College Executive Function Coaching
Self-Management Skills for College Students
College-age students often struggle as they learn to independently manage themselves. Weaknesses in Executive Function skills can become more apparent in the less structured environment of college life.
Students or parents may notice:
- Organizational challenges - the student has difficulty organizing class materials, may lose track of syllabi and assignment due-dates, may not know how to approach writing assignments or long-term projects
- Behavior or emotion management challenges - the student may have poor coping skills for stress, may not resist online or social distractions, has difficulty settling down to do work and persisting with challenging or tedious tasks
- Time management challenges - the student leaves work until the last minute, may be overscheduled and stressed, may not know how to maintain a work schedule
- Academic challenges - the student lacks persistence or often does not complete or even start assignments, may do poorly on tests due to ineffective study habits, may lose credit for late assignments, may not know how to take notes in class
Parents may wonder:
- How will my college student resist distractions and get work done on his/her own?
- Why does my college student call me to help with academic problems?
- How will I know if my college student is keeping up with his/her workload?
Often for the first time, college students lack scheduled school or parent support and must plan and take the initiative to stay on track. Parents are faced with a dilemma as they wonder how to provide support without hindering their student’s independence and self-confidence. Meanwhile, parents worry about jeopardizing their investment in tuition if students cannot maintain the grades required for graduation.
What Executive Function Skills are Expected in College?
College is an important time for the continued refinement of Executive Function skills. These include:
- Self-regulation - managing strong emotions and inhibiting impulsive behaviors
- Attention - sustaining focus, especially for lengthy or challenging tasks
- Task Initiation - starting a non-preferred task
- Organization - keeping track of materials, organizing ideas and information for essays and research papers, managing digital data and files
- Planning and Prioritizing - mapping out multi-step tasks such as long-term class projects and judging which assignments are most important to tackle first
- Time Management - allocating time for work and other commitments, getting to class on time and prepared
- Cognitive Flexibility - taking the perspective of teachers and peers, formulating different solutions to problems
While some students seem to develop these skills seamlessly over their academic careers, many struggle and benefit from a level of direct 1:1 instruction and support that is unavailable in most colleges.
How Executive Function Coaches Help College Students
Our coaches work with college students to:
- Learn and practice methods to cope with test anxiety and stress
- Learn and apply strategies to stay on task and maintain attention
- Learn how to get work started and persist with challenging work
- Develop personalized systems to organize materials and work areas
- Develop systems to start and complete writing assignments
- Learn how to break assignments into smaller parts and plan when to do work
- Develop self-reflection skills to help students take ownership of new habits
- Identify and use technology that improves their productivity
- Learn how to study and take tests effectively
- Gain insight about what motivates them, and use that knowledge to be productive
- Learn how to advocate for themselves with instructors
- Learn strategies to plan for life post-college
Find out how Executive Function coaching can benefit your college student.