By Paul Culp, MA (Oxon.), CFT, GCDF, CCSP

Time for another academic year to launch, and we continue now with taking last year’s Ten Commandments (and Then Some) for College Success and breaking it up into bite-size bits for busy people. We hope you’ll read the whole series. Forward, onward, and upward:

The Seventh Commandment for College Success: 

Thou shalt highlight.

Highlighting can seem like a drain on your time while you’re doing it—since it usually involves reading the passage once and then reading it again as you go back and highlight it—but in the long run it’s a significant time-saver. One approach to it is to highlight only the truly outstanding facts or salient points and use them to jog your memory when you revisit the text. That can be highly valuable, but If you take things a step farther and highlight everything that’s absolutely necessary to the argument or narrative, instead of just, well, “hitting the highlights,” you will in effect have created a condensed book that you can quickly re-read instead of having to read the whole thing again, or instead of seeing a few isolated highlighted portions and having to go back and figure out why they’re significant.

college success

We strongly recommend reading back over your highlights the day after you make them, or even in the evening of the day you make them, as well as looking over them in preparing for tests. Highlighting is a key component in the gradualist approach to learning that eschews cramming and staves off exam crises.

Be sure not to try to stretch the life of a felt-tip highlighter too long. Depending on the texture of the paper in the book you’re reading, the highlighting may fade over time—very little time—if it wasn’t heavy enough to begin with. The peril is obvious. See next commandment for painful example from real life.

Yes, copious highlighting can reduce the resale value of your books, but if the most lucrative way to get rid of your books is your paramount concern, you surprise us by even reading this article.

That’s your Seventh Commandment for college success. We hope you have read or will read the first six and that you’ll return for the last three.

Getting into the college of your choice and finding the wherewithal to pay for it is wonderful. That’s what The Coaching Educator is here to help you do. But that’s not the only reason we’re here. We also try to be expert in all things related to college success, and to pass that knowledge on to our student/clients and our readers. The quest for college success begins with the college search process and continues until you take your diploma and shake hands with the president.

To learn more about our philosophy and capabilities, be sure to watch our free webinars, listen to our podcasts, sign up for our four-week College App Boot Camp, consider our Ultimate Programs and our special services for athletes and performing-arts students, and book a consultation to hear what we can do for you and how we do it. Keep reading this blog, and look for us on social media (see links below) as we keep our clients and admirers advised of new developments in our effort to help students get into and succeed at the right school.

Paul Culp is certified as a global career development facilitator and writes about college admissions, college costs, financial aid, and college life in general for The Coaching Educator team. A former journalist and corporate ghostwriter who now operates Shenandoah Proofreading, Editing & Composition Services (SPECS), he has also been a humanities teacher at all levels from university down to sixth grade. Paul has degrees from Oxford University, Jacksonville State University, and Samford University, and also is certified as a fitness trainer.

Image: Moses Receiving the Tablets of the Law by Marc Chagall.

Recommended Reading About College Success

Culp, Paul. “Beyond Tuition, Fees, and Books: The Other Costs of College,” The Coaching Educator, 7 June 2018, http://tce.local/2018/06/07/beyond-tuition-fees-and-books-the-other-costs-of-college/

Culp, Paul.”Getting to Grips With Test Anxiety,” The Coaching Educator, 28 November 2018, http://tce.local/2018/11/28/getting-to-grips-with-test-anxiety/

Culp, Paul. “More Than Half of American College Students Leave Without a Degree. Here’s Why,” The Coaching Educator, 8 September 2018, http://tce.local/2018/09/08/more-than-half-of-american-college-students-leave-without-a-degree-heres-why/

Culp, Paul “The Myth and Madness of Multitasking,” The Coaching Educator, 18 November 2018, http://tce.local/2018/11/18/the-myth-and-madness-of-multitasking/

Culp, Paul. “The Prez, the Prov, the Profs, the Veep, and the Redge: Who’s Who on Campus,” The Coaching Educator, 17 December 2018, http://tce.local/2018/12/17/the-prez-the-prov-the-profs-the-veeps-and-the-redge-whos-who-on-campus/

Culp, Paul. “Remedial Nation: The Ghastly State of College Preparedness,” The Coaching Educator, 19 January 2019, http://tce.local/2019/01/19/remedial-nation-the-ghastly-state-of-college-preparedness/

Culp, Paul. “These Go to Eleven: Our All-Star Lineup of College Illnesses,” The Coaching Educator, 19 October 2019, http://tce.local/2018/10/09/these-go-to-eleven-our-all-star-lineup-of-college-illnesses/

Culp, Paul. “What the Cap and Gown Mean and Why They Matter,” The Coaching Educator, 21 December 2018, http://tce.local/2018/12/21/what-the-cap-and-gown-mean-and-why-they-matter/

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