Sunday, December 9, 2012

'Soft Skills' Pushed as Part of College Readiness

'Soft Skills' Pushed as Part of College Readiness
Education Week,  November 14, 2012

To make it in college, students need to be up for the academic rigor. But that's not all. They also must be able to manage their own time, get along with roommates, and deal with setbacks. Resiliency and grit, along with the ability to communicate and advocate, are all crucial life skills. Yet, experts say, many teenagers lack them, and that's hurting college-completion rates.

"Millennials have had helicopter parents who have protected them," said Dan Jones, the president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. "They haven't had the opportunity to struggle. When they come to college and bad things happen, they haven't developed resiliency and self-soothing skills."

College enrollment is growing, but graduation rates remain flat.  As educators look for ways to turn that showing around, many schools are incorporating the softer, non-cognitive skills into college-readiness efforts. The ability to solve problems and be resourceful are viewed by some experts as being as important as mastering mathematics and reading. Helping teenagers develop those skills is being addressed in high schools, college-freshman orientation, youth-development organizations, and parenting programs.

While I’m not a Millenial, these are skills I wish had been taught to me before going to college.  These were lessons that I, unfortunately, had to learn the hard way – living life.

I applaud schools looking beyond academics to prepare students for college with skills that will help them succeed in college as well as life.

I rescue failing students by remedying the Barriers to Learning.

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