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Practice the Skills

Step 4 – Seek out opportunities to practice the skills:

Fourth, follow your action plan to meet these goals.  For example,

1. Review course syllabi for specific skill development opportunities, i.e. group projects (collaboration) and presentations (oral communication).  A syllabus may list course learning outcomes which may include specific examples of skills acquired in the class.  For example, a course in Development and Democracy in Latin America may have a learning outcome such as students will be able to analyze, and synthesize arguments in both primary and secondary resources, and articulate them in writing and conversation.  This is an example of an outcome where you will be developing written and oral communication skill through articulating your research and analysis by writing an essay, and presenting the information in class discussions and presentations.

a. Meet with a professor to discuss opportunities to practice skills in your courses and through research opportunities.

2. Search for training opportunities offered on campus:

a. OPCD sessions

b. Professional Development Center’s offerings available to students

c. Residence Hall programs

d. Student Life opportunities

e. Use our Skill-Building Directory to research opportunities to practice skills.

3. Seek and become an active member of student organizations to enhance these skills. Pursue and hold a leadership position within an organization.  This will provide a great opportunity to practice professional skills. For example,

a. Develop oral communication skills by presenting information to group members through meetings and training members.

b. Develop business skills by working within a budget and monitoring expenses, planning an event (social gatherings, recruiting new members, or volunteer work), or managing a volunteer project (i.e. Project Pumpkin).

c. Develop social/cross-cultural skills by communicating, collaborating, working with diverse individuals within your organization or campus community, and understanding different viewpoints.

4. Seek and apply to internships that align with your career interests and values to develop these skills.  Pursue opportunities to practice and strengthen professional competencies during your internship. Be a motivated, enthusiastic employee willing to learn and put forth a concentrated effort toward any project.  Also, ask for constructive feedback on your performance and skills demonstrated during your internship.