Characteristics of a Successful Student: Part 2

In this portion, we will focus on staying committed to our plan in order to achieve goals. Now that we have developed a plan, we must identify principles to incorporate into our characteristics.

When I was a college sophomore, I read a book that completely changed my outlook on studying and on my life: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. The principles he identified help to shape my personal characteristics, which lead me to greater success.

Following Covey’s first three strategies helps students move from dependence to independence (i.e., self-mastery):

1 – Be Proactive

Work from the center of your personal influence and constantly work to expand it. Don’t sit and wait in a “reactive mode,” waiting for problems to happen (Circle of Concern). Take action!

2 – Begin with the End in Mind

Envision what you want in the future so you can work towards and plan for it.

3 – Put First Things First

Think about the difference between Leadership and Management. Leadership in the outside world begins with personal vision. Think about what is “important” and what is “urgent.” Priority should be given in the following order:

1) Important and Urgent

2) Important and not-urgent

3) Not Important and Urgent

4) Not important and Not urgent



The next three habits develop Interdependence (e.g. working with others):

4 – Think Win-Win

Develop strategies that are mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Show others you value and respect them by understanding that a “win” for everyone is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten their way.

5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Use empathetic listening to genuinely understand others. Compel them to reciprocate and have an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring and positive problem-solving.

6 – Synergize

Combine everyone’s strengths! Through positive teamwork you canachieve goals that no one could have done alone.



The final habit involves continuous growth in both the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence.

7 – Sharpen the Saw

Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. This can come from physical renewal like exercise, meditation, yoga, etc. and mental renewal like quality reading. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal. These habits when practiced correctly will reinforce the characteristics of a successful student!


Written by Traci B., Novastar Prep English Tutor


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