The success of students in undertaking their studies depends, among others, on their ability to manage and organize their activities and time. This qualitative research examined students’ self-management skills in the English Language Education Department, Ar-Raniry State Islamic University, Aceh, Indonesia. We looked at students’ motivational and behavioral strategies and scrutinized their time management, emotion, effort, and social and learning environments, and the impacts on their academic performance and social involvement. Three areas closely related to students’ self-management skills, namely academic achievement, academic awards, and social involvements were explored to understand factors contributing to their achievement. To gather the data, the researchers used the semi-structured interview with five female students from the 2017/2018 cohort, selected by using purposive sampling with certain criteria, such as their GPA, TOEFL score, and social involvements. These criteria were imposed to distinguish high-achiever students from the average one. Findings showed that students with outstanding management skills adopt motivational and behavioral strategies in their daily lives. Setting goals, finding relevant activities (worshipping, writing, and reading) were mentioned as motivational strategies; while prioritizing, self-observing, as well adaptation to the surrounding environment were crucial in their behavioral strategies. They also practiced positive and supportive illustrations in developing a good self-management system, such as setting up and executing academic priorities and evaluating how activities were done.


qualitative study, outstanding students, self-management skills, motivational strategies, behavioral strategies

Author Bio(s)

Safrul Muluk (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4707-8334; Scopus Author ID: 57205562628) is an associate professor at Education and Teacher Training Faculty, Ar-Raniry State Islamic University, Darussalam, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Safrul obtained his first master’s degree at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, in 2000, majoring in Islamic Studies. He conducted his second master’s degree at Flinders University of South Australia in Educational Management in 2004 and completed his doctoral studies in 2013 at the same University, Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia majoring in Higher Educational Management. His research interests include Instructional media, Teaching English with Technology, classroom management, Instructional media, and English for Academic purposes. Please direct correspondence to safrul.muluk@ar-raniry.ac.id.

Saiful Akmal is a Senior Lecturer in English Education at Universitas Islam Negeri Ar-Raniry, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. His field of research includes Literature, Linguistics, and teaching and learning English in higher education. Please direct correspondence to saiful.akmal@ar-raniry.ac.id.

Desi Andriana is a teaching assistant in English Language Education Department at Universitas Islam Negeri Ar-Raniry, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Her research interests include Cross-culture Understanding, and English for specific purposes. Please direct correspondence to desiandriana95@gmail.com.

Habiburrahim is an associate professor in English Education at Universitas Islam Negeri Ar-Raniry, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. His field of research includes teaching and learning English in higher education, curriculum development, and educational administration, to developing policies in educational contexts. He is currently working on issues of curriculum development and academic integrity in higher education settings. Please direct correspondence to habiburrahim@ar-raniry.ac.id.

Muhammad Safwan Safrul is a teaching assistant in English Language Education Department at Universitas Islam Negeri Ar-Raniry, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. His research interests include media and technology in teaching, Instructional media, educational psychology, and school leadership. Please direct correspondence to Safwansafrul5@gmail.com.


The authors would like to thank all the respondents who participated in this study and who made this study possible. We would like to thank the Editors and reviewers at The Qualitative Report who have provided invaluable insightful comments and suggestions for the betterment of this manuscript.

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