6 Important Professional Skills
You Can Learn While at College

See also: Transferable Skills

College is a great place to gain all kinds of skills and knowledge, but it’s important to know which skills are going to be useful to you in the workplace, or even in your daily life. College is a time to learn about the major that you have chosen and prepare yourself for working in your future career.

However, you don’t just do this by attending classes and learning, but also by working on developing a range of professional, transferable skills that are likely to stand you in good stead no matter where you end up working in the future.

By developing some of the following skills while at college, you can improve your employability and your chance of climbing up the career ladder in the future.


Throughout your time at college, you will naturally begin to improve your research skills.

Research is a key element of any college major, and at this level of study, you will be expected to learn a lot of things on your own, for which research is absolutely essential. Research skills will benefit you in almost every professional field out there. Even in careers that are not research-based, you will still use this skill to keep up with the latest trends and knowledge in the industry. And you can start working on improving your research skills right from the very beginning when you are researching colleges and degree programs to consider applying to.


If you aspire to work with people in your future career, communication is going to be a big part of your job.

In fact, communication is a huge part of many career options - even those who work behind the scenes or spend a lot of time working alone will usually need to communicate with several different people on a regular basis. No matter what you want to do in the future, you will need to develop the skill of communicating your point in a way that ensures you sound as educated as you are while still ensuring that other people can understand what you’re telling them. At college, the debate team is a great way to build your communication skills.


Whether you write for the literary magazine, join your college newsletter or blog, or just practice your writing skills with your class essays, writing skills are essential for the majority of people after graduation.

Regardless of the career field that you end up working in, knowing how to write properly is a must. This skill is one of the most-needed for careers that center around writing such as journalism, but even those working in an office setting will need to be able to competently write letters, memos, proposals, and more. Scientists need to have good writing skills so that they can effectively communicate the findings of their research and ideas. Poor writing skills or bad grammar could cost you your job in any industry.

Stress Management

Nobody is immune from feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Throughout your college experience, particularly when there are exams and deadlines to deal with, you might deal with a lot of stress and anxiety.

This is a good time to improve your stress management skills and learn how to deal with it better, since stress not only impacts how you act and think, but it can also cause physical harm to your body, lowering your immunity and leaving you at a higher risk of getting unwell.

While at college, there are several things that you can do to learn healthier ways of coping with stress and set yourself up for any future career, but particularly a high-stress job like nursing. Speak to a college counsellor or therapist if you are concerned about your stress levels, and make sure that you are getting plenty of regular exercise to release some of the stress and help you feel better. Meditation and yoga can also help you relax, become more mindful, and get back in control.

Social Skills

Similar to good communication skills, you can use your time in college to improve your social skills and learn how to be more comfortable in any social situation – even the awkward ones.

Everybody’s personality is different, and one of the best things about going to college is that you will have the chance to get to know people who are very different and diverse, allowing you to practice your social skills in a wide range of settings and helping yourself get comfortable with speaking to just about anybody. College events are not only a lot of fun to attend, but they are also a great way to boost your social skills and practice getting familiar with different people and social situations, which will help you build your confidence and make it easier when applying for jobs and networking in the future.

Time Management

After a few weeks in college, you will probably learn first-hand just how important good time management skills are.

You will need to start practicing good time management skills from the very start to ensure that you attend lectures and classes on time and that your papers and essays are submitted on time. Many colleges offer courses and workshops in time management to help students improve these skills and learn more about best practices. However, the best way to become better at managing your time is to put it into action in your life. Good time management skills will become invaluable to you in the future at work, since it will make it easier for you to ensure that deadlines are met, and you stay in control of your stress levels even when things are rushed.

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.

The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.

No matter what you decide to study or what your future career goals are, transferable professional skills can help you get ahead in almost any industry or role. While getting your college degree, you have the best chance of learning about important transferable skills for the future and working to improve them before you graduate.

By building these important skills now, you can boost your chance of career success.

About the Author

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.