It’s what you learn outside your degree course that matters

All Australian degrees are guaranteed by the government to reach set standards.

If all degrees are created equal, how do you choose where to study?

What do you need to be more than standard?

There is an answer.

It lies in knowing what people learn while doing a degree.

The cognitive factors – the specific knowledge required for the degree.

And the non-cognitive factors – the other things students learn which can set them up for success.

A 2012 paper by the University of Chicago (Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners: The Role of Noncognitive Factors in Shaping School Performance) points to five key, non-cognitive factors which can result in improved academic performance and positive life outcomes.

These are:

  • Mindset
  • Perseverance
  • Behaviours
  • Learning Strategies
  • Social and emotional skills.

And, fortunately for students considering a degree course, these can be learned.

In the right environment.

The right environment can teach students to believe in their own ability to succeed.

And while most academics will agree with the findings of the study, it can be hard for Australian students to find an institution which actively promotes these qualities.

Rather than look in the traditional places, where there often seems to be a hands-off approach to non-curricular learning, students should look to smaller institutions like Melbourne Institute of Technology.

With smaller classes, they’re able to provide more access to teachers and academics. Which can support crucial learning strategies like making a plan and finding help when it’s needed.

This can also support and grow the necessary behaviours which will serve students long into their career.

And, with staff who are more involved in campus life, MIT has developed processes which identify students who are in danger of falling through the cracks, helping them get back on track and learn the power of perseverance.

The broader, global student base, with access to cross-cultural relationships, is an ideal training ground for developing social and emotional skills.

It all about helping students develop the attributes which will set them apart in the workforce. MIT see it as a team approach. Everyone working towards giving students an extra edge for the life that waits for them after graduation.

If you are choosing a degree, choose a place where you learn more than just what the textbooks tell you.

Pick the place where you learn what it really takes to succeed.