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Academic Support: How to succeed

Office of Student Retention and Success

How to succeed module

Module Objective

After completing this module, you will understand Growth Mindset and Grit. 

You won't be afraid to fail. 

You will be more persistent.

Will Smith wisdom

Will Smith on Failing Forward 1:35

“Seek failure because that’s where growth is.”

1. Introduction to Growth Mindset and Grit

Having a "Growth Mindset" and "Grit" are two ideas that are very popular today - employers look for these qualities in young graduates, and, of more immediate importance, cultivating these qualities NOW (before graduating) will help you achieve your potential at AUD. 

Improving our academic performance, becoming a better student, doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and commitment. It takes practice, but ANYONE can become a better student. The following videos introduce the ideas of "Growth Mindset" and "Grit"

  • GROWTH MINDSET is the idea and a way of thinking that says: I can get better. I can change. I may not be perfect, but I can improve. 
  • GRIT is the value or the quality in a person that helps them keep trying. Their perseverance and the ability to get back up even after failure.

Current research shows that a positive Growth Mindset and Grit are many, many times more important to SUCCESS than "talent" or "IQ." 

Think about something "you are good at"... (anything: cooking, sports, art)  It's something you do A LOT. Right? It is something you practice. Right? 

Now, think about something that is difficult for you... (anything: math, writing, focusing)

  • A GROWTH MINDSET says that you may not be good at it YET, but you just need to practice!
  • GRIT is what will help you try and try again, even if it's painful or boring. 

We are used to practicing to improve at sports or music, but it's a bit of a new idea to think about practicing "being a student." Let's go there. 

Check out these videos... 

2. Growth Mindset

Khan Academy talks with Stanford Professor Carol Dweck about her research on the Growth Mindset (3:06 min)

"A growth mindset is when students believe that their abilities can be developed."

An animated explanation of the Growth Mindset (2:09).

"You can improve through practice!"

free e-book

3. Grit

Angela Duckworth, PhD  on  What is grit?  (3:30 min.)

“Talent exists… but we under-estimate how much affect effort, practice, & time-on-task has on performance.” 


Reshma Saujani on how to Teach girls bravery, not perfection (2:39 min)

“It is not a question of ability. It’s how [we are taught] to approach a challenge.”