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From College to Career: How Peer Tutoring Prepares Students for a Skill-Based Workplace

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There’s nothing “soft” about soft skills – there never has been. 


While more difficult to measure, and teach, than their technical counterparts, soft skills are crucial to success in the 21st century workplace. In fact, study after study in recent years has shown ever-increasing demand for them by employers across every industry. Yet, many students are seemingly ill-equipped to meet this demand. 


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reignited debates about the relevance and value of a college degree, especially as skills-based hiring practices are on the rise. However, it’s important to consider the value degrees provide beyond GPA and courses taken. A recent Harvard Business Review study conducted with labor market data company Emsi Burning Glass observed that many employers included in the analysis were using college degrees as a proxy for soft skills requirements. As such, it’s only natural for colleges and universities to invest heavily in professional development to help students hone their – you guessed it – soft skills. 


Peer tutoring programs, when done well, are an easy-to-implement, cost-effective way to do just that. 


We’ve long espoused the dual value of peer tutoring programs. After all, it’s what we do. Not only do peer tutoring programs provide accessible, affordable academic support to students in need, it provides valuable professional experience fostering the very same skills real-world employers are seeking – communication, empathy, problem management, leadership, time management, all of the things working professionals use intuitively, on a daily basis. To expand that value proposition, Knack implemented a proprietary Skills Development Program (SDP)  in 2020. 


Under the Knack SDP, Knack Tutors at every partner campus have the opportunity complete training, self-reflections, skills assessments, and a mock interview that transforms peer tutoring into a high-impact, professional development experience. To date, more than 269 students have completed the program. 


When asked if they had learned anything through tutoring that may prove beneficial in their future career, one Knack Tutor said, “​​The most important thing that I learned is that not everyone sees everything the same as me and there might be a different angle to the same problem someone else sees, but I hadn't thought of. Insight is a valuable tool that is useful for not only tutoring but for life in general, and I will definitely use this skill that I have worked on while tutoring to better myself in my future job.” 


That they will. 


To learn more about Knack’s Skills Development Program or how peer tutoring can nurture soft skills for your students, click here.