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First year university students often claim that good academic skills will lead them to academic success.  However, research suggests that social skills and personal attributes have a significant influence on how well students cope with the challenges of transition to university.  Discuss. 

The Challenges of the Transition to University

Over the last couple of years, a discussion is doing the corners of the university campuses all across the globe which revolves around the First year university students who often claim that good academic skills are the major benefactors behind their success and growth. However, research suggests that it is not so, research pointed out that it is the development of social skills and other personal attributes which ensure the success of a first year student in the university. The essay will discuss and explore the subject in detail and give arguments in favour of development of the cognitive, social and development skills for the success of the student.

A student undergoes a massive transformation when he moves from secondary schooling to college level studies. The world around the student is different, different people from different background with differences in their culture and language is the order of the university. In such a diverse culture, the student often gets lost in the transition and becomes confused, as to what is required to excel at the university (Suskie, 2018)

College or universities are a notch higher than the regular schooling now there is a reason why college education is considered as important and some people see it as a warm up for the professional world. Universities provide a lot of scope and avenues for the development of a student and this is one of the strong reasons why cultural activities, sports, debates and many more extra and co-curricular activities are situated at the locus of the University (Patterson, DeBaryshe & Ramsey, 2017).

Learning is a very broad topic to speak about, however holistically it can be defined as the process of acquiring new skills or modifying the existing skills, knowledge, behaviour, values and preferences to stay competent in the changing times. It has been over and over said that, consistent learning is the sustainable path for the growth and development of the individual. More the diversity of knowledge, understanding and learning, the individual is in a better position to face the challenges of the contingent times (Hawkins & Weis, 2017).

Academic skills no doubt are very important contributors for the growth and development of the first year university student. It certainly elevates his basic learning ability, on which he can further leverage and become professional in his future endeavours.  Academic skills fill the student with book knowledge, something which has been experienced and felt by the researchers and scholars, and would benefit the students. It then depends on the ability of the students to leverage on that academic skill and build his career. But most certainly it is not the only way to boast the learning of a person, neither it is comprehensive in approach. Academic skills provide learning which can be mostly categorized as either of deep learning or superficial learning. The two extremes are mentioned because it then boils down on the capability of the student to absorb the superficial learning, work on it and develop deep learning on the subjects. This helps them in academic profession, where majority of the emphasis is given on the academic skills. 

The Purpose of University Teaching


However, the counter argument for the academic skills as the factor for the success of the first year university student is under a lot of flak, because it does not contribute to the overall development of the student. The aim of the university is to develop an individual for the challenges of the future. The world is fast moving into the realms of globalization, machine and augmented learning, technological evolution and many more changes which are the drivers of the entire ecosystem. Only the academic skills cannot guarantee the success of the first year student. Historically speaking, Steve Jobs quit his college to pursue his dreams, those dreams which he did not even thought would result in the most successful company in terms of revenue on earth, Apple. The same is with Mark Zuckerberg, who left prestigious Harvard University to pursue his dream of excellence, and at last created Facebook. A social media platform which has given wings to social interaction, social abilities of people and has been the centre of innovation and inspiration for various companies.  Thus, by no means academic skills can guarantee the success of the first year student (Assiter, 2017).

Talking in a broader concept, the aim or the purpose of university teaching is to develop the skills of the student which would help him in combating the challenges of the modern day. The world is changing at the wink of eye, every hour a new company is created to bring change in the present business environment. This makes it extremely important to develop and brush the skills of the students and make them competent to fight the challenges of modern times and emerge victorious.  Students are being exposed to various conditions which would enhance their social skills, which would give them a strong ground to rest on in the present and the future. Communication skills, the skills of making friends and the ability to make relationship with other people is something which is most appreciated and valued skills in the present times. These skills are to be developed in the university environment and the student can most definitely climb the ladder of success (Goffman, 2017).

Personal attribute such as being proactive in nature, self-starter, self-motivated and being independent are some of the skills which contribute towards the overall development of the student. The present times are clouded by a lot of uncertainty and academic skills along enough are not sufficient to ensure the success of the first year student. For instance, a candidate who passes the university with flying colours with no social skills and personal attributes won’t be able to travel much distance in his life. On the contrary, an average student, who has focussed on his overall development In the way, played a lot of sports, participated in debates, seminars, college fest, took initiative to implement something, talk to people, become their friends, has a positive outlook for the future, will most definitely be a far more successful and a much more mentally evolved person in the future. There have been numerous examples of People in the past that did not rely on the normative academic studies and still are successful in their lives. For instance, the Anil Agarwal, MD and Chairman of Vedanta group had all the skills in him, which would guarantee his success. He ignored his academic studies and pursued his dream with his existing skills sets and develops leadership skills on the go. Thus, by no means, Academic skills are the one step ladder to the success of the first year university student (Richardson et. al., 2012).

In order to bring the essay to a logical conclusion, it can be said with utmost certainty that academic skills alone is not sufficient for the success and growth of the student, neither in the shorter run, nor in the long run. It is the overall personality development of the student, in the field of sports, arts, literature, culture, communication, social skills, reading skills, cognitive ability, decision making abilities and many more which create a strong foundation for success. Thus, in the end, the essay can be concluded with a Piece to think for the readers “What is my dream job, what skills would make me reach the imagined”. 

References

Assiter, A. (2017). Transferable skills in higher education. Routledge.

Goffman, E. (2017). Interaction ritual: Essays in face-to-face behavior. Routledge.

Hawkins, J. D., & Weis, J. G. (2017). The social development model: An integrated approach to delinquency prevention. In Developmental and Life-course Criminological Theories (pp. 3-27). Routledge.

Patterson, G. R., DeBaryshe, B. D., & Ramsey, E. (2017). A developmental perspective on antisocial behavior. In Developmental and Life-course Criminological Theories (pp. 29-35). Routledge.

Richardson, A., King, S., Garrett, R., & Wrench, A. (2012). Thriving or just surviving? Exploring student strategies for a smoother transition to university. A practice report. The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 3(2), 87-93. Retrieved from https://proquest.umi.com

Suskie, L. (2018). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide. John Wiley & Sons

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