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  • Writer's pictureTatum Hutton

"Get Ahead BEFORE College with Executive Functioning Skills" A must-read for all high school students! by Tatum Hutton

Updated: Feb 9




In the dynamic landscape of academia, excelling in college requires more than just academic prowess. It demands a set of cognitive abilities collectively known as executive functioning skills. These skills serve as the bedrock for independent learning, effective decision-making, and overall success in higher education AND ADULTING.


Understanding Executive Functioning Skills:


Executive functioning skills encompass a range of mental processes that enable individuals to manage their thoughts, actions, and emotions. They include:

1. Planning and Organization: The ability to set goals, create strategies, and structure tasks efficiently.

2. Time Management: Effectively allocating time to tasks, prioritizing activities, and meeting deadlines.

3. Self-Regulation: Controlling impulses, managing emotions, and maintaining focus amidst distractions.

4. Problem-Solving: Analyzing situations, identifying solutions, and adapting strategies as needed.

5. Working Memory: Holding and manipulating information in mind while performing tasks.


These skills form the cognitive infrastructure necessary for navigating the complexities of college life, from balancing coursework to engaging in extracurricular activities and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Do yourself a favor and work on them NOW instead of in college while everyone else is having fun and managing their workload successfully. It can be a lonely and depressing place to be: but TOTALLY preventable with some effort.


The Link Between Executive Functioning and College Success:

Research consistently demonstrates the profound impact of executive functioning skills on academic achievement and overall college performance. According to a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, students with stronger executive functioning abilities tend to earn higher grades, exhibit better study habits, and experience less academic stress compared to their peers with weaker executive functions.

Furthermore, a longitudinal study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) revealed that students with well-developed executive functioning skills are more likely to persist in college, graduate on time, and thrive in their chosen careers. These findings underscore the pivotal role of executive functions in shaping long-term academic and professional outcomes.


Fostering Executive Functioning Skills:

Empowering yourself to cultivate robust executive functioning skills is essential for academic independence and success in college. Here are some practical strategies to support you:


1. Provide Structure and Routine: Establish consistent routines and schedules to help you manage your time and tasks effectively

2. Break Tasks into Manageable Steps: Break down complex assignments into smaller, actionable steps, fostering a sense of accomplishment and progress.

3. Encourage Goal Setting: Set realistic, achievable goals, and help them devise plans to attain them.

4. Promote Self-Reflection: Encourage reflection in your learning process, including what strategies were effective and areas for improvement.


By fostering these skills BEFORE college, you equip yourself with the tools needed to thrive independently in college and beyond.

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