3 types of skills you should develop in high school

The jump from high school to university can seem intimidating. It can be difficult to judge what exactly you need to excel in your first year. As someone who has been there, done that, I thought I’d share some of the skills I think high school students (or anyone applying to university) should develop in preparation for university. 

Organizational skills

One of the things I noticed about university is that you are on your own. It’s up to you to keep track of your assignments, classes and deadlines. If you forget to hand in an assignment on time or forget about a test in university, your professor may not be as forgiving as your high school teachers, and a zero may be in your future. I like to keep myself organized by keeping all of my deadlines in my bullet journal and Google Calendar. You can’t go wrong with having electronic AND paper reminders. 

I also like to consider time management an organizational skill. In university, you have less class time and may be overwhelmed (and excited) by all the free time you appear to have. You also have to balance classes with commuting, schoolwork and a job, if you have one. With some good time management and organizational skills, there is nothing to fear. 

People skills

In high school, your classes may have a maximum of 30 people? And chances are you knew most, if not all, of your classmates for a number of years. In university, especially if you go out of town, you’ll likely be in a room of tens (or hundreds) of students you probably don’t know. Being able to go outside your comfort zone and talk to whoever is sitting next to you is a skill you should definitely get comfortable with to make friends and find partners for group assignments. 

Good communication skills are also something that will always be helpful. University is filled with all kinds of people and being able to communicate with peers and professors will be extremely beneficial. Whether it’s setting up group chats, emailing your professors or just chatting in-person or virtually with other students, good communication will never let you down. 

An birds-eye image of two girls reading textbooks while sitting a few feet apart on beanbags

You skills

Okay Jenna, you may be thinking, what’s a “you skill”? Well, this is something I just came up with. University is a time of change, and it’s important to keep in touch with yourself and grow as a person. 

University has so many great opportunities to expand your horizons in pretty much every way possible. Ryerson has so many student groups to join, fitness classes to attend, the Tri-Mentoring Program and so many electives to take. I swore off science classes after tenth grade, but then found myself taking a forensic science elective in my second year. I’m so glad I went outside my comfort zone to learn something completely new. If you’ve ever wanted to take a class that doesn’t fit with your program or usual interests, now is the time. 

Self-care is also something that shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s important to learn how to take care of yourself, whether it’s taking breaks, reading a book or catching up with friends and family. Being able to practice self-care in high school will ensure that you incorporate it into your university life too. 

An image of a hand holding the book "The Book of Lost Names" above grass, which is covered with leaves

One of my favourite self-care activities: taking time to read outside (when the weather allows)

These skills are what I found helpful when I started university. While everyone has different ways to help them succeed, I think having these skills in university is fundamental. 

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