen carefully instead of trying to write down every word.

  1. Keep your notes understandable.

It’s necessary to make note-taking as effective as possible. But at the same time, you don’t want to cross the line where you won’t understand what’s written in your notebook. Watch the neatness of your notes, and make sure to use the same abbreviations and signs to avoid confusion.

  1. Copy the board.

In contrast to tip 43, it’s better to copy everything that’s written on the board. It usually contains essential information and clues that you can use when preparing for exams.

Understand what you’re trying to learn

  1. Understand what you’re trying to learn.

Understanding is the key to proper learning. Don’t try to just mindlessly memorize the information. Instead, spend a few minutes to comprehend it. You’ll see that it’s easier to remember it that way.

  1. See the difference.

This one is opposite to the previous tip. Along with understanding, you have to spot the parts you need to memorize verbatim and indicate them. They can be dates, rules, definitions or even passages of texts.

  1. Decide what to learn first.

When you know you have to remember a lot of material, start with the material you need to keep in your mind the longest.

  1. Review as soon as possible.

In order for it to be a review of written material, not a relearning, you need to do it within the first 24 hours. The sooner you’ll do it,  the clearer understanding of the material you’ll have.

  1. Explain your notes.

For a better understanding of the main ideas and contents of your notes, you can list the main keywords. To make sure that you’ve done it right and know what you’re talking about, try describing the main point to someone without actually referring to your notes.

back to top

Study tips for ADD students

Study tips for ADD students

  1. Divide your study time into parts.

Studying for a couple of hours straight is hard, even for students without ADD. That’s why it’s vital to have breaks every so often.

How do you do this the right way?

To prevent procrastination, set an alarm reminding you to go back to work.

  1. List the tasks.

Digesting well-organized information more easily is in our nature. So, put all your tasks and assignments on a list. It will help you to manage them efficiently and to have everything in order.

  1. Get rid of distracting thoughts.

Having random thoughts popping into our heads is a sort of defensive mechanism when dealing with boring tasks. If you’re struggling to focus on studying, write down everything that distracts you on a piece of paper, then put it away until you finish studying.

  1. Test yourself.

Even if you think you’ve memorized the new material, testing your knowledge isn’t a bad idea. It usually turns out that you need a little more time to actually remember the information.

  1. Make it graphic.

Draw mind maps in order to put the ideas on paper and show the relations between them. This tip will be especially useful if you struggle with listing out thoughts.

  1. Break down assignments.

As with dividing up your total studying time, you can also divide up huge tasks into smaller pieces. They won’t seem that hard and will be easier to manage. As a result, you’ll get a more stable workflow.

Reward yourself

  1. Reward yourself.

You can set up a system with rewards and achievements for finishing certain tasks. It will serve as a motivation boost that will help you to keep going.

  1. Don’t overestimate.

This doesn’t mean that you need to have lower expectations of your performance. But they at least need to be closer to reality. Putting more pressure on yourself with a huge amount of challenging tasks is very likely to end up with lots of stress.

  1. Decrease the level of distraction.

Some say that listening to music while studying makes the process more pleasant; however, it can distract you quite a lot. In order for music to interfere less with your studying, listen to instrumental or orchestral music, or any other music without lyrics.

  1. Involve active reading.

This is one of the study techniques that help you to comprehend the material easier.

Here’s how:

Skim the text before reading it in full to see what’s coming up. Make questions based on chapter titles and answer them while reading. Notice the main points in the text, review them and take notes.

  1. Think about studying with a partner.

Some people get more distracted by others during the studying process, while others feel that working together with someone makes it more exciting and helps to stay focused. Decide which option works for you to improve the process.

  1. Change the location.

If you feel less productive at home, try other places that have fewer distractions. It can be an empty classroom, library or any other place that will help you to stay on track.

Ask for help

  1. Ask for help.

It sure is good to be able to study productively on your own. But if something is unclear or confusing, it’s fine to ask your teacher or tutor for help. Don’t be afraid to ask. Organize a meeting where you’ll get all the answers to your questions. This is one of the obvious ADHD study tips. Still, many students ignore it.

