Personal development in students
As college students take their courses, they’ll gain much beyond the academic benefit. Through their courses, and through the guidance of instructors like you, students can develop attitudes and skills that help them gain confidence, work well with others, and better understand themselves and the world around them.
We wanted to learn more about students’ opinions on the ways that college has provided them with opportunities to develop the skills, traits, and attitudes that will prove meaningful as they pursue their future goals. So, in our Spring 2015 Student Engagement Insights survey, we asked several questions that gave us insight into their perspectives. As you’ll see below, students are confident that their courses help them develop qualities that extend beyond the academic and practical knowledge they gain.
1. Soft skills
In order to succeed in personal and professional endeavors, students must master “soft skills” such as problem solving, collaboration, verbal and written communication, teamwork, and leadership. In a previous interview with Cengage Learning, author and instructor Beverly Amer notes: “Soft skills are absolutely essential to career success these days. I tell my students, ‘Your technical skills may help you get the job, but it’s your soft skills that will help you keep the job.”
Are college students confident that they are, in fact, gaining these skills as they complete their college coursework. When we asked students “Have your courses helped you develop necessary soft skills (time management, communication, etc)?, ” 93% of them replied that yes, they’re gaining these skills.
Indeed, this number is encouraging! But, if you’d like to consider some additional ways to bring coverage of soft skills into your own course, consider watching Angele Blackshear-Brown’s presentation “From College to Career: Teaching Skills to Transition Today’s Students Into Tomorrow’s Professionals.”
2. Self knowledge
Students also report that their college courses have provided a place for them to become more knowledgeable about themselves. In response to the question
“Have your courses helped you understand more about yourself, your abilities, interests, etc?, ” 95% said “yes.”