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How Important are Skills in the College Decision Process?

A college decision can be very difficult for students. These questions will give them clarity.

The college decision and job skills

Times have changed when it comes to deciding on a college, and students that embrace the change will be one step closer to becoming successful graduates.

College Prep and Parenting Expert, Wendy David-Gaines, identifies a very important shift in the college decision process.

The typical and outdated question asked to students who are trying to figure out where to attend college and what career to pursue is:

What do you want to be?

Find out what the question SHOULD be in Wendy’s article below and stay informed and up-to-date in the college process.  Hint:  Skills, Skills, Skills! 


There is a burning question that plagues the college-bound because they think the answer can help guide their college choices. It is asked by colleges, college counselors, teachers, parents and peers. However, students struggling with an introspective retort may be focusing on the wrong inquiry.

The query is, What do you want to be?

Many students feel pressure to hurry an answer so they will find it easier to choose a major, begin internships in their field of study, and research prospective mentors and employers. But chances are teenagers are undecided and so are many parents. With so many possibilities and growing technology that creates and eliminates choices faster than a drone can fly, it’s no surprise family members are having trouble with their answers.

A couple of generations ago, the question was easier to form a reply. Back in the day, folks identified with a job and stuck with it until retirement. Today, employees can expect four, five or more different career paths in their lifetime. It’s harder for students to choose a college based on a specific program when they know it’s not about sticking to one profession but picking what they want to be first. Add the looming worry that changing their minds and switching majors can vastly increase the time it takes to graduate and the cost to earn a college degree, and the stress increases without resolving the issue.

The better question to answer is, what skills do you want to have?

Colleges and employers are looking for the skills that translate into successful students/workers and boost them into promoted positions. While hard skills fit a specific business, soft skills are valued in general. They want people with the technical hard skills necessary to perform who also have mastered the soft skills of working independently and with a team, communicating clearly and concisely in various formats, thinking critically and analytically while creatively problem-solving, and doing it all under time pressure. Self-motivation and good decision-making abilities are key, too.

Students can do themselves a big favor by objectively analyzing the skills they already possess, want to enhance, and need to develop. Measure colleges by how they can best help students achieve the expertise they will need in the future marketplace.

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How Important are Skills in the College Decision Process?

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