There are a variety of academic skills that are important for students to learn for academic success in high school, college, and beyond. But are there any academic skills that prepare students for non-academic success in life after they finish school?
Yes, there are. In this article, we’ll lay out three academic skills that can be applied outside academics and actually make a big impact on life success.
1. Questions-Based Paradigm
The first one is something we talk about at Unbound quite a bit. We think one of the most foundational academic skills for young adults is the ability to ask the right questions. Without this skill, the world becomes an overwhelming conglomerate of information and answers that can’t be sorted through productively.
Asking questions is key to academic success in higher education. Early childhood education teaches students how to understand the context of the world around them by introducing them to the fundamental realities of the world: shapes, colors, etc.
With each year, more complexity is added. Eventually, by the time you get to college, the focus should shift to how to interpret and understand the information you’ve been receiving for years and continue to receive. And questions are core to that.
Beyond academics, this skill is also core to basic problem solving. One can’t solve a problem they don’t understand. So the first step in effective problem solving is asking the right questions. Let’s say for example, that a young adult is working on a marketing team that is struggling to attract new business to their company. They need to start asking questions to properly understand the problem before they can implement any effective solutions.
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The next core academic skill that transcends academics is what we call QEMCI, which stands for Quickly and Effectively Mastering Complicated Information. This is a core academic skill in the 21st century where a world of information is at our fingertips. It’s not as important what you know, as much as it’s important how quickly you can know it.
How quickly can you master the complex information you face everyday? How effectively can you use that information in a real-world application?
In an academic context, this might look like how quickly and effectively you’re able to master the content of a textbook and pass the class requirements. This doesn’t mean cutting corners or taking shortcuts. It’s about understanding what is required and finding the most efficient and effective way to get there. For so many college classes that require papers and exams that have little to do with real-world application, this skill is essential for being able to efficiently meet requirements while focusing on what’s really important.
How can we apply this skill in the real world? Well, let’s pick our example from the marketing team back up. They are facing a problem of not driving enough new business to their company. They’ve asked questions and done analysis and they realize that their website needs to be redesigned to attract more customers. In order to do this, they have to learn how to code some pages to perform a certain way. This will take some training but no one has time to go back to school to study coding! They must utilize QEMCI to find what exactly needs to be done and then quickly and effectively master the complicated information in order to actually get it done!
3. Real-World Application
Finally, there is the skill of application. Now, this might not normally be considered as an academic skill but I’m including it here for an important reason. We’ve become so accustomed to thinking of academics as “theoretical” that it has become synonymous with “irrelevant” outside of ivory towers.
Unbound is passionate about bringing real-world application back to the forefront of educational efforts. Because after you’ve asked the questions and mastered the information, it’s time to apply what you’ve learned and do something!
As students learn things in school, they should also be learning how to apply that skill and knowledge. That is an academic skill.
In our example above, once they’ve asked questions, made an analysis, and the learned the necessary coding skills, the team can implement the project. And the ability to execute is what makes all the difference.
Ascend teaches students these core skills and helps them prepare holistically for an impactful future. Schedule a free consultation to learn more before enrollment closes on June 30th!
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.