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Parents may help their college-bound kids hone the top soft skills

Parents may help their children achieve their college dreams
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Collaboration, communication, problem solving, time management and leadership are the top five soft skills a recent U.S. News article urged high students to hone for success in college and beyond. “Soft skills include the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and the willingness to learn through experience, and are applicable across multiple disciplines and careers,” according to U.S. News. Parents are particularly suited to help their college-bound children learn and polish these soft skills colleges and employers are watching for.

1. Collaboration Play nice, share, help mommy and daddy are the basics parents teach their children who grow into students becoming valuable members of teams and productive contributors of group projects. From family meetings involving brainstorming and sharing ideas to community service fostering volunteering and working together, parents give their children chances to improve the skill of cooperation towards a common goal.
2. Communication and interpersonal skills The family dinner table may provide the only consistent extracurricular opportunity students have for in-depth discussions. Social media has turned teen conversation into abbreviations, short hand and fast references. When parents engage their children in conversations, the skills of listening and asking questions may be fine-tuned for future use during interviews, internships and meetings with professors and employers.
3. Problem-solving At home, at work and at college, unexpected challenges pop up and students need the skill to deal with them. When children try to convince a parent about something, they are really strategizing and trying to develop a creative solution that all are comfortable with. Analytical thinking including examining the issue and exploring options may be applied anywhere.
4. Time management Deadlines mean time and money in the college prep and business world. Parents may help their children learn how to prioritize and plan to accomplish what they need to do when they need to do it.
5. Leadership Parents are the leader of their families and may model the skills of guide, arbiter, manager and decision maker. They may also give their children a chance to assume these roles at home and via extracurricular activities as preparation for college and the workforce.

Colleges and employers want applicants that will enhance their campus and business. With parental help, the college-bound may master the soft skills to be ready to impress and achieve success.