6 Skills That Prepare Students for Academic Success

By: Tina Shaffer

While a growing number of educators and business leaders are united around the idea that 21st century skills are necessary for success in today’s world, many of these skills are largely left out of the classroom. Skills including time management, critical thinking and self-motivation not only give kids and teens an advantage in school and life, they are skills that can be taught. This is why we do what we do at Destination Imagination! 

Here are 6 essential skills students learn through Destination Imagination that will prepare them for success in school, their career, and life. 

  1. Time Management: As we all know, there are only 24 hours in a day and while some come by the ability to manage their time more naturally, there are many of us that don’t. In order to maximize your potential for the day, practice finding a system that works for you and develop a study routine. As with any DI Challenge, you’ll also want to build in extra time for unexpected problem-solving. Consider designing a time management calendar or using a planner to make sure you’re always on top of your school work and extracurricular activities.
  2. Setting Attainable Goals: Setting goals that are unreasonably high usually leads to frustration and disappointment. Define your goal and then ask yourself, “What do I have to do in order to achieve it?” Develop a timeline for reaching your goal and be sure to reflect on and track your progress. 
  3. Organization: Keeping (and staying!) organized will save you valuable time and allow you to keep your stress levels down. First things first: If your room is a mess, be sure to tidy it up. Believe it or not, a nice, clean haven can improve productivity. Create a homework station and a system for organizing your school papers and supplies. Oh, and most importantly, do your homework every day. No excuses!
  4. Critical Thinking: Critical thinking isn’t about knowing what to think; it’s about knowing how to think. From asking open-ended questions to working collaboratively in a group to making decisions, it’s a skill needed to thrive in many different areas. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to have the wrong answer. Asking “what ifs” and discussing text or questions with others can sharpen your analytical skills and push you to complete challenges using new, creative ideas. 
  5. Self-Motivation: A positive attitude can go a very long way! Be prepared to spend a lot of time listening and doing. For a class that you’re not crazy about, think of it as one big Instant Challenge… but without the chenille stems and foil.  Don’t let yourself procrastinate when facing what you think is the inevitable. If you set your mind to it, you are sure to succeed. 
  6. Commitment: In order for an idea to come to fruition, you need to be committed to it. Like life, your education is also a journey. Continue to recognize your potential and stay committed to gaining the most of out of this journey as you can. Your hard work and dedication will pay off in the end.