Updated: Aug 30, 2021
While decoding the admission puzzle for you, we have asserted the importance of soft skills time and again. We are keeping soft skills as our focal point for this blog to show how significant they are in your portfolio and what skills you can imbibe to make the admission committee sit up and take notice.
In a bid to secure enough scores, write an impressive essay, obtain recommendations, etc., the important piece that remains overlooked by many students is soft skills. Some assume they have them enough; others think they don’t matter. But allow us to raise the curtains, ladies and gentlemen. Presenting the deal breakers in college admissions—Soft Skills. They are not to be taken softly.
To look at it logically, all leading colleges have one underlying mission- to turn students into future-ready leaders. And leaders aren’t made of just high scores and better essays. Leadership is one of the most important soft skills and produces other equally dominating virtues like emotional intelligence, collaboration, and empathy. The admission committee in undergraduate colleges across the globe is looking for a complete package of competence and virtues in students.
Let us look at the 4 most valued soft skills in undergraduate college admissions that must be honed years in advance:
The ability to be a solver
Leaders are not whiners. While identifying problems in a given situation is a great skill, dwelling on them isn’t. The capability of a student to offer solutions to a problem instead of highlighting it as a hindrance makes him an ideal leader. An Agile workplace specialist, Jan Bruce, writes in one of her popular Forbes write-up on the importance of viewing problems as fluid and short-term. And that’s what we call resilience—an indispensable leadership virtue that is not just valued in college admissions but life in general, especially in the difficult times triggered by the pandemic.
How do we inculcate resilience in students?
Like all other life skills, resilience cannot be taught. It’s an asset one must cultivate. Students in their high school must be groomed to see problems as challenges and solutions as a victory. If parents stop offering solutions and encourage students to analyze and tackle challenges independently, it will be easier to raise a generation of resilient leaders.
To know what to do when life gives you lemons
Let us begin talking about this crucial and rare skill by quoting what Goleman highlighted more than a decade ago to Harvard Business Review, “The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions.”
We can’t agree more. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to introspect and improve oneself. It is also about how we manage and nurture relationships with empathy. As Goleman said, scores get us through the doors of executive positions, but emotional intelligence helps us sustain the position and grow as leaders.
It is the ability to bring out the best in others by taking the lead and demonstrating what ‘best’ looks like.
How to enhance emotional intelligence?
This question has a one-word answer- exposure. Emotional intelligence needs to be honed in high school, if not earlier. Schools must have workshops and programs that expose students to situations that demand a high level of empathy, kindness, and composure. While the right age to develop this quality is kindergarten, it’s never too late to understand the intricacies and inculcate them in your behavior.
Choosing We over Me
You may be unbeatable at your skill, be it technical or creative, but you cannot become an organization. Organizations are made of teams that work together. No matter how good you are, if you lack the skills to communicate and collaborate, you are no good.
In order to be successful in college, students must be able to work well in groups, cooperate on assignments, and take constructive criticism. College and the life beyond will be a hardship for those who can only thrive in silos, as most jobs demand teamwork.
Electronic gadgets have connected the youth, but they have also hampered their capacity to communicate effectively. Not only at college, but the ability to convey and convince is also an invaluable life skill.
How to make students develop collaboration?
Collaboration should be made an essential part of the high school curriculum. Be it a science project or a stage performance, schools must facilitate teamwork on the students.
Getting more done in less time
‘Deadline’ is the most dreaded word in our professional life because we have failed to learn time management somewhere between middle to high school.
When it comes to completing projects on time, constant reminders and handholding that kids had in high school will likely disappear in college. They must be completely capable of managing their time and prioritizing their actions. That’s why the admission committee in undergraduate colleges try to pick students who can handle the pressure and manage their schedule well.
How to prepare students for time management?
Once again, time management is a skill that students should be exposed to from a very young age. Schools should make it a rewarding experience for students by awarding extra points for on-time submission. Workshops and mentoring sessions will go a long way in preparing students for a deadline-driven future.
Soft skills are not just the ticket to the college of your dreams. They are the pillars on which your resplendent future rests. Make sure you have a firm foundation of soft skills and virtues that matter.
Great guidance is an important piece of the puzzle called college admissions. That’s where Writers Qi comes into the picture. We guide the aspirants in preparing a complete portfolio and personality for college admissions in leading universities across the globe.
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