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The WISE Students Succeed Project Guidelines

Brief Overview

This self-challenge for success project is designed for college students who want to succeed in college and beyond by applying the psychology of growth and success. Success is defined by academic (grades), developmental (sense of purpose) and psychological (emotional well-being) criteria. This student success project is based on the use of a psychological assessment tool that generates baseline and progress measures, sort of like taking before and after pictures. As outlined previously, the WISE inventory measures student strengths and weaknesses in 18 areas related to college success. By taking both baseline and progressive assessments, students are given a method with which they can accurately measure their growth, development and success.

WISE students succeed, with the feedback of the WISE assessment results, by applying a theory of growth, development and change described through the research of Prochaska, et al (1992). They have identified five stages through which success in growth and development is often attained in the adult years, when conscious and deliberate choice is necessary, unlike the childhood years when growth is more natural and most often a reflection of the interaction between nature and nurture. This “third force” for growth and development arises from the interaction of nature and nurture but comes to play the most important and central role in the human story. This third force for growth is called “self-directed” or “self-determined” or sometimes as “self-realization.” The WISE students succeed project is based on this third force.

Prochaska Model of Change and Growth in the Adult Years

1. Pre-contemplation Stage: the person or student may not even be aware that a problem exists. Completing the WISE baseline assessment moves a person from stage one to stage two. It does so by allowing a student to see how she or he measures up to other students: above, the same or below average.

2. Contemplation Stage: awareness of a problem exists but this stage entails more than simple problem identification. In contemplation, the individual comes to understand and is able to define the scope and consequences of the problem; perhaps even how to overcome or resolve the problem. However, there is not yet an acceptance of responsibility for the problem, a responsibility to act.

3. Preparation Stage: the individual has made the decision to act. An intention to change exists. But instead of impulsively doing something of short-term duration out of desperation, the individual recognizes that to succeed, setting realistic and concrete goals with action plan is necessary. Targeting areas for change and working up an action plan leads to the next stage and builds success momentum.

4. Action Taking Stage: The individual now takes action, has planned the work and now works the plan, works the steps. There is an active modification of behavior, acting in accord with the self-directed and goal-directed change. This is the proactive, success building stage.

5. Maintenance Stage: Success has been achieved but there is a tendency of sliding back to older ways. Therefore continued effort and practice engaging in the new behaviors incompatible with the old, are required to solidify and build upon the successes obtained. Retaking the WISE for post-intervention results then allows one to assess for measurable success, to consolidate gains and to maintain these new ways for success in college and life.

Four steps to the WISE project: A, B, C & D

Step A involves using the WISE software and completing the baseline assessment. This is to be completed by the 1st week of the project. Save and summarize the results on Table I.

Step B involves targeting 2 or 3 WISE scale areas to strengthen, setting concrete, doable, realistic goals for each of the 2 or 3 areas, developing an action plan to reach these goals and then implementing and working this plan for 2 to 3 months.

Step C involves using the WISE software and completing the first end-of-project assessment. Save and summarize the results on Table II.

Step D involves comparing the "finish line" to the "base line" WISE scale scores, analyzing the results, reflecting upon what helped or what hindered, and then writing up a report on what was learned and gained.

      There are three pedagogical (teaching/learning) objectives to this project. First, the project is designed to help you help yourself by strengthening ways of thinking and behaving that contribute to success in college and in life. Second, the project is designed to help you make connections between psychological concepts covered in this class and real-life application, to better understand how to apply the psychology of growth and development. And third, “writing across the curriculum” is a time-honored practice in the best colleges and universities, to help you write better, more clearly and more powerfully. As you practice writing well, you also practice thinking well, more clearly, more powerfully and more effectively. In these various ways, the WISE student succeed project is a challenge and an opportunity to grow and develop as a student and as a person.

       To summarize, in the report, you are asked to describe the “self-challenge” intervention for behavioral change you have chosen to implement for the remaining duration of the semester. The WISE scales help you measure your relative strengths and weaknesses in 18 areas related to success in college and life. By comparing your “baseline” and post-intervention “progress” scores you can determine the extent to which measurable changes and improvements have occurred.

WISE Profile Example

Guidelines on the WISE students succeed project and report