Basic Skills Needed to go Back to College

Higher education has most certainly changed over the last few decades, but there are still some basic skills that one needs to go back to college. Granted, many college students get away with mediocre versions of these skills, but they are still worth striving for and can make the difference between a successful experience and a challenging one. Here are a few skills that are important for college success.


Even with the explosion of the Internet and the divergence in teaching methods, writing is still a prime skill for success in college. Students are still expected to write, and writing well can be a major asset in the college settings. For people going back to college, this may be an advantage, particularly if they have had to write in a professional career setting. Either way, writing is still considered a base communications tool and should be approached with diligence and dedication.

Critical thinking

Another key skill that is getting a lot of attention these days in educational circles is critical thinking. Though the general concept can be a bit hard to define, it is nevertheless seen as a “critical” skill for functioning in college. The student who can identify relevant questions, procure research materials, accurately synthesize data, and draw conclusions will do will in their educational endeavors.

Computer literacy

A definitively important skill for college is computer literacy. This includes comfort with PC and Macintosh computers, as well as networks and peripherals such as discs, printers, scanners, and jump drives. In addition it is helpful if students have some familiarity with word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software, such as the Microsoft Office suite.

Internet navigation

A specific aspect of computer literacy that bears identifying is Internet navigation. Because of the extensive use of the Internet in education, students need to understand not only how to use search variables, but also how to distinguish relevant research from opinion pieces. In addition, they need to have some sense of helpful resources on the Internet so that they don’t spend too much time wandering aimlessly through cyberspace.

An agreed upon list of skills needed for college can certainly be debated, but these are a few that most people would argue are important. To be successful in college, students should have a blend of these skills but more importantly they should have a willingness to learn. This will carry them farther than any skills that they possessed prior to starting college.