Top 10 Academics Skills to Prepare you for College

According to Wikipedia, college is an educational institution or a constituent part of one. A college may be a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, a part of a collegiate or federal university, an institution offering vocational education, or a secondary school.

No matter how prepared you think you are for college life, you may feel anxious when you arrive on campus. You need certain academic skills to guide you through your journey through college.

In high school, you may have felt that you were constantly scheduled, with very few breaks. In college, your classes may be spaced out during the day, with free time between each class. Or they may be bunched up into a few days, mornings, or afternoons; leaving large periods of “leisure” time.

When you arrive, you may feel like you have all the time in the world and expect it to be somewhat like high school. They are however very different.

There are skills that are put in place to prepare you for college.

In this article, we have highlighted the top 10 academic skills to prepare you for college, why you should learn them and why they are important.

Table of contents

What are Academic Skills?

An academic skill has been described to be talents and habits that can benefit you in the course of your academic pursuit.

In college, you would need skills like collaboration, adaptability, emotional intelligence, and most importantly, creativity. These are important skills that can get you to go through college without hassle.

 The beauty of these skills is that once you learn them, they would be with you forever. Many studies even show the importance of having academic skills in long-term job success.

With many companies now using collaborative work environments, employers prioritize teamwork and other soft academic skills.

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How to get Academic Skills for College

There are certain ways you can get academic skills for college. Most students have even admitted that these skills were imbibed in them from high school; as such, they didn’t need to learn them anymore.

However, if you have no prior knowledge of these skills, some things you can do are-

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1. Make a list

In making this list, write out the skills you already have or think you have. List them according to a scale of preference from the most important to you to the lowest.

This step would ensure that you know the list you need to learn at least. The top 10 academic skills listed below can help you in this selection process.

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2. Set a Specific Goal

Most persons work better when they have a specific goal.

After you have made a list and chosen the skill you want, the net on the list is to set a goal for yourself. You must also write this down.

In setting this goal, you must figure out what specific problem you would solve by learning the academic skill. Then work towards that goal.

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3. Believe You Can Learn the Skill

80% of the time, when you believe you can do something, odds are that you can.

For learning new things, people have either a fixed or a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset think that success in learning a new skill depends on being naturally gifted.

On the other hand, those with a growth mindset think that success in learning new things depends on their own efforts. Believing you can do something gets you 20 steps ahead.

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4. Take a class

These academic skills are teachable and as such can be learned if you have the determination to actually learn them.

You can do these by attending workshops and classes involving the skills you are interested in learning.

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5. Do Preliminary Research

Aside from attending classes, you can also learn academic skills for college in other ways.

Find a few books, YouTube videos, tutorials, courses, and so on about the academic skill that you want to learn. Make sure that you choose high-quality resources.

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6. Give Yourself a Deadline

We’re all familiar with Parkinson’s Law. If you apply it to learning a new skill, the law says that the longer you give yourself to learn the skill, the more work you’ll end up doing to acquire the skill.

At the same time, the opposite is also true. The less time you give yourself to learn a skill, the less work you’ll have to do in order to learn it.

In giving yourself a deadline you would find you would learn the academic skill to prepare you for college faster.

7. Do not lie to yourself

For centuries, people have believed that most skills are innate. That is, you either have it, or you don’t.

However, in recent years’ scientists have adopted a different view. Studies show that skill is determined far less by our genes and far more by our actions.

If you know within you that you do not know a skill, best learn it.

8. Aim for Good Enough

When learning a new skill, there’s no need to aim for being world-class. Instead, settle for being “good enough”. Do not settle for less either.

When you aim for good enough, it’s a B, and can get you through the main purpose of the academic skill.

9. Talk to someone about your interests

Do not always push to do things on your own. You could need help to see things differently.

You can talk to a parent, guardian, or a counselor. The person might even be in the right position to teach you these skills or help you evaluate what you have learned so far.

Why have Academic Skills for College?

