In recent times, many parents and teachers have started focusing on and engaging in growth mindset activities for college students. Psychologist Carol Dweck, introduced the concept of a growth mindset years ago. And it can’t be stressed enough how important this is. The thing is, a person’s mindset determines the reality they experience. It influences their relationships, career, finances, health, and almost every other aspect of life. Encouraging young people to come out of their comfort zone and try new things, has such a positive effect on students’ mindsets.
It is best to work on this concept encouraging students in elementary school, middle school students, and high school students. But it is never too late to start at any age.
For college students, we can continue to focus on developing a growth mindset for our young adults. It is a perfect time to continue with this new psychology of success. This mentality will instill in them the belief that their skills, intelligence, and other aspects about them can be improved with hard work and time. But more importantly, it will change how they view challenges and obstacles in life. As such, they will be able to reach where none have ventured before and live a very fulfilled life.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to help develop this concept of a growth mindset in college students. There are many simple activities that you can do with them that will gradually rewire their brain to be more focused on growth. Remember this is a learning process and it takes time to change students’ beliefs about themselves.
Growth Mindset Activities For College Students
1) Ask Growth Mindset Questions
A wise man once said, “The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.”
Questions are one really important part of mindset interventions. They can make someone think long and hard about something that they would have never cared for before. It makes you stop and think hopefully providing critical feedback to help students grow and learn. With college students, you have to gently nudge them in the right direction. And this is where questions are so effective.
You could ask them some growth mindset questions that would encourage them to go over their mistakes, learnings, curiosities, and more in a safe space. You could ask them things like, “What lesson did you learn today?”, “What obstacle did you tackle recently?” “What has driven your curiosity lately?”, “How does it feel when you learn something new?”, etc.
2) Make Plans For Eventual Failures
Failures are inevitable parts of life. No matter who you are, you are bound to fail at times. People with a growth mindset don’t see failures as full stops. This is an important step to student success. Instead, they see them as stepping stones that they can use to get closer to their goals. The world is full of such examples.
You need to instill this way of thinking into college students too. This is because college life is when their brains are still developing and brain plasticity is still present. And so, it’s important that they don’t develop any negative attitudes towards failures. To set the right attitude though, can take a little time. You need to teach them how to think instead of what they think when they eventually face a downfall.
A great way to do this is by helping them get into the habit of making plans to deal with future failures. You can conjure up an imaginary situation where you have failed. Next, you can write down the strategies that you would use to come out of the situation and also the lessons that you learned from the experience.
Positive self-talk is an excellent tool to use to establish a growth mindset culture. Students can learn to talk themselves through the failures with positive thoughts to learn this new skill. Positive affirmations are an example of positive self-talk.
3) Help Prepare A List of Positive Affirmations for Growth Mindset Activities for College Students
Positive affirmations have been found to rewire the human brain over time. These can be used to adopt good habits, beliefs, and even enhance one’s confidence.
So, you can strategically use these affirmations to help develop a growth mindset in people. All they have to do is come up with a set of positive statements about growth, learnings, failures, self-esteem, and so on. Then they have to repeat these growth mindset phrases over and over again until they start seeming true!
50 Positive Thinking Journal Prompts
4) Shift To “How Can I Do That?”
Shifting one’s perception about a given situation can go a long way in helping them get out of it. Most people, when they come face to face with a difficult situation, tend to say, “I can’t do this.” This is the wrong answer. It keeps them from giving it a shot and they remain where they are. As is obvious, this is often the result of a fixed mindset and is quite common in college students.
To counter this, you could try this simple tip. You could encourage them to ask themselves, “How can I do that?” This immediately motivates their brains to look for answers. Then next time, they suddenly start thinking outside the box, and this is where the magic lies. Eventually, this becomes one of the best practices, and challenging situations don’t intimidate them as much.
In the words of Brian Tracy encourage your students to “Look for the good in every situation, seek the valuable lesson in every setback,
look for the solution to every problem. Think and talk continually about your goals.”
5) Read About Great Historical Figures
Sometimes, inspiration comes from the life story of other people and personal examples. Especially when they are important historical figures. Thus, one great way to shape the way someone thinks is to make them study the lives of people who left a mark in this world. When they do this, they will come to know about the enormous odds that they faced and managed to overcome them anyway.
Not only that, but they will also learn from their way of thinking and their way of looking at challenges. One of the most famous examples that is often cited is that of Thomas Edison. It is said that he failed thousands of times when he was trying to invent the light bulb. In response, he is claimed to have said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Therefore, reading about these great historical figures should definitely be a priority on your list of encouraging students with growth mindset activities.
6) Try A 30-Day Challenge
It’s only natural that it takes time to change a person’s mindset. You have to keep reinforcing a particular belief or habit to make it permanent. If you really want to encourage change and different perspectives in college students, try a challenge.
You could set up a 30-day challenge with a college student to help achieve academic success. The challenge could be about anything – reading a book, learning a new musical instrument, exercising, writing something creative, and so on. The goal is to make them realize that if they keep doing something, they will eventually learn that skill and become better at it. The growth mindset will then become their modus operandi for the rest of their lives.
Start Implementing Your Growth Mindset Activities for College Students Today
If you want to have a better chance of great success, start these activities today. It can be so easy to stay stuck in a rut. With these simple suggestions for undergraduate students (or anybody), you can begin to understand how important it is to establish a growth mindset for a lifetime of learning.
Read more about developing a growth mindset here.