How Soft Skills Contribute to Career and Academic Success
Much of what has been written about soft skills, also known as transferable skills and 21st-Century skills, focuses on their importance in the workplace. There is no doubt that tomorrow’s workforce needs these soft skills in order to survive and thrive. We’ve written about it in our blog.
But the reality is that students will begin to benefit from acquiring soft skills while they’re still in school, particularly once they reach college.
It begins in college with motivation and commitment—having a positive attitude and working hard in each of their classes to succeed. Being determined and having the self-discipline without a parent looking over your shoulder to see if you’re doing your homework and studying for tests and exams. Attending class on a regular basis is another aspect of this soft skill.
A related soft skill is being enthused about their education and having ambition. This includes showing engagement in the classroom through participation in group discussions and asking questions of the professor. It also is seen in college students who understand that success in college is more about what you learn and how you can apply what you learn than it is about obtaining a piece of paper on graduation day.
Similarly, being goal-oriented in college is a soft skill that drives one’s results and ultimate productivity, just as it does after college, in a career.
Developing and fully utilizing a particular talent or talents in college can be considered a soft skill. A talent does not necessarily have to be some exceptional trait or ability; it’s as simple as having and applying such learning skills as writing, listening, note taking, time management and studying.
Effective organization and preparation are soft skills often absent in your average college student. Clearly, these soft skills align closely with several other soft skills, notably motivation, commitment, enthusiasm and ambition.
Strong interpersonal skills are a key to college success in most academic areas and an indicator of future success. The more one can hone these skills in college by being personable, friendly, tactful, and a solutions- and resolution-seeker, the better equipped they will be as they embark on their career.
Thinking, in and of itself, is a soft skill. Everyone thinks, so how can that be a skill, you may ask. But there is a skill to thinking—applying past learning to current situations, thinking critically to solve problems, analyzing and evaluating information.
A college student exhibiting these soft skills has a much greater chance of being successful in their post-secondary academic life. But students who head off to college don’t miraculously acquire these skills on the first day of class. They have to learn them in their high school and even in their middle school years. They also have to use them and ingrain them, particularly in high school, so that when they begin college, these soft skills have become part of their DNA.
For the most part, however, these transferable or soft skills aren’t taught or nurtured within schools. One exception is schools that have embraced Quantum Learning methods. Development of a student’s soft skills is a core aspect of the learning and life skills training in QL schools. But, for most middle school and high school students, they have to look elsewhere to learn these soft skills.
Enter SuperCamp, which delivers Quantum Learning training to all students enrolled in our summer academic programs. Every one of the soft skills outlined above is covered directly or indirectly at SuperCamp. The indirect aspect of the learning comes from building students’ confidence and motivation, which in turn, strengthens their commitment to succeed and focuses their goal-setting and their ambition to achieve those goals.
The thinking, studying, reading, writing, note-taking, test-taking and interpersonal/communication skills comprise the majority of the SuperCamp curriculum. Students graduate from SuperCamp with a thorough understanding of these skills and, through practice and year-long follow-up from SuperCamp, they further ingrain these skills.
By the time a SuperCamp grad heads to college they have the soft skills that will set them up for success.