Essential Academic Skills to succeed in your academic and professional life

Whether you’re just starting out in college or want to enhance your credentials for professional advancement, it is important to develop good study habits and academic skills. In this article, we will discuss academic and professional skills that not only set you up to succeed in your next assignment, post-graduate study but also prepare you for your career outside of university.

What are academic skills?

Academic skills are the abilities, study habits and learning strategies that help you learn and succeed in academic environment, uncover better opportunities of employment, or enhance your overall performance in the workplace which is associated with a higher incomes, and job satisfaction. The research by the McKinsey Global Institute showed that many of these academic skills are identified as the foundational skills that will help citizens thrive in the world of work. Those future-proof citizens’ skills include critical thinking, communication, teamwork effectiveness, time management, self-management and self-control, data literacy, research skills and so much more. 

Essential academic competency

Here are essential academic skills that will help you think, research, present, write about, – and do all the things that will directly impact on your learning and empower your success in academic, personal, and career life.

Time Management

Time management is one of the most critical skills for academic success. It helps us organise, manage, prioritize tasks and maximize productivity. Learn how to improve time management skills with Blinkist's collection of The Best 45 Time Management Books, including the famous "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey


Developing self-discipline enables us to plan, focus attention, remember better, and drive sustained actions when facing any challenges. Self-discipline can also increase our efficiency, improve our self-esteem, goals, confidence, and values.
Explore popular self-discipline books with reviews on GoodReads

Data Literacy

Data literacy is the ability to read, explore, analyze, visualize and communicate data. Build practical skills and become a data-driven leader with Udemy courses

Research Skills​

Learning effective research skills benefit you to develop information literacy skills and enhance the ability to articulate ideas, and findings clearly and coherently.

Academic Writing

Coursera offer various Academic Writing courses designed to fit your needs - from individual students seeking academic growth to corporate teams looking to upskill

Critical Thinking

The Havard Business Review article outlined 3 simple habits to build good critical thinking skills: Understand biases by questioning assumptions · Reason through logic, seek and analyze relevant information · Seek out diversity of thought and collaboration

Communication Skills

From active listening, enhancing your communication skills to finding your professional voice and developing interpersonal skills, Coursera has a wide range of valuable courses to achieve academic success or boost your work life

Teamwork Effectiveness

Teamwork skills are essential in your professional and personal life. This LinkedIn Learning Path will help you learn proven strategies for effective cross-functional team collaboration, build meaningful relationships, managing conflict, and develop interpersonal skills for inclusive workplace

Practice positive thinking

To cope better with stress or any academic challenges and experience healthier and happier lives, you need to maintain a positive outlook on life. Learn about the power of positive thinking and explore tips for cultivating a positive mindset from most popular, inspiring books on Amazon

How to achieve academic success?

1. Create a personal vision statement 

A personal vision statement is a statement of what you want to accomplish in your life, both personally and professionally. This statement can outline both short- and long-term goals, and include your values, passion or skills. 

2. Identify the skill you need to improve

Academic skills for success. Overcome culture shock

Identifying the skills you need to improve can help you achieve your vision and goals. For example, you might have a lack of data literacy and communication skills, but your career aspiration is to become a business analyst. In this step, you will outline the self-development actions required for achieving your vision statement. 

Another example is if you are a perfectionism and sometimes have a negative self-talk, practicing positive thinking can enhance your confidence, overall performance and general well-being. 

Remember to focus on developing your best attributes and making improvements in your weaknesses.

3. Set SMART, small goals to help you achieve your vision and accomplish large goals

Setting SMART goals can help you stay on track while sharpening your skills. Ensure that your development plan has both large and small goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound to make it easier to track and attain your goals within a certain time frame.

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