Critical Thinking Skills

Critical Thinking SkillsMy childhood was full of critical thinking. “Look at the way you made your bed! It looks like 3 chickens are hiding from Colonel Sanders under that bedspread! When was the last time you cleaned your room? If the lion, the witch and the wardrobe were all in this room, you’d never know because you couldn’t find them. When you got dressed this morning, did you stop by a mirror and even think about matching your clothes?” It was only when I got into college that I realized that wasn’t critical thinking. That was criticism. Critical thinking has nothing do with tearing something down. It’s all about analysis and building arguments up.

Critical thinking skills are higher level thought processes that are very important to develop as you pursue your college degree. They involve things like the ability to think independently of other people, suspend judgment and listen to things fairly whether they match your belief system or not, evaluation the credibility of sources of information, establishing a set of standards for a thought to meet before it’s validated (Is it true? Is it reliable? Is it proven?), and analyzing the consequences of actions. As a college student you will be required to develop your critical thinking skills to get along in the academic setting.

College teaches you a lot more than facts or numbers. You will have professors that challenge your thinking and world views. That mark of someone with a college degree is the ability to hear something you disagree with and listen politely, then display your own opinion with grace and courtesy. You will be required to analyze sources of information and decide what is valid. A person with a college degree knows better than to use Wikipedia as their only source of information. You will have to learn to think independently and make up your own mind about facts in evidence. Meaning, if all your friends jumped off a cliff, you wouldn’t.

Develop a sense of high mindedness so you can embrace the academic environment and all the challenges it represents.