Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Learning Strategies for High Achieving Students

The Master Scholars Career Advising Program at the New York University School of Medicine and Dr. Lynn Buckvar-Keltz, the school's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, hosted the annual presentation of Dr. Paul Yellin to the medical school student body last evening. Dr. Yellin's presentation, Strategies for Success in Medical School: The Impact of Normal Variations in Learning Profiles on Academic Performance in Medical Students, is part of his ongoing work with the the Dean of Academic Affairs and with individual medical students from NYU and other medical schools. Dr. Yellin also works with physicians who have completed medical school as well as young professionals in law and other fields.

Why would these students or recent graduates in highly demanding fields, who have been able to be admitted to competitive training programs, need the services of a physician who focuses his work on learning and school success? And why would a large number of first year students at the NYU Medical School take time away from their studies or leisure to attend Dr. Yellin's talk last night?

The answer, according to Dr. Yellin, is that it is not unusual for anyone to hit "bumps in the road" when entering a new phase of one's education or career. Some academically successful students first have difficulty late in their academic careers, when they find that the strategies they used in college are inadequate to permit them to succeed in professional programs, such as medical school. Tragically, some people who experience these setbacks prematurely abandon their chosen path because they assume that their struggles mean that they are "not cut out" for the path that they have chosen.

Dr. Yellin notes that once these struggling students or young professionals understand how they learn and how to use their cognitive and personal strengths to get past their areas of relative weakness, it is usually possible for them to bounce back and succeed. He adds that he has been consulting with NYU Medical School for almost ten years and that it has been enormously satisfying to see how the students with whom he has worked have been able to improve their performance and move ahead in their careers.

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