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What life skills do students develop at university? | A guide for parents

What life skills do students develop at university? | A guide for parents

by Judith Charlton

Studying for a degree is a huge investment, but it doesn't just culminate in a qualification for your child.

With all the hard work comes a myriad of transferable skills that will see them go on to excel in the professional world.


  1. Time management skills

  2. Financial independence and budgeting skills

  3. Communication skills

  4. Presentation skills

  5. Self-discipline

  6. Support to grow


Time management skills

During their university education, your child will study several different modules each year. Each module comes with assignments, seminar preparation, compulsory reading and more.

Their workload will mean they'll be learning how to manage their time carefully as they attend lectures and seminars, perhaps taking part in research or group work on campus and online.

Because of this, many students find their first year to be a real learning curve, but they'll soon perfect the art of managing their time in a way that will see them go on to excel in a busy professional setting.


Financial independence and budgeting skills

The financial independence that comes with studying at university is often a shock to first-year students. Instead of relying on their parents or guardians, they're suddenly responsible for rent payments, bills, their own food and social lives.

Through managing their money, your child will be equipped with budgeting skills that they'll carry with them throughout adulthood. This makes financial independence one of the most powerful university life skills to take into their working lives.

Communication skills

University is an excellent opportunity for those who are a little quieter to perfect their communication skills as it involves interacting and learning with people from all walks of life.

Whether it's debating during seminars, preparing an assessed presentation with peers, or conflict resolution with housemates, students quickly refine their ability to mediate and work with others during their studies.

Once they have graduated, skills such as these will make your child valuable to potential employers. 


Presentation skills

Like them or loathe them, presentations - whether virtual or in person - are a big part of the professional world. Having public speaking skills will ensure your child is a cut above the rest when it comes to applying for jobs. Many of our courses feature assessments in the form of both individual and group presentations.

Presentations are great for building your child's confidence, and their module leaders will offer actionable feedback to help them develop their public speaking skills.

Many graduate schemes and professional roles require candidates to prepare and deliver presentations, and having the experience of a degree will make sure your child is well-versed in presenting their ideas clearly and coherently while being engaging. 

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Unlike school and college, a considerable portion of your child's time at university will be taken up with independent study. This means that they will be expected to exercise self-discipline and self-motivation to ensure their work is completed to a high standard and on time.

Arguably one of the most important skills developed during university, self-discipline not only transfers to professional settings but is also an excellent life skill. From making time for personal development such as learning new skills, to taking on freelance projects or exercising; self-discipline is one of the most invaluable university life skills that's sure to benefit your child from graduation and beyond.


Support to grow

Seeing your child grow up and leave the nest can be a stressful time for many parents. However, studying at university is an incredible opportunity for young adults to develop and thrive.

At Newcastle University, we have many systems in place to support the mental, physical and financial well-being of our students, as well as building university life skills. If you're in need of a little reassurance, why not read our guide on how universities look after students?


Although we use the terms parent/child in this blog for simplicity, it is intended for anyone fulfilling a parenting role.

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