Prepare for College Series: Self-Reflection and Self-Advocacy

Through our challenging and innovative programming, students develop skills that prepare them for college success, both inside and outside of the classroom. These skills serve as the foundation for all of our daily activities. This series will explore the 10 skills which are the focus of our programs.

What is self-reflection and self-advocacy?

Self-reflection is being able to assess your own thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and decisions. Self-advocacy is being able to communicate those things to others and ask for what you need and want.  

Why are these important skills to develop in a pre-college program? 

Self-advocacy and self-reflection can be vital to students’ confidence and success in college. Self-reflection allows students to assess their habits and preferences with learning, studying, and general interests. Through reflection, students can begin to define everything from what their morning routine should look like, to the types of courses and careers they are interested in. Self-advocacy allows students to articulate these interests and ask for what they need and/or want in support of that. 

How do we help students develop these skills? 

From the moment a student submits their application, we begin the process of developing their self-reflection and self-advocacy skills by asking them to submit essays reflecting on their own thoughts and ideas as well as asking a teacher to speak on their behalf. Once students arrive in our programs, they will find many opportunities to further practice these skills through one-on-ones with our staff, weekly group meetings, and academic support groups. Our annual Student Reflection Essay Contest allows students to put their skill development on display by reflecting on their experience in our programs.


Ryadah was Pre-College Coordinator from 2018-2020 and now serves as Assistant Director for Undergraduate Admissions at WashU.