Why the “Learning Styles” Concept is Wrong (And What to Use Instead)

I first learned about learning styles from my middle school guidance counselor. Standing before the class in our monthly “guidance” session, she gave the following proclamation:

“There are three learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. This test will help you determine which style comes most naturally to you.”

We nodded our heads, picked up our pencils, and took the test just like any other. Once the counselor guided us through the test’s complicated rubric, I found that my learning style was visual. I carried that knowledge with me through the rest of school and never questioned it.

I’ve always loved this neat explanation of three learning styles, and I’ve even used it to justify why I struggled with subjects such as math (“it’s just not visual enough,” I’d complain to my mom, even though the very visual subject of geometry was one I struggled with the most).

So you can imagine my surprise when after nearly ten years of believing in it, I learned that the traditional idea of learning styles is wrong.

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Hard Skills Vs. Soft Skills: Why You Need Both to Succeed

Imagine two people are interviewing for a job. On paper, both candidates are very qualified. They both have degrees from prestigious schools, high GPAs, and a few years of relevant work experience.

Going into the interview, both are well-prepared. They’ve practiced all the common interview questions, dressed for success, and are ready to throw down.

After speaking to both of them, however, the interviewer’s decision isn’t even a hard one. One candidate clearly outshone the other – hiring them was a no-brainer. How can this be?

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10 Myths About Your First Year of College

If you’re a college student in the U.S., you’ll likely start classes in a week or so (if you haven’t already). For many of you, this will be your first semester of college.

Since I’m about to start my senior year, I’ve been reflecting on all the things I’ve done and learned over the past three years. It’s hard to believe it’s gone so fast.

As I reflect, I realize that much of college was very different from what I had imagined and what other people had told me.

Nowhere was this more true than my first year of college.

There are a lot of myths floating around out there about your freshman year. Some of them contain truth, but many of them unnecessarily fill first year students with dread. Which sucks, because you’ve got enough to think about as it is.

To help you start your semester a little more blissfully, today’s post will debunk ten common myths about your first year of college. Read More…

Cultivate Creativity to Study Better and Dominate Assignments

What comes to mind when you hear the word “creativity”? A painter toiling away at a canvas into the wee hours of the morning? A composer spending hours on a new piece until it’s perfect? Or maybe an actor bringing an audience to tears with the right word said at just the right time?

What about that final project you have due for your Intro to Anthropology class? I don’t know about you, but if you’d asked me a couple years ago if creativity had anything to do with course work, I probably would have said something like,

“Well, sure, but only if you have a creative major like art, creative writing, music, drama, or dance.”

What I’ve realized lately, however, is that my assumptions were all wrong. Creativity absolutely has a place in your studies, no matter what your major is. To excel at college-level work, you have to think creatively.

That’s why in today’s post I’m going to break down what exactly creativity is, how you can practice it, and how you can apply it to your studies.

Don’t worry: berets are optional.
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Achievement Addiction: How to Separate Yourself from Your Accomplishments

I have a problem that I’ve struggle with for years: I often feel that I’m only as good as what I accomplish.

Essentially, my “worth” as a person is tied up with what I do. What I produce. How many times I win.

“You’re only as good as your last gig, and your last gig sucked.” – Guitar Hero III loading screen message

I don’t know of an existing term for this issue, so I’ve coined my own: achievement addiction. I know I’m not alone in battling achievement addiction; lots of other people deal with it, and I suspect you might be one of them.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being motivated and driven. It’s completely ok to want to do lots of awesome things – normally, it’s an advantage. However, this ambition becomes a problem when we can’t separate ourselves from what we do. When we tie up our personal worth with external accomplishments, we’ll always end up dissatisfied.

In today’s post, I’m going to explore the root of this problem, as well as what you can do to break free of the cycle of achievement addiction.

If you’re a recovering achievement addict (or feel like you’re in danger of becoming one), then this post is for you. And don’t worry: the road to recovery has far fewer than twelve steps. 🙂 Read More…

How to Write a Winning College Application Essay

Ah, college application essays – the necessary evil of college-bound high school seniors everywhere. If you’ve just finished your junior year of high school, then these may very well be in your near future.

Since Thomas and Martin have been doing a series of podcast episodes about how to get into college, I thought it would be appropriate to write up an article about how to write a college application essay – one that stands out and that makes a great impression.

Maybe you’re thinking,

“Crap, how do I even write this kind of essay?”

Don’t worry. I was in your same position four years ago, and I learned a lot through both my own college application process and through my subsequent years as an English major who wields commas like shurikens.

Today I’ll share some of that knowledge and teach you how you can craft an essay that really bolsters your overall application.
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Want to Be Healthier and More Productive? Take Regular Breaks

I’ve been writing articles here at College Info Geek now for over a year (say what?). When you write enough articles for the same site, you begin to notice themes in your writing.

One of the recurring themes in my writing, I recently realized, is the importance of taking breaks. Any time I talk about how to write essays or really anything related to studying, I always mention the importance of stepping away from your work regularly.

Come to think of it, taking breaks is a frequent theme in Thomas’s videos as well. For instance, his video on dealing with student burnout mentions the importance of resting your brain as a way to combat and recover from an overloaded schedule.

Since taking breaks is such an important topic here at College Info Geek (whether we consciously knew it or not), we decided the topic was worthy of its own post. No matter what your major, I guarantee you could stand to take a break from work more often.

So come along as I explore why taking breaks is so important (as well as how you can start adding more into your schedule today).

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How to Plan an Awesome Summer Road Trip

Travel can take many forms. Whether it’s across continents or just across town, there’s nothing like a trip to refresh you, excite you, and open your mind.

For me, there’s no trip better than the summer road trip. Perhaps it’s from reading books like Blue Highways and Walden on Wheels, but there’s just something about a summer road trip that excites me. The freedom, the endless possibility, the new sights–these are part of any good trip, but I find them especially present when I get behind the wheel and set off on the sunny open road.

Even if you don’t share my nostalgic, romantic notions about road trips, there are still many good reasons to take one.
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