"I want them to know that the main priority is to put their job–that of being a student and earning a degree–absolutely first," said one reader.

Education stakeholders often complain about students’ lack of college readiness, or the lack  of skills, characteristics, and general know-how needed before they set foot on campus. But besides knowing to bring flip flops to the shower, what are the most important things incoming freshman need to know?

As part of our eCampus newsletter’s ‘Question of the Week’ series, we asked our eCN readers: “What’s the one skill you’d like incoming freshmen to master before they come onto campus?”

And though answers such as “the ability to plot a line on a graph” may seem like an obvious answer, many responses were more basic than one might expect.

1.How to write

“I would love to see all freshmen (all students, for that matter) be able to write a complete sentence with correct punctuation and spelling.” – Bette Lutes-Konecny, Chair, School of Information Technology, ITT Technical Institute, Wichita, Kansas

“Wide experiences in all types of reading as precursor for experiences for written communication.” – Sharon Feaster-Lewis, Charleston South Carolina

2.How to read and comprehend academic writing

“The most important skill freshmen need in preparation for college is the ability to read and comprehend academic writing. Almost all other skills can be taught and/or be part of the college curriculum. However, very few if any faculty have any available useful recourse when a student doesn’t understand the points being made in a textbook or in other college-level writings.” – Xenia Coulter

3. Knowledge of the campus

“The most important things that incoming freshman need to know are the school rules. In addition it’s beneficial to them to have mentors that will be guides to help them get to know the school and the important places such as the location of the counselor, nurse, main office, the media center, [the gym] and the tutorial centers when available.” – Carlos Burger

4.Dedication and determination

“I would like them to come to college willing and eager to learn. I want them to know that the main priority is to put their job–that of being a student and earning a degree–absolutely first. No exceptions, no excuses. If they need another (part-time, please) job, then that is normal. But they need to understand that I am teaching a valuable life skill and they have committed to learning it.” – Mary Martin, PhD, professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

5.Awareness of security protocol

“How to enter a strong password into an online form when attempting to initially log into secure campus computing sites.”  – Sam McCool


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