How to Take Ownership of Your Learning and Academic Success

A woman on her laptop and taking notes with the word "Take ownership of your learning" on top
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Taking ownership of your learning is important for all students but especially for adult learners. Once you graduate high school, you no longer have people telling you what classes you have to take. It is up to you to decide if and how you want to continue your education.

Students can take ownership of their learning by taking responsibility, setting goals, finding their motivation, and self-reflecting. They need to create a schedule, manage their time, be active learners, practice good study skills, and get help when needed.

Let’s look at what it means to take ownership of your learning, why it is important, and 10 strategies for academic ownership.

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What does it mean to take ownership of my own learning?

Student ownership of learning (also referred to as academic ownership) means that students take responsibility for their learning, growth, and academic success. They seek opportunities, knowledge, and skills to achieve their goals.

Students are active participants in their education and do not rely on their instructors. They set their own goals.

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Why should students take ownership of their learning?

Students should take ownership of their learning because it empowers them. Education is more personalized since they set goals, choose what they want to learn, and select resources. Students are more invested in learning and more likely to become lifelong learners.

There are many benefits to taking ownership of your learning, such as it:

  • requires setting goals and self-reflecting (including identifying your strengths and weaknesses)
  • gives you more autonomy and agency over your education
  • encourages you to set high expectations for yourself
  • requires initiative
  • instills a belief that you can face academic challenges and persevere
  • facilitates a growth mindsetOpens in a new tab. which is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be grown through hard work and practice
  • turns you into an active listener who asks questions and is engaged in class
  • leads to better academic success

10 academic ownership strategies

Let’s look at how to take ownership of your academic success.

1. Set goals

You have to decide what you want to achieve academically and set goals. Are you aiming for good grades? Simply completing the courses? Learning new skills?

You can set SMART goalsOpens in a new tab. and track your progress. One great way to track your progress is by journaling.

2. Make a plan

Once you have set goals, you need to make a plan to achieve those goals. This includes a long-term plan for your future and timeline and a more short-term plan, such as deciding what courses to take or books you need to get.

3. Manage time and schedule

One of the most important skills for students is time management. Once you decide on your course schedule, get a planner and make a schedule for studying and doing your work.

Create a study routine.

Learn to prioritize tasks, break down assignments into more manageable chunks, make to-do lists, and avoid procrastination.

4. Take responsibility

Taking ownership of your learning means taking responsibility for your academic success. You have to go to class on time, do the work, do more to exceed the minimum requirements, and implement feedback.

5. Practice good study skills

You need to study and practice good study skills, such as effective note-takingOpens in a new tab. and writing down key terms.

Practice active listening in class, participate in discussions, and ask questions.

Learn organizational skills for your notes and assignments.

Learn how to find reliable information and additional sources to further understand a topic.

6. Be an active learner

Being an active learner means that you take the initiative and seek out information and opportunities.

This could mean attending workshops, classes, online courses, reading books, or listening to podcasts.

You also network and try to find a mentor.

7. Go beyond what you learn in class

In courses, take it upon yourself to find additional resources and examples to help you understand the material.

Make connections to the real world, your life, and your previous knowledge. Compare and contrast differing viewpoints.

Talk to family and friends about the topic. Try to understand the topic enough that you could teach it to someone else.

Create a study guide for yourself.

8. Self-reflect

Taking ownership requires you to reflect on what is working and what isn’t and understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Learn from your mistakes and identify where you need to improve.

9. Find motivation

You are responsible for your own motivation. It isn’t up to your professor to make classes interesting enough to keep your attention. It isn’t up to friends, family, or advisors to get you to do your work and study. It is all entirely up to you.

This means that you have to find your motivation for learning and doing the work!

Remind yourself why you wanted to learn this or what you want to accomplish.

Track your progress and celebrate success!

Most people respond to bribes rewards. Reward yourself for doing what you need to do.

10. Get help

Finally, an important part of taking responsibility for your academics is realizing when to ask for help.

Find additional resources to help you understand, or ask your peers or professors. Attend office hours.

Take advantage of the resources your college offers, such as libraries, tutoring, and study groups.

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