The thought of going back to college may bring up many emotions including both excitement and maybe even some fear. If you have been out of school for some time, you may wonder how college has changed and how you will fare in today’s classrooms.
Whether you have been away from a classroom for one year or decades, you have skills that can help you navigate the demands of college and guide you toward an academic path where you can be successful and satisfied. These skills may have developed early in life, in a classroom, during college, work, or from life in general. We learn and refine our skills in a variety of ways, but they apply to all aspects and roles of our life. Knowing your skills and using them intentionally can help you succeed in college and beyond.
First, read through a list of skills here. Make a list of all the skills you currently possess. Think about where you learned these skills and how they might apply in a college setting. How can you use your strongest skills to communicate with your professors, manage your time, study, write, or take exams? It might be helpful to go through this exercise with a trusted friend, advisor, or counselor who knows you well.
Read the list again, and this time circle any skills you would like to develop further. Is there an academic major or specialty that can help you develop these skills? How can you start refining these skills, even before you get back to college? For example, maybe you would like to improve your public speaking ability because you will probably have to give a presentation in class at some point. Perhaps you could start working on this skill by speaking up in a meeting or volunteering for a leadership role in an organization you are already involved with. You could practice writing short essays or speeches and record yourself giving the speech with a webcam from the privacy of your own home. The more confident you are in your skills and your ability to learn new skills, the more prepared you will feel in going back to college.