Learning how to learn can transform mediocre students into academic superstars. The skills required to succeed in college don’t come naturally to everyone, but they can be taught and encouraged. University professors and administrators put a lot of effort into designing curriculums that progressively develop their students’ intellectual faculties. Here are the skills students should learn to further their education.
Oral and Written Communication
Expressing oneself clearly and concisely is crucial to success in higher education. Fortunately, most schools emphasize writing and speaking skills, so students should take advantage of courses that involve writing papers and giving presentations.
At colleges and universities, writing focused classes are general education requirements and make up most of the program for liberal arts and social science majors. For business majors who want to know what to talk about from a business, sales dashboard examples can give minute-to-minute updates about businesses.
Students are not expected to be expert oral and written communicators right from the start. College courses start with the basics of composition and public speaking and then successively build upon one another to develop students’ expertise.
Students can become even better writers by visiting their university’s writing center to receive extra instruction from graduate students and writing coaches. To become better public speakers, students can get more experience by joining their local Toastmasters club, a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills all over the world.
Writing and public speaking aren’t easy skills for most people. However, with practice, students can improve, and in turn, these skills can open doors to more education opportunities.
Critical Thinking and Analysis
Approaching a problem objectively and analyzing it to arrive at a reasoned perspective is a highly valued skill in academia. As with writing and public speaking, professors do not expect new students to arrive at college with perfectly developed critical thinking and analytical abilities. In fact, many introductory courses aim to nurture these talents so that they can be applied to higher-order issues as students advance through their studies.
Critical thinking works because the thinker learns to take his or her own preconceptions out of the equation. This way the problem is seen clearly and evaluated without bias. Analysis takes a problem one step further and divides it into parts to discern how each part influences the whole.
Critical thinking and analysis can become even more specialized and refined by applying theories and methods. Philosophers and scientists have developed ways of approaching problems built upon either intentional basic assumptions or knowledge taken to be true.
As students become more sophisticated critical thinkers, they need to be able to approach issues from both a clear perspective and one informed by theory. In this way, critical thinking and analytical skills can enhance a student’s educational experience.
Curiosity and Reading
Curiosity can take a student far on their educational journey. Being curious about the world, its peoples, cultures, and history are a prerequisite for serious learning. Without this trait, students can’t sustain the attention and interest necessary to flourish in higher education.
What’s more, curiosity cannot be taught; however, it can be inspired. Therefore, professors bear even more responsibility for how well their students respond to their assignments.
Whether their curiosity is inherent or acquired, students must take the initiative to seek out knowledge on their own. Developing the habit of reading for pleasure or for information is a great way to sustain a curious mindset. Since the advent of the internet, finding interesting subjects to read about has never been easier.
Much of the world’s knowledge is at everyone’s fingertips, from newspapers to academic journals. Furthermore, the internet never closes, so a curious student focused on their education can access their passion anytime from almost anywhere.
Learning the skills necessary to meet one’s educational goals is a talent in and of itself. Most teachers and professors understand how difficult learning to learn can be and devote much of a curriculum to teaching these foundational skills. The world changes quickly, so curious students can take these skills and apply them to their next educational endeavor.
BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.