Assessing your Intellectual Skills

You are developing your intellectual skills both in the classroom and through your extracurricular activities. When applying for internships and jobs, you will need to be able to describe and sell these intellectual skills to interviewers; they will find them valuable and distinctive once you have clearly made your case about them.

Begin to document your intellectual skills in the space provided, list 3 significant examples of times in which you have demonstrated each intellectual skill. This example might fit under several categories: "In my history class, I wrote a 10-page research paper that included an analysis and review of related literature."

Writing Skills: ability to express thoughts clearly and effectively in written form using correct grammar and structure. Developed in class through term papers, senior thesis, essay tests, lab reports, notebooks, article summaries, journals, creative writing, case reports, internship essays, peer reviews, literature reviews, etc.

Speaking Skills: ability to express thoughts clearly and persuasively in oral form using examples effectively. Developed in class through in-class presentations and reports, classes that base grades on participation or that encourage participation in class discussions, speeches, theatre performances, group projects, study groups, convocations, good papers project, and internship presentations, etc.

Creative and Integrative Thinking Skills: The ability draw connections between ideas and to find new and innovative perspectives or approaches to a situation or task. Developed in class through assignments or discussions that allow room for imagination or alternative approaches.

Critical Thinking Skills: ability to assess the value of an idea objectively, based on evidence. Developed in class through exams, literature or journal article critiques, critiques of arguments during class, analytical papers, etc.

Analytical Skills: ability to work systematically to break complex problems down into manageable steps in order to identify and solve problems. Developed in class through essay exams, research papers, in-class discussions, analytical papers, etc.

Research Skills: ability to seek information systematically in order to discover new facts and gain new knowledge. Developed in class through research papers, field studies, senior thesis, independent grant research, independent laboratory research, internship essays, literature reviews, case studies, etc.

Quantitative Skills: ability to apply mathematical concepts to real-world problems. Developed in class through lab reports, Abstract and Formal Reasoning CCR, data interpretation, statistics, etc.

Computer Skills: ability to use technology to solve problems or accomplish tasks. Developed in class through research, coding, lab reports, electronic portfolios, class projects, presentations, etc.

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Tips to build (and to learn to describe) your intellectual skills:

  • Study! Prepare for your classes; don't wait for deadlines. Take classes you have an interest in.
  • Take advantage of office hours to discuss any academic questions or problems with your professors.
  • Practice: write multiple drafts, practice speeches, ask for comments and feedback.
  • Model your behaviors after people whose intellectual skills you respect and admire.
  • Schedule ongoing meetings with a Learning Center tutor; note ways your skills are improving.
  • Work with your academic advisor to identify the ways in which you are developing intellectual skills.

For more information:

  • Refer to O*Net and the Career Center’s Liberal Arts Skills at Work for ideas of some of the ways in which these intellectual skills are used in the workplace.
  • For help in developing or assessing these skills, work with your academic advisor and classroom faculty.