Generally, skills are very important. Academic skills on the other hand are most important because they do not only sharpen your mind but help you in the course of your college education. These are some of the reasons why academic skills to prepare you for college are important-

  • Academic skills help you not to procrastinate. There is nothing worse than approaching the end of a semester and realizing you have an impossible mountain of work to do. These skills ensure that you have a good time but at the same time, have in mind why you are in college in the first place.
  • Academic skills to prepare you for college ensures you keep your mind sharp.
  • It is exciting to exciting and empowering to learn new skills. To top it all, these skills are for college. Aren’t you excited?

How Long Does it take Learn Academic Skills?

The length of time it would take for you to fully learn an academic skill depends on you.

However, for the basic knowledge, it can take as small as a month but two years to fully master it.

Top 10 Academic Skills to Prepare you for College

#1. Assertiveness

This is a skill that works on the way you would be able to stand up and speak for yourself when the need arises.

In college, you would constantly need the skill of being assertive to help you. It would show that you love yourself enough not to let anyone step on you and get away with it.

It also means that you are away of others rights and willing to work on resolving conflicts.

#2. Responsibility

It may not look like it on the surface, but the responsibility is an academic skill that means that you do things to the best of your abilities to reach a goal.

Responsibility could come in forms of honesty, compassion, fairness, accountability, and even courage. It would go a long way to ensuring you have a sense of purpose.

#3. Self-Management Skills

In college, you must be able to manage your behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a very productive way.

Ultimately, there would be no parents to watch your every move and coordinate your actions. For your own sake, you should learn this academic skill to prepare you for college.

#4. Communication Skills

In college, you will encounter new advisors, professors, staff members, and others who communicate with students in a variety of ways, you should be prepared to communicate in different ways with different people.

If you do not already have communication skills, it is important for you to start to learn them now to prepare you for college.

#5. Collaboration Skills

In college, you would need collaboration skills. They are skills that enable you to successfully work towards a common goal with others.

It would include not only communication but also actively listening and respecting the diversity of your colleagues.

You definitely need to develop your collaboration skills before leaving for college.

#6. Independent Work Skills

Along with teamwork and collaboration, you would also need to be good at working alone.

In college, there is more individual work than group work, so being a self-starter, knowing where to find information, and understanding how to problem-solve are big pluses.

#7. Critical-thinking Skills

College is big on critical thinking. It is nothing like high school. You must have the ability to think on the spot and figure out mind problems posed to you.

You can start now to learn critical thinking skills by giving yourself hypothetical life questions and thinking through the best solutions.

#8. Time Management

In college, there are a lot of activities and if you do not know how to manage your time, you might get lost doing the most irrelevant things first.

You should learn to prepare weekly schedules that include time in class, studying, activities, work, meals, study, and time with friends.

Being a college student is like having a full-time job.

#9. Stress Management

There is always something to do when you are in college. You must not forget to take care of yourself, regular exercise, adequate rest, good nutrition, prayer, and/or meditation are all suggested ways of engaging in self-care that reduces stress.

Finding ways to increase coping resources will help students decrease the stressors that life will throw your way. You should start now to learn academic skills that can aid in managing your stress.

#10. Study Skills-

When you have mastered all other skills, it would all lead down to the most important academic skill to prepare you for college- Study Skills.

Even some of the best high school students have not always developed good study skills.

Knowing how to read a textbook, take notes in class, use the library, and take multiple-choice tests are all areas that will help you be more successful in the classroom.

You should start now to work on your study skills. Test yourself from time to time. Attempt sitting for 4 hours reading a book. You are off to a great start.


Do I still need Academic Skills for college if I have an online degree?

Yes. Earning an online degree and attending college traditionally are quite different; you would need these academic skills to prepare you for college.

How do I know if I’m too young to learn these academic skills?

There is no age limit attached to these academic skills. If you are about to attend college, you are eligible to learn these skills.

Must I get admitted to College before learning these skills?

This depends on you. However, if you are interested in actually attending college, no time is too early.

Can I learn these academic skills on campus?

College can be really hectic and time flies by before you know it. It is advised you check these academic skills before leaving for college.

Can I cope without these academic skills in college?

Yes. You can. The question is how well would you do without them.


Succeeding in college doesn’t require just sitting in class, taking notes and doing well on exams.

Possessing certain skills will help you as a student be successful in all aspects of college inside and outside the classroom.  

These top 10 academic skills to prepare you for college is a way to go.



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