  1. Use color-coding.

You can apply it to almost anything. Color-code your notes, files, texts, schedules, etc. This will involve visual memory.

Want to know what’s even better?

Color-coding will help improve your overall performance, as you’ll be able to keep track of things more efficiently.

  1. Face the challenges.

This one helps deal with ADHD in college. While it’s great to aim for the stars, you also need to be aware that accidents happen. So, give your inner perfectionist a break. Even if something doesn’t work, you can always try again later.

  1. Involve multitasking.

If it keeps you going, you can easily do two things at once. It can prevent you from getting bored and losing productivity.

  1. Make soft transitions.

After finishing one task, don’t start doing another one right away. Take a short break to be able to gather all your thoughts and set goals for the next task.

  1. Stay away from work… for some time, at least.

It sure is great to have a part-time job and have some extra money. But studying still needs to be your number one priority. The lack of focus won’t get you anywhere.

  1. Make the most of available resources.

Learning centers, libraries, and tutoring services are there to help you out if you’re experiencing difficulties. So, don’t ever hesitate to use this help.

  1. Don’t leave it for later.

If you know you need help and there’s nothing you can do on your own, ask for it right away. Deal with problems when they appear.

You know why?

If you set them aside until the end of the semester, it will require much more effort to make things better.

Stay in touch with your parents

  1. Stay in touch with your parents.

There’s no support as good as the support you get from your parents. A short chat with them can easily lower the level of stress and prevent you from breaking down.

  1. Prepare your computer.

Apart from installing the software you need for keeping notes and saving files, get rid of all the junk and create the necessary folders. And most importantly, remove all the distracting bookmarks from your browser. You know you’re going to use the Internet a lot, so make sure that nothing is in the way.

  1. Make your smartphone unreachable.

If your smartphone keeps distracting you and you spend hours on random apps, make it hard to reach. Plug it in and leave it somewhere in the distance, so you have to put in effort to get to it.

  1. Keep it simple.

As crazy as it may sound, don’t try to make everything complicated if things are going “too well”. It only means that you’re doing everything right.

  1. Exercise.

Exercise boosts your brain activity. Next time you decide to take a break between studying subjects, take a walk instead of just sitting around.

back to top

Study skills & ADD strategies

Study skills & ADD strategies

  1. Know yourself.

You need to know what you’re good and bad at. This will help you to take the right path and do things that bring you enjoyment instead of stress and frustration.

  1. Start earlier.

If you’re just about to start your studying and there’s an opportunity to take summer classes, take it. It will give you a taste of what studying is really like and make the transition easier.

  1. Begin with the hardest…

Naturally, we start to lose attention and power during long hours of work or studying. That’s why you should start with the tasks you don’t like. If the tasks get easier and more enjoyable, it will help you to stay focused.

  1. …or vice versa.

You can begin with easier tasks too. You won’t get distracted from doing your least favorite tasks if you start with appealing ones. And they will help you to get into a rhythm that will keep you going until the very end.

  1. SQ3R.

Does it make any sense? It sure will now. SQ3R stands for this: survey, question, read, recite, review. It’s a reading comprehension method that makes digesting material more effective.

  1. Mix it up.

When planning your classes and courses, make the harder ones interchange with easier ones. Also, make it different for each day. For instance, have one day with a heavy workload and the next one with a lighter workload.

  1. Keep it regular.

You need to study regularly. Keep in mind that once you lose the pace, it will be difficult to get back on track.

Involve audio

  1. Involve audio.

Audiotaping the lectures can help if you struggle to keep up with writing everything down. And listening to those lectures again will help you to revise the material and remember it better. This is one of the ADHD college tips that is definitely worth trying.

  1. Stay offline.

If you have a choice between online courses and actual classes, the latter is better. It’s easier to lose focus with online courses, while classes will provide you with more structured materials and studying processes.

  1. Join forces.

It’s always great to have people who share the same interests around. Clubs make it possible for you to find such people. Join a club and you’ll always have someone to talk to and to ask for help if you need it.

  1. Get fun out of the way.

It may sound crazy at first.

