With modern technology connecting people the world over, it’s never been easier or more accessible to direct your own learning.
By allocating just a little time each day, you can follow your passions and interests outside of the standardised school curriculum, university course and work hours to still grow knowledge and a sense of fulfilment.
Additionally, self-study can benefit you far beyond an academic realm, aiding development in your professional and personal life.
Most improtantly, as a secondary school student, self-directed learning can help uncover passions and interests that can be used as extracurricular activities to improve your college application.
Here are 5 reasons why you should start self-learning today:
1. Gain access to new areas of knowledge and passions
Crimson Co-founder and CEO Jamie Beaton recently graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Applied Mathematics-Economics and Masters in Applied Mathematics.
Yeah, okay, that's pretty cool. what's your point?
Well, up until university, Jamie had never taken an economics class.
Jamie discovered his passion for the topic through his self-directed learning, finding a whole new field of knowledge and passion that he was not able to access through the standardised national or international curriculum.
Through self-study, you can uncover new passions, interests and areas of knowledge you didn’t know existed.
These passions can change the course of your life.
2. No limitations are placed on your knowledge
Learning as part of a curriculum can limit you in many ways.
You may find yourself held back by the pace of which your peers are learning or you might find your knowledge exceeds the expected level of top students.
Through self-directed study, you are able to move and learn at the right pace for you.
When you’re ready to take your studies to the next level, you can, it's as simple as that.
By not being limited to the expectations of peers, teachers or a national curriculum, you allow yourself the opportunity to navigate each subject at your own pace, providing every opportunity to excel beyond your highest expectation.
Not only does this provide you with the obvious benefit of developing further, but it also looks impressive on your college application.
Excelling beyond that classroom may even inspire you to start a study group or a club that can be shared as an extracurricular activity on your college application.
3. Cater to (or uncover) your preferred learning method
Whether you prefer to get hands-on when learning or bury your head in the books and take in all the knowledge you can, when you direct your own learning, you cater your learning to what you enjoy most.
When studying using your preferred learning method, as opposed to an imposed approach that most secondary schools present, learning becomes much easier, more natural, and a whole lot more enjoyable.
For example, some ways people learn are:
- Start a conversation about what you're learning You'll reinforce what you're learning if you have to educate someone else about it.
- Make notes while you read Once you've decided on a book, take notes while you read and write them as if someone else was to learn from them. Come back to them a few days later and see how helpful the notes are.
- Watch videos and recall Some people learn more from seeing rather than hearing or doing. Put it to the test: watch some content and what you get out of it.
- Listening and taking notes Like any good lecture at University, you listen to someone speak and take notes. Read from your notes and see what sticks.
After you've tried a few different ways of learning, see which one you identify most with and gain the most from. Use that one the most!
Tip: if you're a hands on learner, try and have a space at home dedicated to make and creating!
4. Entrepreneurial skills, initiative, creative thinking, and confidence emerges
If you didn't already know, colleges love to see students with all of the above traits!
When you depend on yourself for your learning, you become empowered to make informed decisions.
In doing so, you are able to develop problem-solving skills, nurture your initiative, and build your confidence.
Colleges will think they've struck gold!
Furthermore, being able to weigh up information and make informed decisions with confidence is a key characteristic of entrepreneurism, and through self-directed learning, you can develop these traits at a young age.
The earlier you are exposed to this informed decision-making process, the more likely you are to develop into a sensible, healthy, productive and compassionate adult.
Colleges will love you!
All these traits will allow you to develop many extracurricular activities to include on your college application.
5. Improve your college candidacy
I've alluded to this throughout all of the four tips, but ultimately, self-directed learning can help you develop into the dream college candidate.
When applying to a world-class college, academic grades are only one portion of the application criteria, and extracurriculars and leadership initiatives are often a major influence over whether or not you gain acceptance into the college/university of your dreams.
Clearly displaying the ability and the initiative to maintain self-directed learning beyond school hours is a highly sought after trait in a college applicant.
Not only does it show you are a curious and inquisitive candidate who is eager to learn, but it also displays strong time management and a solid work-ethic.
What more could they possibly want?
You will be the well-rounded, passionate, curious and learned applicant [insert your dream school here] have been waiting for!
Seriously, you get to learn about what you want, when you want, how you want and you improve your college candidacy.
What are you waiting for?
Start your self-directed learning journey today!