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Building Self-Determination for College Success: Empowering Students at Virtual Hall

Self-determination plays a crucial role in the success of college students. It encompasses the ability to make choices, solve problems, set goals, take initiative, and accept responsibility for actions. Research indicates that self-determined students achieve greater academic success, actively engage in coursework, experience positive postsecondary outcomes, and report higher overall quality of life. At Virtual Hall, our mission is to equip students with the skills necessary for self-determination, enabling them to make informed decisions and thrive in college.

Keywords: self-determination, college success, Virtual Hall, decision making, goal setting, self-management, self-advocacy, self-awareness, self-knowledge

Self-determination is a lifelong skill that requires cultivation and development. At Virtual Hall, we understand that students don’t instantly become self-determined, but it is a process that can be taught. By imparting essential skills, we empower our students to embark on their journey towards increasing self-determination and achieving their desired outcomes.

The Functional Theory of Self-Determination identifies three critical components shared by self-determined individuals:

  1. Volitional Actions: Self-determined students are purposeful and take control of their lives.
  2. Causal Agency: They act intentionally to bring about the desired outcomes in their lives.
  3. Quality of Life: Self-determined individuals experience emotional well-being, physical well-being, material well-being, interpersonal relations, personal development, social inclusion, and individual rights.

To foster self-determination, we teach our students a range of skills that serve as building blocks for their journey:

  1. Choice making: Identifying preferences and actively making choices in various aspects of life, including lifestyle, education, and employment.
  2. Decision making: Assessing alternatives, considering consequences, and determining the most favorable course of action.
  3. Problem solving: Utilizing available information to devise effective solutions, such as communication, judgment, and financial management.
  4. Goal setting and attainment: Defining goals, creating action plans, and adjusting as needed using the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction.
  5. Self-management: Evaluating actions in alignment with self-selected goals and making necessary adjustments.
  6. Self-advocacy: Asserting one’s rights and advocating for oneself through effective communication and assertion skills.
  7. Self-awareness: Recognizing strengths, interests, and areas where support from others can be beneficial.
  8. Self-knowledge: Leveraging self-knowledge to set goals and take action towards achieving them.

At Virtual Hall, we understand that every student possesses unique skill levels in these areas. Our approach is tailored to meet students where they are and teach these skills using Evidence-Based Strategies such as Collaborative Problem Solving and Motivational Interviewing. We encourage students to seek input from friends, family, colleagues, and other important stakeholders in their lives, ensuring a well-rounded decision-making process. Our commitment is to provide students with the tools, strategies, and skills they need to pursue the life they desire.

Developing self-determination is essential for college success. At Virtual Hall, we prioritize empowering students with the skills necessary to become self-determined individuals. Through targeted instruction and evidence-based strategies, we support students in setting goals, overcoming obstacles, and enhancing their capacity for self-determination. We believe that everyone deserves the life they envision, and we are dedicated to equipping our students with the tools, strategies, and skills to make their dreams a reality.