But, surprisingly, this ADHD strategy actually works. If you rush your studying in order to get as quickly as possible to the part when you’re having fun, allow yourself to have fun first. Set the timer for about an hour. Then, after you’ve had your fun, do what you have to do with a clear mind.

  1. Let procrastination in… for a little while.

This goes together with the multitasking we talked about earlier, as well as with the previous tip. If you don’t have a deadline, and you get a random urge to clean up your room, let it happen and then go back to studying. You’ll spend less time on doing both tasks than on doing the two of them separately.

  1. Set specific goals.

Studying “just because you have to” will never work. You need to set specific goals for yourself. Make ones that are short-term, and complete them to reach a long-term goal. Think of something you want to achieve and you’ll get there eventually. This is one of the ADHD study skills worth developing.

Concentrate the right way

  1. Concentrate the right way.

Have a symbol that you’ll associate with studying. It can be whatever you want. Put it in sight before starting to work. It will help you to concentrate, as well as start a routine that will get you going.

  1. Avoid wrong associations.

If you’ve noticed that your thoughts start wandering, stop working for a while. You don’t want your study items to be associated with daydreaming. After a short break, it’ll be easier to get back on track.

  1. Read with pauses.

If you have a hard time concentrating on reading, try stopping for 10 seconds after each finished page. Even though it will increase your total studying time, you’ll be able to digest the information better.

  1. Set unfinished business aside.

Not studying, though. If you have any unfinished tasks, don’t start them just before you’re about to study. You’ll avoid wasting your time and won’t have a habit of starting things at the last second.

  1. Free your mind.

Don’t let the thoughts of what you need to do later prevent you from completing current tasks. Instead, put them on paper. As a result, you’re free of distractions, and there’s a reminder of what else awaits you that you can deal with later.

Stay relaxed

  1. Stay relaxed.

Studying while you’re stressed will only make things worse. You don’t need to think of studying as something worrying and unpleasant. Use methods of relaxation that work the best for you, so that you can start studying in a good mood.

  1. Don’t be afraid to overlearn.

Don’t deprive yourself of extra studying time just because someone says it’s “too much”. If you need one more hour to learn certain material properly, take it.

  1. Be aware of your learning style.

Your learning style can be kinesthetic (the most common among ADHD learning styles), auditory or visual.

Now, here’s what you should do:

Find the studying approach that suits you the most. And if it doesn’t bring the desired results, move on to the next one. If you work with a tutor, let them know about your learning style, so they’ll have a better idea of how to help you study more efficiently.

  1. Create a study guide… and go beyond it.

Making your own study guide helps to outline the most important information and makes your studying more structured. You’ll also be able to find additional materials in case there’s something missing or unclear.

  1. Take quizzes.

We’ve already talked about making tests for yourself to make sure you’ve memorized everything.

But there’s one more test taking strategy for ADHD students that you should try.

Take different types of tests and quizzes. This way, you’ll not only be familiar with the material itself, but also with tasks you’ll have to complete on a real test.

  1. Begin from the end.

Before starting a certain task, first, go through questions and summaries. This will give you a clearer understanding of the main idea and what this topic is all about.

  1. Question everything.

There’s no such thing as too many study tips for ADHD college students.

Apart from reading the questions before learning the topic, come up with your own questions too. Make them based on titles and subheadings. You can also come up with questions while reading. It helps to understand the text and get the most out of it.

If you’re interested in finding out more about ADD and ways to cope with it, check out this Attention Deficit Disorder Handbook.

Results won’t come in a single day and great study skills still require a certain amount of work. In order to improve your performance and make the most of these ADHD strategies, you need time and dedication. Blindly following these study tips and study techniques isn’t enough. You need to be ready for changes and be determined to get better at what you do. In the end, you’ll see that these strategies for ADHD students do work. Aim for success and you’ll reach it without a doubt.

Dual Enrollment? Yep.

The face of education is changing each and every day.  Things that were not even crossing our minds five years ago are now expected. One of those things is dual enrollment.  Never heard of it?  Read below. 

