10 life-changing skills you learn at college

You learn much more in college than what you study. Here are the top 10 skills for life you'll pick up along the way.

Clock 3 min read Calendar Published: 6 Apr 2023
Author Alice Wilson
10 life-changing skills you learn at college

Are you excited about heading to college soon, or considering going back to school as a mature student? Then you're in the right place. 

We all know that college provides us with knowledge and qualifications, but have you ever thought about the life-changing skills you learn in college that go far beyond the classroom? These skills can make a massive difference in your future career and personal life. 

Let's dive into the top 10 skills you learn in college that will transform your life!


Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is one of the most valuable skills you'll learn in college. It's the ability to analyze information and make well-informed decisions. College coursework often requires you to dissect complex concepts, which helps you develop strong critical thinking abilities that you can apply in your career and everyday life. Not only is this both fun and important, but more advanced critical thinking skills are also correlated with better health throughout life.  


Time Management

With classes, assignments, sports teams, volunteering, paid work, and social life, college can be overwhelming. Learning how to balance your time effectively is essential and will set you up for success in the rest of your life. College teaches you to set priorities, communicate responsibilities and negotiate deadlines, create schedules, and manage your workload efficiently, which will serve you well throughout the rest of your education and career.


Communication Skills

Whether it's giving presentations, writing essays, or participating in group projects, college is all about effective communication. You'll learn to articulate your ideas clearly, listen actively, and collaborate with diverse groups of people. These communication skills are crucial for building strong personal and professional relationships. Again, evidence shows that higher communication skills are associated with a huge range of benefits like problem solving and higher self-esteem. 


Research Skills

Another hugely valuable skill you learn in college is how to conduct effective research. You'll become an expert at finding reliable sources, evaluating information, and synthesizing your findings into a cohesive argument. These research skills are essential for excelling at decision-making in the workplace and in the rest of your life.


College is the perfect opportunity to start building your professional network. You'll meet professors, mentors, supervisors, classmates, and alumni who can provide valuable connections and advice for your future career. Embrace networking events and career fairs, and don't forget to make the most of platforms like LinkedIn to stay connected. It’s amazing how useful your peer network can be for finding job opportunities and learning about projects that you might not come across otherwise.


In college, you'll face new challenges and opportunities that require you to adapt quickly. From changing majors to navigating new social situations, you'll become more flexible and resilient. This adaptability is a valuable asset in today's ever-changing job market.


Financial Literacy

While managing your finances may not be as fun as a Saturday night party, college is the perfect time to learn budgeting, saving, and investing. Understanding how to manage your money will help you achieve financial independence and make smarter financial decisions in the future.



Whether you're working on a group project or participating in a club, college is full of opportunities to collaborate with others. You'll learn how to work effectively in diverse teams, delegate tasks, and resolve conflicts. These teamwork skills are crucial for success not just in the professional world, but in every relationship you have.


Problem Solving

From tackling challenging assignments to dealing with roommate issues, college life is full of problems that require creative solutions. You'll learn to approach challenges from different angles and think critically to find the best course of action, developing skills like empathy, patience, and logic. Problem-solving skills are highly sought after by employers in nearly every industry.



This might be one of the most important skills of all. College is a time for personal growth and independence. You'll learn to make decisions, take responsibility, and manage your life without constant supervision. This newfound independence will help you become a more confident, self-reliant individual.


Set yourself up for college success

College is more than just earning a degree – it's a transformative experience that equips you with essential life skills. From critical thinking to financial literacy, the skills you learn in college will help you navigate your career and personal life with confidence. 

Glean can help you there too. We’ve created a tool that lets you learn everything from your classes and expand your useful knowledge base without fretting about misplacing key information. 

Try Glean free
Time for a simpler, smarter note taking accommodation?

Time for a simpler, smarter note taking accommodation?

Glean is the online note taking tool that makes compliance simple, reduces cost and admin burden, and improves student outcomes.
Learn More