6 Skills You Learn in School
That You Use in Real Life

See also: Social Skills

If you ask anyone the most valuable skills they learned in school, they will probably mention non-academic examples.

While skills like English, mathematics and science are undoubtedly crucial to student development, skills like critical thinking, socialising and empathy, among others, will probably be more common answers.

In this article, we’ll look at six great skills that you learn at school or university, but which are also relevant in the real world.


During your time at school or university, you will probably be asked to work in a team to complete an assignment or project.

Typically, students complain about group assignments because of the responsibility placed on each individual member. Nobody wants a lazy student dragging their team down. However, this is a part of real life that you will come across regularly. Group assignments will almost certainly provide you with some insight into how to motivate and encourage others, how to fit into a team, and how to understand people’s emotions, moods, strengths and weaknesses.

In the real world, these team working skills are deeply valuable to businesses, especially in project management and other supervisory jobs. If you take the time in your courses and high school classes to really learn how to work with others in an effective and organic way, you’ll certainly be doing yourself a favour. Understanding how to work as part of a team, either as the leader or a member, is crucial for later life.


This skill is more limited to your time at university, however, it’s still an amazing skill that you’ll learn throughout your time studying. Whether it’s learned the hard or the easy way, it’s a skill that you’ll certainly have to use in your day to day life.

One of the main reasons budgeting is learned so well during school and university is because you have no other option. Students likely have very little expendable income to waste and so they’re forced to learn how to manage a small budget. It’s important to understand the difference between your needs and wants, and when you can afford to make a purchase. Many students get really good at searching for good deals at supermarkets and clothing stores.

Personal Strengths and Motivation

If there is one perk that comes from those gruelling school and university papers, it’s that you’ll have to learn your strengths and motivators.

Of course, most people don’t get excited about working on assignments (especially on weekends!), but somehow, you’ve learned how to muster up the energy and focus to get them done even if it’s at 11pm at night.

Learning how to identify your personal strengths and how to motivate yourself will remain important throughout your entire life. You must be motivated to get up for work every day, clean your house and even socialize. In the same way, knowing your strengths is important for determining whether a new job offer is right for you, for example. This especially applies to things most people hate doing but are important to get done such as doing your taxes, paying bills and cleaning out your car.


When difficulties arise during class, you will learn the extent of your personal strengths, when to ask for help, or when to use any other option available to you.

If you’ve ever used an online tutor you’ll know that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness and often results in a far better outcome.

Of course, an adept understanding of how to be resourceful is a hyper-desirable trait for almost everyone. When you’re in a sticky situation that you need to get out of, whether at work or at home, having an understanding of how things work or how to get help by means other than your own is something you’ll undoubtedly use in real life.


Often when we wake up, our first thought is how many things we have to do before we can get back into bed again.

At school and university, you will likely have a whole bundle of assignments, classes and small tasks to complete each day that don’t exactly ‘fit’ into the day, so you will have to learn how to prioritise tasks by how important they are, even if you’re learning via an online platform like lynda.com or Skillshare.

You might even have to develop your efficiency skills and think of new ways to work that will enable you to get all of your assignments done in time, whilst also ensuring they’re great quality and will give you a passing grade.

To Think Differently

Lastly, one of the most prized skills you’ll learn in school will be the ability to think differently.

You’re in a space with thousands of other students with different thought processes and outlooks on the world, and that means there are so many opportunities for you to learn an entirely new way of thinking.

A direct skill that comes from this is a malleable or open mind. Having an open mind is key to learning new skills and taking on board new and foreign ideas. Being taught different ways to think and apply critical thinking to different concepts will be as important during your studies as throughout your entire life. If you can think creatively, you’re going to be far more adaptable and open to new ways of working and completing tasks, whether they are work-related or not.

Many people describe school as the best years of your life, but many students will quickly disagree. What’s so fun about homework and assignments?

It’s important to remember that while you get to see your friends every day, you are also learning skills outside of your academic work. The activities in the playground and the skills you use to complete your school work will undoubtedly give you skills that will be of value to you for the rest of your life.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide for Students

The Skills You Need Guide for Students

Skills You Need

Develop the skills you need to make the most of your time as a student.

Our eBooks are ideal for students at all stages of education, school, college and university. They are full of easy-to-follow practical information that will help you to learn more effectively and get better grades.

About the Author

Julie Melville is a content manager for Cluey Learning. She's passionate about education and helping children and high school students excel in their studies. While she's not providing high quality advice to students, parents and teachers, Julie loves learning about the universe and playing with her puppies.