Communication skills are the key to success

Regarding the Nov. 6 article, “Colleges gauge applicants’ creativity,” I suspect, and hope, that there is more than just creative ability that is being gauged for entry into college. Those of us who teach on a college level expect that our students will enter our classrooms with ample reading and writing experience as well as creative thinking, organization of thoughts (often with little lead time to do so), imagination and originality. Even analytical thinking and problem-solving ability come into play in our classrooms.

The kind of questioning being used in these elite colleges’ applications will separate the writers from the non-writers and that will in turn separate the readers from the non-readers. Reading has been one of the mainstays in higher education since its beginning and opens doors to all of the skills mentioned above. I tell my students that out in the working world – almost no matter where they end up working – they will be expected to communicate ideas and solutions to problems with the written and spoken word. They will have to be able to think on their feet.

In this day of the proliferation of electronics, some of our students’ only reading and writing experience is texting. It’s time we upgraded our emphasis on better communication. Questions such as, “You are required to spend the next year in the future …” on applications will help in the process of selection of those who come to us with a level of skill that we can work with.

Karen S. Wehn