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Understanding Procrastination in Students and How to Help
It can be difficult to understand why someone puts off something that is important and fall into a trap of anxiety and stress. So we ask the question – why do people procrastinate?
Studies estimate that 80 to 95 percent of college students procrastinate, with about 75 percent who consider themselves procrastinators.
Although procrastination seems to be common in many people, it can be especially problematic for students if not managed and understood. Research confirms that procrastination is associated with lower grades (mostly college level), and even worse, linked to higher levels of stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
While the common perception is that students who procrastinate don’t care about their work, that is often not the case. Two of the most recurring reasons for procrastination in students are: fear of failure or confusion about the assignment.
When an assignment is meaningful to the individual, it can be cause for procrastination, staring at a screen or book for hours, paralyzed by fear of failure.
Indecision can cause a person to spend too much time worrying about whether they are doing the assignment correctly. Prolonging the time spend on even the first steps is a kind of coping mechanism to avoid the stress.
While gathering information to make an informed decision is important and commendable, there is a point where indecision and waiting are counterproductive. Fear of criticism is another roadblock causing procrastination.
Another reason some individuals procrastinate is that they enjoy the adrenaline rush of working against a deadline. They see it as a ‘dramatic’ addition to life.
Indecisiveness, avoidance, and thrill-seeking are consequently more likely explanations for procrastination than laziness or lack of motivation.
Ways to Help Procrastinators
Space out deadlines
Evenly spaced deadlines can yield better student performance and decrease the chances of students missing deadlines, knowing there is sufficient time to complete the work.
If a student with low self-esteem is worried about criticism or failing, supportive feedback from teachers, parents, and even peers can help. By avoiding being too explicit with criticism, students are more comfortable getting feedback, especially in front of their peers.
Some students lack the metacognitive skills they need to be able to study effectively, such as the ability to schedule ample time for studying or knowing when to ask for help. Learning time management skills early on helps students become more confident and independent.
Understand student workload
Sometimes deadlines for projects coincide, especially in the higher levels. Students experience higher stress levels if they can’t manage multiple assignments. Flexibility with deadlines is a positive, especially if a student is facing a personal or family crisis.
Students can be off to a better start if they have clear instructions of what’s expected. If not, they are likely to procrastinate. Instructions in writing give the student an advantage so they can refer to the guidelines of the assignment. Examples of similar projects also help to clarify expectations.
At Yorktown Education, our instructors work with each student individually to understand the student’s learning style and preferences. We maintain a clear and open communication between student and teacher throughout the school. From the start, we encourage our students to “do what you love” to make learning an adventure in self-discovery while instilling a love of learning.
Every parent want independent, confident, responsible children. That’s our goal at Yorktown Education. Schedule a tour and discover the difference!