Reflecting on the material you have read and analyzing it critically can help you decide what aspects are most helpful to your academic success. After reviewing and interacting with Great Start’s Unit 2: Student Success, and learning what a SWOT analysis is and how to conduct one, it is time to apply the SWOT analysis to Great Start.
Reflect on the material below to complete the SWOT Analysis attached. Use what you learned about the SWOT analysis in this module and in the required resources to complete the template.
Taking Ownership of your Success
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
Success. It’s a simple, yet complex, word that has different meanings for different people from different walks of life. At the same time, success means the same thing for many others. For example, being a senior executive at a large corporation, having the biggest house in the neighborhood, or perhaps a certain social status in the community. The fact is, everyone views success through their own lens.
It is important to remember that success is not necessarily an outcome. Instead, it is an ongoing process. Better yet … success is a journey toward a destination, not the destination itself.
The following are three ways to change the way you think about success (Goins, 2015):
People who act like amateurs are often treated as amateurs. On the other hand, people who act professional receive their due respect. If you act the part, then everything else will follow suit. In other words … Own your success. Start living in your new identity.
The simple fact is if you don’t start today, you probably never will. Just commit yourself to something actionable. You don’t have to finish what you start right away… you just have to begin. The purpose behind starting something is to create momentum. Momentum leads to accomplishment. Accomplishment then leads to success.
Quite often, we mistakenly believe that people who are more successful than us worked harder to get where they are today. That’s not necessarily true. In fact, truly successful people learn to work better … and to work smarter. Speaking of which, the same is true of intelligence. It’s not always the smartest people who necessarily succeed. Rather, its’s those who use what they have inside – that burning desire to do the best job possible with what’s available to them – that creates the biggest impact.
Adapting to the Online experience
If you have never taken online classes before, the transition to a 100% online program can be daunting. There are many differences between face-to-face programs and online programs. One is not necessarily easier than the other, but certain personalities may find one or the other fits better with their learning preference. The good news is, by being vigilant with a calendar and setting aside scheduling time, students can adapt to the online environment and be successful.
Utilizing your learning preference
Each one of us has our own distinct abilities and personality which influences the way in which we live, work, and learn. In terms of learning, researchers have proposed that we each have our own “preference” for gathering, processing, and synthesizing information into useful knowledge. As a learner, acknowledging your personal characteristics and identifying how they influence your learning is necessary in order to determine the learning strategies that will be most effective for you during your time at the University and beyond. In particular, understanding your learning preference will help you to identify your preferences when encountering new or challenging information. Given that there are many different preferences for learning, you may find that there is not a “one size fits all” approach that works for you. In fact, many individuals learn most effectively when they are presented with information in a variety of formats.
Visual learning falls into two categories: reading text and reading diagrams, charts, or other visual representations. You engage in visual learning when you encounter new information from reading about something or seeing pictures and graphic representations of the images.
Auditory learning involves hearing. You engage in auditory learning when you hear a lecture, performance, or recording, engage in a discussion, or even read aloud to yourself.
Kinesthetic learning involves learning through motion and touch. You engage in kinesthetic learning when you use interactive games, experiment with hands-on exercises, take instructional tours, or even simply make your own notes in the margins of a book.
By recognizing your learning style(s), you can establish study techniques and approaches which will enrich the quality and efficiency of your learning process. In addition to identifying your learning style, it is also imperative to consider your “mindset.” Your “mindset” is your perception of your qualities, capabilities, and potential.
College is an intense and life-changing experience as we learn to adopt a new perspective of thought. This requires commitment and much time in study, research, and writing, all of which require more time than we realize. Graduate students will take fewer courses than undergraduate students, but their courses are more intense and require deep, critical thinking, which requires time and energy. At its heart, attending college will absorb more of your time than you realize and will squeeze you for energy and mental attention and focus in areas of your life where you may not even expect it.
Time tips/Know the structure of your program
What courses do you need, when are they offered, and what else is going on in your life when you take those courses? Planning rigorous coursework outside of times of heavy personal demands can reduce the stress associated with time management and avoid potential setbacks.
Prepare for the workload
Focus accordingly. Use free time for school and don’t let it get in the way of your day job. Having read this you must now consider whether or not there are crossovers between work for the job and work for education. There are times when projects at work will provide a good context for school projects. It’s always important to make sure that the employer understands what you are doing and how the structure of an academic project may result in useful work product. The benefit is that the time associated with work and school projects is maximized.
Manage the isolation
If university isn’t challenging enough, in an online program we can feel isolated and adrift, especially if we are challenged by an assignment. And with this isolation can come feelings of hopelessness that also eat away at our time. Staying connected can help. If you are taking a challenging course, schedule a short phone call with your faculty several times during the course to stay connected and ask questions or for clarification on feedback to an assignment. The Commons is also a space to see what others share about these situations, their successes, and their challenges. It’s worth a few moments each week to check in The Commons and participate.
Take care of yourself
With juggling education and life responsibilities comes stress and stress is oftentimes a determinant of illness. At some point in your educational career you will need to take a short break from classes to catch up on personal responsibilities and obligations. It’s important to adhere to a timeline, but knowing when to step back is important too. An eight week break may get in the way of our personal goal of graduating at a certain time. But an unforeseen illness can work to delay our goals even farther. Know yourself and know your limitations and make good decisions.
Online learning gives many students the opportunity to access educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom; however, this reliance on technology also brings with it the potential for technical challenges. But there are always people available to help you, no matter what issue you may encounter!
Common technical issues
Log in issues: If you have problems logging into your student account (NCUOne and/or email) for the first time (or at any time), please contact the service desk right away. It is preferable to call as they will help you much faster. But if you need to email them, you can do that as well. If you are also having email issues, please use your personal email address to contact them to report the issue. The service desk can be reached via phone (888.628.1567) or email (
Communication issues: Occasionally students have reported that their faculty have not replied to their emails. This has mostly happened with new students. If you suspect this is happening (e.g., your faculty has not responded to your email in a timely manner), you can reach out to your faculty via phone or send an email from your personal email account. Your faculty can let you know if emails are being sent and received on their end. Then follow up with the service desk for a quick resolution to this problem.
Content issues: Sometimes you may encounter a broken link or “dead link” in one of your classes. Content does sometimes disappear from the internet without warning or get moved to a new address, even within our own pages. If this happens, let your faculty know immediately. Your faculty will contact someone in course development to repair the broken link or remove it from the course. Keep in mind that your faculty are not able to edit course content so this could take a couple of days. If needed, your faculty will come up with an alternative resource for you to use to complete the assignment.
Outage issues: Sometimes you will experience a power outage or internet outage at a very inconvenient time. If possible, you should go to a location where you can use free internet, such as a public library, Starbucks, or McDonalds. If it is not possible, reach out to your faculty for an extension on your assignment. Explain the situation and when you expect it to be resolved. It is wise to come up with a back-up plan if you experience such outages in your area frequently, so you don’t fall behind in your coursework when these happen.
Goins, J. (2015).
Art of work: A proven path to discovering what you were meant to do. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books.
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