Note: This post is available in original form at http://www.straighterline.com/blog/what-is-dual-enrollment/  and was composed by Beth Dumbauld of straighterline.com. 


What is dual enrollment, and is it something aspiring college students should do? If you are a high school student who wants to get some or all of your college core courses completed by the time you graduate high school, there are several things you’ll need to do to get started.

You’ll want to know exactly what your state requires — minimum GPA, the number of courses or hours you can take, whether or not the college or university you want to attend accepts all or only some of your dual enrollment courses and much, much more.

The requirements can be quite different from state to state. Not all colleges and universities unconditionally accept dual enrollment courses for credit. We have some resources for you to read that will help you figure out what your state requires and how you can start the dual enrollment process.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, dual enrollment is defined as “…students enroll in postsecondary coursework while also enrolled in high school…”or put another way, it is when high school students (usually juniors and seniors) earn college credits while enrolled in separate courses that are not part of their high school curriculum. This is known as concurrent enrollment. You may also see “early college” as a way to describe dual enrollment.

Dual credit” refers to students who earn academic credits at two institutions — their high school and a college or university that participates in dual enrollment programs.

Some typical classes that are offered for dual enrollment courses include:

If you are a home-schooled student and are interested in dual enrollment classes, you’re also eligible to take them, as long as you meet all of your state’s requirements.

Why Should I Consider Dual Enrollment?

There are several reasons why high school students should work with their parents and school to participate in dual enrollment programs. These benefits include:

  • Getting multiple credits either at a reduced cost or free, depending upon state programs
  • Save money on tuition costs, which will reduce total student debt for college grads
  • Allow economically disadvantaged students the opportunity to take college level courses through state programs– an opportunity they might not otherwise have
  • The dual enrollment classes high school students take may transfer to higher education institutions, depending upon the school
  • High school students who complete dual enrollment classes that are accepted for graduation requirements could graduate early and get a head start in beginning their careers
  • Many dual enrollment classes are offered online, so if the college or university you are interested in is not within driving distance, you can still take their classes

According to Jackie Weisman, a Program Associate with Sonjara, Inc., ” I was a dual enrollment student as a high school junior and senior (2000, 2001) at Chesapeake Community College and I truly feel like it gave me a leg up on the ‘college experience’. I remember at the time feeling like I was being given a taste of what college would be like from registering, purchasing books and actually attending and successfully completing the classes.”

However, there can be some drawbacks to participating in dual enrollment programs:

  • Students who are heavily involved in athletics or other extracurricular activities may find they don’t have enough time to do well in dual enrollment courses
  • Not completing, or getting a poor grade in dual enrollment courses are part of the high school transcript; this could negatively impact the student’s ability to get accepted at the college of her choice
  • Depending upon the school, dual enrollment courses may not be accepted for credit; without doing some research into the courses and the schools a student wants to attend, this could end up wasting time taking classes that won’t count
  • High school teachers who teach dual enrollment courses may not be as qualified as professors at the college or university level; your knowledge may not be as in-depth at the end of the course.

It seems like participating in dual enrollment programs carry some risk! However, this article goes over the basics at a high level, and there are resources you can research and find out exactly what the requirements are for your state and school. Before you commit to completing dual enrollment courses, be honest with yourself and look at your school schedule and lifestyle.

Do you have the time, energy and motivation to complete dual enrollment courses? Is tutoring help available in case you get stuck on understanding course concepts?

If you said “Yes” to this, then read on!

Who Is Eligible To Take Dual Enrollment Courses?

According to the Education Commission of the States, most states require potential dual enrollment participants to be in either the 10th or the 11th grade. However, some states waive this requirement if a student is considered to be gifted. Several states require a minimum GPA, including Alabama, Florida and Louisiana. Some of these specify a GPA of 2.0 out of 4.0.

States like Hawaii, California and New Mexico require written approval and recommendation from school officials for dual enrollment participation. Students in Oregon, Ohio and Kentucky must meet post-secondary admission requirements before being allowed to take dual enrollment courses. These requirements may vary from college to college, so you’ll need to work with the appropriate admissions office to get specifics.

