4 Basic Skills for College Success

Skills logoImage via Wikipedia
People talk about the skills you need to do well on the job.  But what if you're in college?  Are those skills really much different?  What skills can you develop to be a better student?

  1. Listening skills.  They say that we have two ears and one mouth because we should listen more than we speak and this is true.  The more you listen, the more you will learn.  This is especially critical on the first day of school.  Make sure you are listening to the instructor when he/she speaks and not trying to make new friends.  There will be plenty of time to make friends after class!  Remember that any time the instructor speaks he/she is likely giving you information that you need, so pay attention!
  2. Reading skills.  A lot of the information and instructions that you receive will be relayed in written form so learn to read carefully.  Watch for key words and pay attention to what the instructions are really asking.  Before you ask a question, go back to the instructions to make sure that you have not missed something important.  I found that about 50% of the time, when a student asked a question, the answer could be found in the written instructions they were given.
  3. Time management.  When you are going to school you will need to manage your time (both in the class and outside of the class) very carefully.  Know how long you should spend working on a problem before you go for help.  Know how much time you should be spending on each project.  Those who are going to school as adults will likely have other commitments, too, such as family or jobs.  You will need to figure out the best way to use your time so that your outside commitments do not get pushed to the back burner.
  4. Accountability.  Remember that you alone are responsible for your learning.  While your instructor has the responsibility to make sure that you have all the information you need to learn, only you can be accountable for what you do with that information.