How To Help Your Student Stay Motivated At The End Of The Semester

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By Danielle Wirsansky, Uloop

It is hard to stay motivated in late fall and early winter. The hours are changing and it gets darker outside much earlier, throwing your internal clock out of whack. The holidays are fast approaching, a much needed break after several months of straight work. Your children in college are no different—they have been grueling away all semester.

Now that the end of the fall semester is drawing to a close, they can almost taste their winter breaks—sleeping in, being at home, having no classes. It can be hard for students to keep their head in the game at this juncture. They are tired of working this hard, which is understandable. But the end of the semester is when the biggest assignments are due, from final projects to final essays to final exams. This is when your student should not only have their head in the game but be at the top of their game. So how can you help keep them motivated? Read on to learn ways to help your student stay motivated at the end of the semester!

Effort Not Outcome

This is a great tip, especially for students new to college or who are majorly overwhelmed by it. It is one thing if your student is not making any effort because they have no motivation, but it is different if your student is making an effort but is still so overwhelmed that it is causing them to lose motivation. You do not want to let your student get to a point of asking, “Why bother? What’s the point? I can’t do it anyways.”

When a student loses all motivation and hope, it is incredibly difficult to help them regain it. But if you can keep at least a spark of motivation going, it will be much easier for you to keep your student going. Sometimes, a student will fail or make a mistake. It is a part of life that everyone endures. We all want to save our students from making such mistakes, but as long as your student is actively working and trying their best not to fail then they are still making strides forward.

In the end, our tip is simple: reward effort, not outcome. It is entirely possible that your student may fail their given task. But as long as they are working hard and trying not to, as long as they are putting effort in, they should be rewarded and supported. Do not lead them or allow them to believe or feel that you will be disappointed in them in them if they cannot succeed. Show that you are proud of the amount of effort they put into trying to succeed. Like they say, it is the journey, not the destination, that is important.

The Big Picture

Another tactic to try to motivate your students is to remind them of the bigger picture. A student losing motivation in a class might not realize how important that class or that grade will be in affecting their futures—remind them of the micro effects of their decisions that will have macro effects on their lives.

They do not feel like waking up at 7:30 in the morning to go take their final exam? Ask them what will happen if they do not attend or get any points from taking their final. Will they be able to pass their class? Will the final grade they get in the class be low enough to tank their overall GPA? Is the class a mandatory course that they must both take and pass in order to continue on in their major?

Is your student willing to give up their intended major for the sake of not waking up at 7:30 a.m. one morning? Weigh it for them. Remind them that what seems like a small thing now is actually a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.

Outside Help

Many students that become unmotivated at this point in the semester do so because they feel like they are drowning in work. They feel like there is too much to do in too little time and they do not know how to do it and they do not understand what they need to do in order to actually get anything done.

It is up to them whether they succeed or fail, but remind them and help them find outside help when and if they need it. Encourage them to visit their professor or TA’s office hours to ask questions. Let them know about the resources their university has to offer them, like an on-campus writing or tutoring center. And if you can help them find or afford alternatives to on-campus tutoring, such as off-campus tutoring or classes, do it. Show that you support them and that what they are trying to accomplish is within their reach.

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