Succeed at Pitt Toolkit

Succeed at Pitt Tool Kit

Doing well in college means staying engaged, staying focused, and staying motivated. Decades of research from psychology and education have revealed consistent psychological factors that predict better performance among students in college. Those factors determine whether students stay engaged and perform at their full potential, or not. Now, for the first time, the Office of the Provost has developed a pioneering non-cognitive skills training program for Pitt students. The Succeed at Pitt Toolkit is an in-person training experience that will walk you through 5  essential non-cognitive skills for success in college. Through this interactive workshop, you will learn about the specific strategies empirically proven to predict better student outcomes, giving you the competitive advantage you need to succeed in college. Sign up now for one of the two workshops offered each term, while space is open.



Mindset & Frontiers of Ability

Decades of research in psychology has identified the impact of our beliefs on our achievement. The question is: "Can we improve our performance and achievement by focusing the underlying beliefs that determine our reactions in the face of challenge and difficulty?" Why is it that some are able to come back over and over again to tackle very difficult tasks, while others tend to give up more quickly? The answer has to do with your mindset. In this section, we will identify a handful of optimal mindsets that you can cultivate in order to give you a competitive advantage in school.

Master your Myopia

Human nature is such that the immediate, more urgent, needs tend to hijack our attention at the cost of neglecting long-term goals and needs. This tendency to favor the short-term rewards and emergencies, while adaptive for our survival as a species, may not serve us in school. However, there are ways to leverage our own myopia so that we can more consistently and more successfully make progress on our long-term goals. The important insight form this principle comes from the recognition that we can achieve at highly efficient levels when faced with a perceived deadline. This myopic reaction to time management, when understood, can be leveraged to increase our productivity.


The Powerful Secret of Self-Control

To understand self-control, you must first recognize the nature of impulse and distraction. Temptation (once activated) is a process that grows in strength until it attains what it wants. Practical and easy to apply strategies are shared in this module, which can guarantee to keep temptation and distraction at bay and consequently keep your focus and behavior under your control.

Devotion over Emotion

What does it mean to follow your passion. How should pursuing your goals feel? Why is that studying feels so boring and tedious? We all confront these questions from time to time. Those who know how to navigate these questions can either go on to accomplish their goals, or become disenchanted with, and disconnected from, important tasks that will allow you to succeed in school. We’ll show you how to understand the “feelings” behind your behaviors, giving you the tools to better navigate those challenging questions.

Activate Optimal States

The only constant is change. As such, we discuss how our motivation can sometimes feel fleeting—you may feel like running tomorrow morning, but when the time comes to go running, all you want to do is sleep. What happened to our inspired decision to run? In this module, we show you proven ways to keep your initial motivation for pursuing your educational goals top of mind and burning strong.


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Omid Fotuhi 1Dr. Omid Fotuhi is a researcher in the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) at Pitt, whose work focuses on the psychology of performance and motivation in the domains of academics, athletics, and workplace achievement. Dr. Fotuhi earned his PhD in psychology from the University of Waterloo, after which he worked at Stanford University where he co-founded one of the largest multi-institution collaborations to deliver proven interventions to over 40,000 students. He is a skilled trainer, having led 45 professional development workshops at colleges and universities across the United States to help faculty, administrators, advisors, and students better understand the psychology of success, and equip those groups with the tools they need to perform at their full potential.