Why is Adaptability Important in Higher Education?

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Admissions officers have historically looked to admit students based on academic performance. About 93% of Americans say high school grades should be a minor factor in admission decisions. Moreover, experts still recommend submitting SAT and ACT scores if they fall within the 75th percentile for the specific college or university.

However, learning soft skills is just as important as academics in helping students succeed beyond school. Soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork, resilience, and adaptability, are essential for personal growth and development, academic excellence, promoting a positive school culture, and ensuring accountability and transparency. 

Adaptability is an individual’s ability to adjust to changes in their environment. It's not as simple as just being more flexible. Adaptable people develop targeted skill sets, processes, and frameworks that allow them to quickly and efficiently deal with different situations as they arise.

Why Adaptability is a Desirable Trait in Applicants

Many students develop routines and habits at the beginning of the school year, giving them peace of mind to rely on consistency in their new normal. However, students who understand and can embrace flexibility and adaptability in their schedules may be better positioned to grow in their experience.

All goals matter in higher education, both big and small. Modifying goals or finding new paths toward goals counts, too. An adaptable and flexible student will be able to acclimate to new situations and challenges. 

These individuals can fit into new circumstances that they may encounter, such as different teaching styles or switching majors. Adaptability in college students allows them to be more resilient to the inevitable difficulties as they move through their college experiences.

Notably, whether college students can adapt to learning has an essential impact on their healthy physical and mental development and the successful completion of their studies. 

Studies have shown that students with low academic adaptability have lower levels of self-esteem. People with high self-esteem are generally confident and happy, while those with low self-esteem are prone to anxiety and lack of self-confidence. 

Academic adaptability has a positive effect on self-esteem levels. Students with high academic adaptability have proper learning adjustment strategies, increasing self-confidence and self-satisfaction due to positive learning feedback. 

How Students Can Demonstrate Adaptability

Adaptability is a skill that one can develop over time. A few ways to build adaptability are to improve your problem-solving skills and embrace change. 

Using a framework can help you better identify problems and strategically develop a solution. Whenever you use problem-solving skills, you’re making it easier to solve the next one—even if it’s different. Over time, you’ll be adaptable enough to solve any problem.

Additionally, learn to keep your ego at the door and embrace change. Removing ego allows you to see other perspectives more clearly. Teach yourself to welcome any situation by taking more risks and accepting the results, whatever they are.

In turn, you will become more open-minded. You no longer focus on what you think should happen but instead on what could happen. Being adaptable is about the willingness to pivot. 

Adaptable students are empowered to take on life’s many challenges to achieve their goals. A few key ways to demonstrate adaptability in higher education include:

Student Select AI’s patent-pending technology was developed alongside world-renowned industrial-organizational (IO) psychology researchers, using the latest breakthroughs and research in IO, data science, and machine learning to provide admission decision markers with meaningful and predictive analytics, so you can identify and admit your ideal students faster.

Building on decades of established research in language psychology, our innovative AI technology leverages cutting-edge IO psychology science, using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze the specific words prospective students use to provide an accurate, objective, and unbiased assessment of their unique skills, personality traits, and competencies.

“Student Select AI accurately measures traits that are important and useful variables for admission selectors — attributes that research has shown to correlate with classroom performance,” said Michael A. Campion, Ph.D. The Herman C. Krannert Distinguished Professor of Management, Purdue University, and world-renowned I/O psychologist. 

At Student Select AI, we're committed to providing explainable AI across all our products. If any questions arise, we'll show you how the decisions were made.

Contact us today to see how we can help make your admissions goals a reality.

Universities look for students with adaptability skills because they can seamlessly fit into new circumstances and generally have better physical and mental health development.


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