When it comes to preparing for college, much of the focus is often on hard skills such as your ability to compose a stellar personal essay. But hard skills aren’t the only skills that you need to focus on if you want to be successful in college. There are many soft skills that you need to work on such as communication, collaboration, and most importantly curiosity! Below are a handful of soft skills that are at the top of our list.


One of the most important skills to develop and leverage throughout college is communication. Effective communication will save you a world of time and stress throughout your college career if you learn how to communicate with professors and peers effectively. This is because being on the same page as your professors and classmates is the only way to truly be successful. You will realize this the first time you have to do group work, work asynchronously (or through zoom), or even ask for help and the occasional due date extension. Learn how to communicate effectively, do it early, and do it often.


In the same vein as communication, being effective when collaborating in group settings is an invaluable skill that you should try to nurture as early as possible. While much of your high school academic experience relied heavily on your own efforts, college can expose you to working collaboratively in all areas including in study groups, labs, and presentations.


Unlike some of the other soft skills on this list, curiosity is one that may not be as common but is certainly one of the most important soft skills to nurture throughout college. Be curious, try new things, join clubs and organizations that pique your interests, register for classes that sound interesting, and push yourself to grow through new experiences and opportunities.


In college, there is more fluidity and more liberty when it comes to how your days, weeks, and semesters are structured. While this can be incredibly freeing for students, it can be a real sink or swim moment for students who lack the self-discipline to study and do homework before partaking in all of the other activities that college life has to offer. In many cases, professors may not collect homework or take attendance regularly and it can become really easy to skip class or skip reading assignments, and so on. Without self-discipline, you can fall behind and not even know it until it is too late.

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Admission decisions are increasingly more competitive, and the right college admissions counselor can help students craft their college applications to reflect their full toolkit of hard and soft skills! In addition to impressing college admissions representatives, there are many personal and academic benefits for students who choose to work on these soft skills. Want to learn more about how you can translate your talents into a competitive college application? Connect with Cultivate!