College-Bound Corner: 4 skills to develop in the year ahead

Jan. 19, 2024

By Keso Mumladze
Staff Writer

With a new year just beginning, it is the perfect time for students to commit themselves to cultivating personal skills that will help them achieve their goals. These include time management, creating a resume, volunteering and communicating effectively.

First, create consistent, daily routines. Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day to improve the quality of your sleep. Additionally, set aside time each day to do homework and relax so your schedule has a sense of balance. Also, while it may seem like a nuisance, commit to checking your school email several times a day so your inbox does not get overwhelming. 

End your days as productively as you began them by creating a to-do list almost every night before bedtime. Prioritize your tasks, break big projects into smaller segments, set deadlines and mark completed tasks on your list. Then, you can wake up with a plan to tackle your responsibilities and goals. 

Colleges and universities value volunteerism because it reflects a student’s dedication to public service, empathy and ability to work with a team.

Next, consider creating a resume, which most jobs and some colleges require. A resume is a formal document consisting of five main sections: contact information, education, experience, hobbies and skills. You can begin by asking a trusted teacher for help, doing online research to educate yourself and talking to friends and family about which skills and talents to include. 

Websites like Canva have templates for resumes, so that is also a good resource. Choose to include the information that will make you look most impressive, and tailor your resume for the job or position you want

Furthermore, you can resolve to donate your time to help others. If you have the chance to volunteer, take advantage of that opportunity. This can include volunteering at a soup kitchen or food pantry, planting trees in underserved neighborhoods or participating in a town cleanup. Getting involved with these causes can be as simple as making a call or sending an email to the organization for whom you’d like to volunteer.

Not only does volunteering make the volunteer feel good, but most colleges and universities ask on their applications what kind of volunteer work a student has done during high school. Colleges and universities value volunteerism because it reflects a student’s dedication to public service, empathy and ability to work with a team

Students can strengthen these skills by taking on service-learning projects, getting an internship, taking part in after-school or summer programs and doing community service. They can also join clubs, groups and organizations.

Finally, commit to strengthening your communication skills. Successful communication helps people build trust, create conditions for sharing creative ideas, develop respect, solve problems and understand complex situations. Communication skills are key to success because they improve academic, personal and professional outcomes. 

Tackling all of this at once can be daunting, so consider prioritizing one or two of these items, and then move on to the rest. No matter how you approach these skills, aim to make 2024 a year of discovery and development.

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