The 5 Top Skills Every University Student Needs (& How to Develop Them)

In this article, we will be sharing the top 5 skills you need as a student and the best free or affordable ways you can develop them.

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As a student, there are several essential skills you need if you want to succeed not only in your studies but also in your future career. No matter where you are in your studies, whether you’re a first-year university student or a master's student, you can make your studying experience more enjoyable and easier by having the right skills.

Having a degree is always a bonus but if you don’t have the right skills to go forward into the workplace, you’re going to find the already competitive job market an even bigger challenge. In this article, we will be sharing the top 5 skills you need as a student and the best free or affordable ways you can develop them.

5 Skills You Need as a Student

Listed below are our top 5 recommended skills that all students need to go the extra mile. By having the skills listed, you’re setting yourself up for success.

1. Networking Skills

Networking skills are underrated and something we firmly believe everyone should have. Networking comes with several impressive benefits that can help anyone move forward in life. Networking is more than just knowing the right people and is an essential skill that all students need to have before starting their careers. Here are ways having networking skills will help:

• Better career opportunities: Networking will expand your professional network which can lead to potential job offers in the future and also help you obtain the best industry knowledge.
• Advice and guidance: Networking provides the opportunity for you to gain advice and guidance from professionals within a similar field.
• Personal growth: Networking has been linked to personal growth, improved self-confidence and better social skills.

By building a network during your studies, you’re setting the foundation for future success within your career. Networking will help you open up doors and gain access to new opportunities that will boost your personal and professional development.

2. Communication Skills

Communication skills are something that everyone needs, no matter their industry or profession. From being able to actively listen to holding down a conversation, communication is key. These skills are particularly important for students and will help you:

• Succeed academically: Communication will enhance your academic studies, allowing you to present and collaborate better which will lead to better grades.
• Prepare for your career: Communication skills are essential for your future career. They will make job interviews go smoother, improve workplace interactions and allow you to convey your ideas better with colleagues.
• Build relationships: Strong communication skills will allow you to build better relationships, both in your academic journey and career.

Students who have strong communication skills excel in every area. It’s key to a prosperous future.

3. Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills will help you not only overcome any challenges you face but also find new solutions. Developing these skills as a student will help you later in your career as many different roles require this specific skill. Here are examples of why these skills are important:

• Enhanced adaptability: Problem-solving skills will help you adapt to any new challenges or scenarios that come your way during your studies or throughout your career.
• Real-world situations: These skills are needed in everyday life and future career opportunities. They are essential for any environment you find yourself in.
• Collaboration: When you have problem-solving skills, you can effectively collaborate with other students during projects or with future team members to come up with new solutions and ideas.

By having these skills, you will become a better student who is more creative and adaptable, being better equipped to handle any challenges in your life.

4. Time Management Skills

Time management is a skill that is needed in all areas of life. Time management allows you to prioritise your tasks and break them down into smaller, more actionable plans. As a student, they are crucial and will help you:

• Live a balanced life: Being a student can be hard, and balancing studies with other priorities can be challenging. Time management skills will help you live a more well-rounded life.
• Improve productivity: Being able to manage your time more efficiently will improve your productivity as you’ll be more focused and minimise any time wasted.
• Reduce stress: Avoid any last-minute rushes through effective time management. This will help reduce your stress levels.

When you master time management you’ll see an improvement in your grades, well-being and feel prepared for the workplace.

5. Technology Skills

In a world driven by technology, having these skills will help you go a long way. Technology is everywhere in the new digital age and almost every organisation requires employees to have strong technology skills when entering the workforce. As a student, these skills can:

• Improve employability: Having technical skills will improve your employability because as mentioned most organisations require it.
• Enhance communication: These skills will allow you to communicate more effectively.
• Increase innovation: Technology fosters innovation and creativity, something essential for students. This will help prepare you for future challenges you may face.

Developing these skills will equip you with the tools needed for success not only in your academic journey but also in the competitive job market.

3 Free (Or Affordable) Ways to Develop Your Skills

It’s never too late to develop your skills. Now that you know the top 5 skills that you need, let’s talk about how you can develop them.

1. Attend Training Workshops

A simple but effective way to develop new skills or improve your pre-existing skill set is by attending training courses and workshops. This traditional method of learning has proven time and time again to be an effective development method. These are even more accessible for students as many universities offer free courses, workshops and seminars to help their students develop, personally and professionally. So make sure to see if there are any workshops available for you to attend. If there are no training opportunities offered by your university, then a quick Google search will show you hundreds of options to pick from. Whilst these might not always be free, the benefits outweigh any costs involved and they are often inexpensive.

2. Do Some E-Learning

The internet is filled with some wonderful things. From podcasts to YouTube videos, you can find anything you want. E-learning is an affordable or free option for students who want to expand their knowledge. This style of learning is also accessible to those who are unable to attend in-person classes or travel. One of the key benefits of e-learning is that you can learn or study, whenever it suits you. Due to the little time and location restrictions, you can learn in your own time which is helpful for students who are already managing their time studying or writing assignments.

3. Find a Mentor

Finding a professional mentor is easily one of the best things you can do at university. Finding a professional and being allowed to learn from them whilst being offered their guidance, is truly priceless. Many universities offer mentoring programmes, so we suggest reaching out to the appropriate person and asking if this is something that is offered at your institution. If not, you can sign up to PushFar for free, where you can connect with professionals from all over the world. Mentoring comes with some incredible benefits and is something you don’t want to miss out on. A good mentor can help you develop all of the skills mentioned above and more. A good mentor can also prepare you for your future career and provide you with new and exciting opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Skills are an essential part of our professional and personal journeys and aren’t something we need to learn once but continue to learn and enhance throughout our entire lives. Now that you know the key skills you need as a student, you can start planning how you want to develop these skills to go further.

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