What Do I Need to Get Out of A College Education?

December 22, 2009 by  
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To be competitive in the 21st century job and graduate school markets, 8 essential skill sets are needed. Employers and graduate admissions committees are overwhelmed by applicants, many of whom may have graduated from top 150 colleges but lack the necessary skills to be productive and efficient. In a marketplace where networking and insider connections have much less weight than in years past, a college bound student must be aware of the areas to master in the undergraduate years.

  1. Research- the ability to gather, observe, analyze, synthesize, and apply information to solve concrete problems.
  2. Communication- to share ideas succinctly and clearly in oral and written form. Active listening is likely the most important component of communication skill. Voicing an opinion not connected to the immediately preceding discourse is the most common mistake new college graduates make.
  3. Autonomy- how to turn ideas and plans into action and how to initiate this process without prodding.
  4. Social Intelligence- understanding social cues in groups and one-to-one situations. Quickly comprehending cultural meaning and customs in unfamiliar situations.
  5. Adaptability- adjusting rapidly to novelty, uncertainty and continuous change.
  6. Cooperation- solving problems in small groups. Offering constructive criticism without alienating others. Receiving criticism non-defensively. Solving a task collectively via impartial compromise.
  7. Identity- positively standing out for attitude and actions. Maintaining personal boundaries without offending others. Speaking forthrightly about values, ethics and preferences with the goal of inclusion rather than exclusion.
  8. Productivity- completing a project in the manner and time you committed to. Focusing on the task at hand and working quickly without sacrifice of accuracy. Meeting deadlines, fulfilling expectations, and giving your best effort.


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