Universities often criticize the lack of knowledge that the school should have taught. Conversely, universities sometimes fail to provide their graduates with the skills that the job market demands of them.
Scientific work at universities is necessarily more theoretical than practical, while in the economy it is usually the other way around. Which academic competences have been learned at the university, are still relevant later?
Content or form?
The impression that students receive from scientific work is often misleading. For the overemphasis on footnotes, line spacing and scientific formalities leads one to believe that the form is more essential than the content.
It may help to imagine scientific work more than a mental attitude, namely the desire to actually penetrate a topic and to deliver optimal results. It is about understanding the current state of research and complementing it with your own thoughts and investigations.
Scientific formalities are certainly part of craft, but what counts is the work invested in the study of literature, the consistency with which thought is pursued, and the compelling logic of inferences.
Basic academic competences then consist in the independent application of the learned subject and method knowledge: the knowledge of the relevant areas and the associated literature, research skills, a fluent writing style, the ability to self-motivation and an eye for the essential – the question.
The ability to work self-critically and put your own results to the test over and over again is just as important.
Academic competence through experience
However, such competences do not arise spontaneously, but are an expression of a continuous learning process that continues long after the actual school or university education. Each essay read and each self-written scientific work strengthens these competences.