STUDYING: DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING?
College Success Arizona utilizes “Study Sauce”, a software package, to help their scholars be more successful as they embark on their college careers. Because of College Success Arizona’s experience with Study Sauce, we thought it would be good to share some information about the history of the product and its author.
College, and high school students alike, have fallen victim to the “procrastination to cramming cycle”, a study method in which students put off learning all material in one night and end up forgetting it all the moment they walk out of an exam. But why is that? Stephen Houghton, the creator and CEO of Study Sauce, an interactive online study tool, found out why. Throughout a student’s educational career, they were never taught how to study.
Houghton attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and majored in finance. Even while being enrolled in three different honors programs at SMU, Houghton admits that he still struggled when it came to studying in college, “You trick yourself in to thinking [all-nighters are] productive but they’re not…Who knows how much time I could have saved if I would have been studying effectively.”
Houghton joined the Marines directly after college, then spent a few years in the finance world before launching his start-up business and creating Study Sauce.
Study Sauce is unlike any other study tool available. It offers a variety of different lessons on how to study, a digital agenda, a timer for when you are studying, and so much more. Houghton’s product is unique in the fact that students are able to tailor the program to fit their personal study needs. It allows students to input their classes; watch videos and learn helpful study tips at their own pace; receive reminders a certain number of days prior to assignments being due; keep track of the amount of time they spend studying; and input personal goals. The interactivity of Study Sauce allows students to really be engaged with the program while also effectively studying along the way.
The inspiration for Study Sauce came from a conversation Houghton had with a business school classmate of his who was going on to graduate school. Although she had degrees from both Stanford and Harvard, Houghton’s classmate was still complaining about not being able to study effectively. That’s when Houghton had the realization that even the most capable of students have no clue what they are doing when it comes to studying. It also dawned on him that the amount of time that people spend on studying is a huge waste of time for the extent of knowledge they actually retain. Houghton’s idea is: “If you were able to just increase what people remember by one percent, how much more would people remember? How much more valuable would their degree become?”
Currently, there are people across the country using Houghton’s product. Customers range from students at community colleges to those attending Ivy League schools; Houghton is also beginning to expand his reach internationally, working with students around the world. Early on, College Success Arizona partnered with Houghton to give their students the opportunity to improve their study habits and increase their test scores. “Study Sauce has proven to be a valuable and effective tool to help our students become proficient in the art of studying”, said Marjorie DeRubeis, Director of Success Services for College Success Arizona. “Our students have told us how useful Study Sauce has been and have credited it to helping them keep on task and then achieving greater success in their courses. One student has even shared that Study Sauce replaced 5 different apps that they used to use to accomplish the same goals. We are so grateful to have this great and fun resource for our students!”
Although Study Sauce has only been available for a little over two years, its audience continues to grow with each passing semester.
Houghton knows that, since Study Sauce addresses such a large problem, his business will keep thriving. He recently said, “I would go into classrooms at ASU and say, ‘Who here has been taught how to study?’ and not a single hand was up. That’s a problem. So I knew that there was something that needed to be addressed.” Houghton’s main goal is to build a product that students will continue to use and learn to change their study habits.
Houghton says he owes his success to his development team and all of his supporters, particularly his wife, and biggest supporter, who continues to encourage him at every step along the way. Houghton’s lead developer has been with him for nearly two years, and together they pursue Houghton’s passion for helping students get the most out of their college experience. This is what fuels Houghton’s drive to keep improving Study Sauce. “I want to change the idea that students are in school just to get a good grade.”
To learn more about Study Sauce and all of its benefits, visit www.studysauce.com.
Junelle Bautista is an intern with the Communications and Outreach Team at College Success Arizona