Building Social Skills

Posted by Gerrin T. Alexander

October 29, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Social Tips and Tricks

Social Skills to Build Up

As an incoming freshman, you’ll face a number of challenges including managing your schedule and living far from home. For some, meeting new people is exciting and a walk in the park, but, for others, social anxiety proves its existence. Below you will find the skills needed to succeed in college and the working world:

Face-to-Face Communication

Sure, modern technology has made the discovery of multi-functional devices possible, but it has also prioritized itself as a necessary means of communication. Most of our generation’s interactions take place on our smartphones and computers, so we struggle to exercise face-to-face communication. Some college courses will have hundreds of students in a lecture hall, so your grade isn’t dependent upon vocal participation. However, other courses that are seminars or discussions rely on prompted, active discussion between students. Take these opportunities to practice talking and listening in-person; try to focus all your attention on the speaker and avoid distractions from your phone or laptop.

Say Your Piece

Active-listening is huge when engaging with others, but a smart conversationalist also knows when and how to be assertive. Successful conversationalists…

  • Express their views in class discussions (Check out Chris’ article How to Choose Your College Courses if you need help doing so)
  • Defend their viewpoints and ideas
  • Avoid succumbing to negative peer pressure

These skills will find themselves helpful once you enter the workforce after college and you need to go through interviews, negotiate salary and pay raises, or share thoughts in meetings.

Ask for Help

Asking for help is honestly something that I still struggle with. If you’re anything like me, you try to do everything in your own strength just to prove that you are capable. Well, you are more than capable. Continuing your education in college means experiencing situations that can be overwhelming. Similar to using Prepmedians to help ace your standardized tests in high school, don’t be afraid to ask the help of others more experienced than you. Put yourself out there by demonstrating your need for understanding in the classroom, library, or dining hall table.

How To Improve Social Skills

You need more than the knowledge of the skills above to succeed in having some shot at a social life in college. Put these words into action by finding ways to master these skills. ## Team Activities Start a conversation with others that are like-minded or enjoy the same activities as you. This way you feel more comfortable doing something you enjoy. You will find yourself developing meaningful relationships and connections with your fellow peers because of the commonality you all share. You know what this means? Less pressure to come up with a conversation. Hallelujah! Now, you can actually enjoy the activity without worrying about the perfect thing to say.

If you’re a risk-seeking or risk-taking person, get comfortable with moving outside your comfort zone. Maybe that’s joining the debate team or trying out for the school play. Either way, stepping outside of your comfort zone is a great way to overcome your fear. ## Writing Writing is a great pre-exercise for a conversation; it helps you work through your thoughts and ideas before venturing off. Blog or journal your thoughts so that you have decided your stance on a certain issue before talking with others. Think of it as processing the activity beforehand and express yourself without the stress of an audience. ## That One Friend… We all have that one outgoing friend. Maybe it’s you, but if that were the case, you probably would not be reading this article. Try tagging along with that friend a couple times to feel more comfortable in social settings. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be surprised that over time you became that one outgoing friend for someone else!


You’re not the only student suffering from a little bit of social anxiety. However, with these tips, you’ll conquer that anxiety and find a group of friends you can rely on. If you need to, tell yourself: “You got this!” as motivation. Always believe in yourself because we at Prepmedians certainly do!

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Posted by Gerrin T. Alexander

Gerrin scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Fun fact: She has done the #wopchallenge on nearly every corner of the campus, including the quad.