Want to try an online class? Take two free lessons on us today!

How Do I Get Started On Attending Dual Enrollment Courses?

The process varies from state-to-state. In general, students should discuss their interest with parents and school officials. Multiple states require minimum scores on tests like PSAT, ACT or college placement tests. These states include Arizona, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Other states do not have documented processes, so students in these states Alaska, Georgia and the District of Columbia.

Open enrollment is not an option. Threshold requirements exist to ensure students have the best possible chance of successfully completing course requirements to earn a passing grade.

Is There A Limit On Dual Enrollment Courses I Can Take?

There are wildly varying limits, depending upon which state the student is in. In general, the caps on taking dual enrollment classes tend to be high, so it would be difficult to max out for most high school students. Some states have no set state policy, such as Alabama, Delaware, Missouri, Nebraska, and Arkansas. Florida states a student must be enrolled to earn at least 12 credit hours, but not more than 15 per semester. Iowa caps the number at 24 semester hours per academic year. Minnesota does not define hours but defines caps in course work years.

How Are Grades Calculated For Dual Enrollment Courses?

It is up to individual school districts to develop and apply a weighted grade or score on high school transcripts. Examples include Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Before enrolling in dual courses, review the grading/weighting/scoring criteria and methods with your individual school district. You should also discuss dual enrollment course grading with the college/university admissions offices you are considering applying to.

How Hard Are Dual Enrollment Courses?

If you already have completed challenging high school courses, you should feel confident about tackling college class work for dual enrollment purposes. However, unlike high school, where you go to class every day, most college and university courses only meet once or twice a week. In between times, you are expected to read and understand large amounts of textbook content, so you’ll need to budget time during the day and evening to keep up with the course pace.

If the textbook is hard to understand, you will need to make time to email or call the professor or find a tutor to help you. Tutoring will cost extra money, so consider how you would accomplish this.

Another consideration for dual enrollment courses is that you may have fewer projects to complete, but each one has a large percentage of your final grade. If you miss one major assignment, this could cause you to fail the class.

This is not to discourage you from taking dual enrollment classes but be realistic in your time and expectations.

Want to see how it works? Take two free lessons on us today!

Does Taking Dual Enrollment Courses Help Me During The Admissions Process?

If you’re considering taking dual enrollment classes, you need to research the admissions process for the colleges or universities you are interested in. For example, some colleges consider dual enrollment courses to be “double dipping.” If you don’t carefully research before taking the classes, you could find that your time and energy would have been better spent doing other things!

Are you a student athlete who wants to compete in your sport at the college or university level? There are NCAA considerations you need to understand. For example, if you want to take dual enrollment classes at a community college, but plan on attending a major university, those community college credits may impact your eligibility to play competitively. In addition, those credits may not be accepted for graduation purposes at the larger college or university. Again, doing some research and asking questions ahead of time may save you from being negatively impacted.

On the other hand, taking dual enrollment courses casts you in a favorable light, because you’ve shown motivation and initiative in demonstrating how committed you are to getting a college education.

Kristen Moon of Moon Prep LLC said ” As an independent college counselor, I always get the questions: “Will this help me with the admissions process? The answer is yes. Dual enrollment programs show initiative on the part of the student. It also shows a love of learning and an eagerness to challenge yourself. With the college admissions process more competitive than ever, students need an edge and dual enrollment can provide one.”

Some Final Words On Dual Enrollment Courses

You can see there are many advantages and benefits to researching on, planning for and completing dual enrollment courses. Here’s how you do it:

  • Talk to your school officials and find out everything you need to do in order to qualify for taking dual enrollment classes
  • Research the colleges and universities you’re considering applying to — get in-depth information from the admissions offices on whether or not credits fully transfer and if you are impacting your eligibility requirements by taking dual enrollment classes
  • Look at your schedule to see if you can budget enough time to successfully take and pass dual enrollment classes
  • If everything looks right for your situation, enroll and attend classes

Are you ready to explore dual enrollment requirements and qualifications now? Here’s an in-depth guide that breaks down eligibility requirements for each state.

%d bloggers like this: