14 Important Student Skills (With Definitions and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As a student, you may use a variety of skills during your academic programme. These skills are usually a combination of soft and hard skills. Developing these skills can prepare you to complete your education and embark on your career. In this article, we discuss student skills, explain their importance, list the different types of skills that can help you in your education and future career prospects and provide tips to help you develop them.

What are student skills?

Student skills are the abilities that students use during their studies. These skills may also prepare them as they begin their career. A combination of hard and soft skills may help them to develop their thought process, stay organised, work with others, solve problems and accomplish their goals. Students develop and enhance these skills while still studying and these skills may transfer to their careers. Students may learn these skills from their academic courses, by observing their tutors or from completing certifications in specific skills and knowledge.

Different types of skills for students

Here are the different types of skills that students have:

1. Communication skills

As a student, communication skills are essential for interacting with other students and faculty. Communication can help you share your thoughts and ideas effectively. Examples of effective non-verbal communication skills can include using appropriate body language and being an attentive listener. Also, students with strong verbal communication skills can speak clearly and concisely using language that matches or suits the audience. Having effective communication skills can prepare students for the workplace as they may collaborate with others, deliver presentations or documents and share information in other media forms.

2. Analytical skills

Analytical skills can help a student explore information or a problem, assess it and evaluate to understand or deduce an answer from it. These skills may be essential for students whose courses revolve around research and science. Students pursuing careers in the fields of finance or business strategy may also do well to develop analytical skills. Such skills can be valuable in situations that may require the ability to make challenging decisions, solve complex problems and interpret data.

3. Critical thinking skills

Critical thinking typically enables students to identify an issue, collect relevant information about the issue and develop solutions to solve problems. This involves evaluating the information regarding a problem objectively and factually, free of bias and assumptions. This way, students can form meaningful and logical connections between ideas and information, using them to methodically solve a problem. This skill can be essential for students conducting research, building models to predict behaviour and using that information to find effective solutions.

4. Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills can involve identifying the issues, creating and implementing solutions and assessing their effectiveness. This skill enables students to successfully complete their assignments. It also helps them create new solutions and ideas during projects.

5. Organisational skills

Organisational skills can help students be efficient in their studies. This skill typically involves managing their resources effectively through arranging their notes, materials, data and other information they require for their academic courses. Being organised typically means having the ability to create a structure for a daily schedule. This practice can promote efficiency in their responsibilities and can boost their academic performance, such as when studying for exams or preparing for a presentation.

Related: Organisational Skills: Definition, How to Use and Examples

6. Leadership skills

Students can use their time in school to develop their leadership skills, and these traits can demonstrate their ability to lead and undertake responsibility later in their careers. Leadership may involve taking initiative in group projects, leading a student council and taking on responsibility where decisions have a significant impact on others and not just themselves. Students demonstrating leadership abilities through school experience can include this in their profile when applying for jobs, as employers may look for candidates who have the motivation to lead others, take initiative and accept responsibility.

7. Teamwork skills

Students can learn to collaborate with their classmates to achieve goals, such as working together to complete group projects, presentations and other shared activities. Teamwork skills are transferable skills that prepare students for the workplace in many instances. For example, employees work in teams to complete projects, make presentations of their work and help the team meet deadlines and team or organisational goals.

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

8. Time management

Academic courses typically have set deadlines relating to submitting assignments and fulfilling other academic requirements. Students with effective time management skills can prioritise their tasks and activities and adhere to deadlines. They may list their tasks, responsibilities and submissions and rate their importance by deadline, difficulty and the steps to take to accomplish them. Time management can enable students to adhere to a schedule.

9. Creative skills

Creativity is the ability to look at a problem from different angles and use imagination along with existing knowledge of the problem to develop a unique or unconventional solution. Students with creative skills can solve challenging problems as they go beyond their theoretical knowledge to find alternative ways to look at and solve a problem. They may ask questions, identify patterns, observe and experiment with the problem to test their ideas and learn from failures to ultimately achieve success.

10. Computer skills

Computer skills refer to the knowledge and ability to use different computing devices, applications and platforms to complete tasks and accomplish goals. Students may use a variety of technological tools such as computers, mobile devices, tablets and academic software to complete their tasks. Learning how to use software and devices can help them be efficient in completing their assignments and presentations. Knowledge and use of technology is another transferable skill that students may benefit from in their future careers.

11. Flexibility and adaptability

Students may face different challenges at school. Being flexible and adaptable means that students typically learn to accept challenges and find ways to face them. Being adaptable and flexible is also a transferable skill that prepares students for real-life situations in their careers.

12. Research skills

Research skills involve knowing how to find information, collect data, conduct a review of existing research literature, test a hypothesis and share their findings in a structured manner. Research skills play an integral role when students write research papers and participate in academic projects. They may also use research skills when completing complete a thesis requirement for their course.

13. Goal setting

Learning how to plan and set goals may help students do well in their studies and eventually in a professional setting. This may involve creating time-specific, quantifiable goals that can be short-term or long-term. Depending on the type of goal, a student can then create an action plan that's realistic and actionable, such as dividing the process into smaller steps, to achieve the goal within the specific time frame.

14. Interviewing skills

When students seek admission to a school or apply for a job, they typically go through one or more interviews with an institution or an employer. Having interviewing skills may help them demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities and also inform the interviewer about their motivation and goals. Developing these skills may also help them to be confident in answering questions articulately and may have a positive impact on their candidature.

Related: Interviewing Skills to Ace a Job Interview

Tips for students to develop their skills

Consider the following tips to develop skills while in school:

  • Make a list of skills. Make a list and prioritise the skills you want to learn or improve upon. Focus on one or two skills at a time as it helps you make better progress rather than attempting to learn a lot of skills at once.

  • Observe others. Consider observing others who may be good at specific skills and how they apply them in different situations. This can help you improve your own skills and succeed in your academics and also in the workplace.

  • Complete relevant courses. Some skills may require knowledge and guidance to help you learn them. Consider signing up for relevant courses that can help you learn a new skill or improve existing ones, which you may also highlight on your resume when applying for jobs.

  • Practise your skills. Practising your skills can help you understand your abilities in particular skills. You may want to practise your skills with a friend or someone you trust to test your abilities.

  • Request feedback: Request feedback from your friends, classmates or colleagues as they can offer advice and information on any gaps in your skills and where you're highly competent. Getting feedback can improve and enhance your confidence in your skills and knowledge.

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