Do You Have To Teach Yourself in College

Do You Have To Teach Yourself in College?

You pay a large amount of money for college, so you might expect to sit back and let the professors do all the work teaching what you need to know.

However, that is not how it works.

Most college courses will expect you to do some amount of self learning as part of your education. You may be expected to research topics or be set assignments that require self learning. In addition, you may find that teaching yourself whilst in college is the best way to get top grades that will set you apart when applying for a job.

In this article, I will explain why self-learning is essential in college to motivate you to go the extra mile.

I will also explain how online college degrees create opportunities for learning independently.

Also Read: Self Education vs College: Which Is Right For You?

The Importance of Self-Learning in College

Traditional classroom learning has its drawbacks, which is why you must teach yourself in college to some extent in order to fill the gaps. 

You have to teach yourself in college to keep up with what’s happening in your chosen area of study.

Traditional classroom education is slow to integrate trends and developments in the curriculum, and it often can be broad in focus, missing out on specific applications of the topic.

Through self learning, you can combine the fundamentals that you will learn in the classroom, with self learning about more specific areas that interest you or you would like to become more experienced in.

Whilst some people try to cruise through college just showing up for lessons and doing the bare minimum, you’ll find that being motivated with your own self-education will enhance your studies and make you stand out when it comes to finding employment as well.

-> Read Also What Is An Autodidact?

Let’s take a look at some of the best reasons to engage with self learning at college:

You Can Stand Out in the Job Market

You Can Stand Out in the Job Market

It takes considerable guts, resourcefulness, and luck to strike out on your own and make it big without a college degree.

So, many people want to go through college and obtain a degree before entering the job marketplace. 

With more people graduating from college, you must compete with applicants with the same degree as yours and maybe similar GPAs. 

Self-learning throughout your college years gives you knowledge and imparts you with skills that not many other applicants will possess.

You can differentiate yourself from others if you demonstrate that you are a self-directed and motivated individual.

Most jobs require you to learn as you go along and figure things out, so it’s no surprise that employers are impressed by an applicant who has demonstrated that they are willing learners and can successfully take charge of their learning path. 

The world sees a self-learner as an individual with the following abilities:

  • They have varied skill sets.
  • They are willing to tackle problems on their own.
  • They are resilient in the face of challenges.
  • They can connect the dots between and uncover hidden patterns across diverse topics.
  • They are disciplined and have good time management skills.
  • Because they have charted their learning path, they can envision a course of action after analyzing current gaps and needs.
  • They can stay relevant in an ever-changing world.

You Can Keep Up With the Happenings in Your Area of Study

The traditional classroom educational model is notoriously slow in keeping up with the trends and developments shaping a field of study.

The curriculum is often obsolete by the time it’s written. 

However, employers expect you to know about the latest regulatory guidelines and best practices in your domain, the trends shaping the arena, the problems plaguing the industry, and the developments to watch out for.

Self-learners go beyond the confines of their curriculum and keep up to date with what’s happening in their field of study. 

You Can Teach Yourself Life Skills That Will Help You Thrive

You Can Teach Yourself Life Skills That Will Help You Thrive

Living a fulfilling and productive life is not just about excelling in your job or building a profitable business. 

You have to learn specific life skills that will let you navigate relationships, care for and provide for your family, secure your future, and give back to the community. 

Here are some ways you can do that:

  • It is not just about making money. You must also know how to manage your money and make it grow. 
  • It is not just about critiquing essays. You must also know how to communicate effectively, with compassion, empathy, and inspiration. 
  • It is not just about submitting assignments. You must also learn about the art of time management to be productive and punctual even when your plate is spilling over.
  • It is not just about putting food on the table for your family. You must also know how to navigate an increasingly complex healthcare system and deal with the nitty-gritty of health insurance. 

The traditional educational system, unfortunately, does not teach valuable life skills. 

A college doesn’t teach you how to handle money, communicate concisely and unambiguously, manage time, protect and ensure your valuable possessions and the lives of your loved ones, and build and sustain meaningful and mindful interpersonal relationships. 

In college, you must teach yourself the life skills that will help you become a well-rounded and multi-faceted individual.

I suggest that you look around for resources and teach yourself some of the following:

  • How to retain information and think logically based on your knowledge.
  • How to make profitable financial investments.
  • How to find the right car, health, and home insurance for you and your loved ones.
  • How to carry out home repairs.
  • How to administer first aid and CPR.
  • How to manage your time and be productive.
  • How to market on social media.

Many of these skills are high-stakes knowledge that will impact the quality of your life and the well-being of your loved ones.

-> Learn More about Self-Learning vs. Classroom Learning: Which Is Better?

You Can Create a Side Hustle With Your Self-Taught Skills

In a volatile world, creating multiple sources of income stabilizes your earnings and provides you peace of mind. 

You can leverage your self-taught skills to create a side hustle. For instance, you might have taught yourself about car, home, and health insurance.

You can turn your knowledge into digital products like eBooks and online courses and sell them online. 

You can launch your own business if you know how to carry out home repairs or do yard maintenance jobs. 

And, if you teach yourself how to use and communicate effectively on social media, you can market your skills, your services, or your business.

You can also earn money by promoting someone else’s offerings. 

How Online College Degrees Encourage Self-Learning

Conclusion about self-learning

If you enjoy learning independently, you can also obtain an online college degree. 

According to the findings published in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, students learn more in online classes than they learn from attending a brick-and-mortar classroom. 

The findings also revealed that online classrooms equally benefit learners who had the least knowledge of the subject and those with the greatest skill.

Online courses encourage self-learning through the following measures:

  • Your classes are self-paced, and you can go as slow or as fast as you want. 
  • By providing non-linear education, they encourage you to assimilate and synthesize information and form your own ideas.
  • By minimizing supervision, they encourage you to think out of the box and come up with innovative solutions.

-> Learn more about the 7 best websites for self-learning


Teaching yourself in college is a necessary and expected part of your education.

Self-learning will likely form a large part of your degree and will support and complement the learning you do in class.

Going beyond the curriculum can also differentiate you from the crowd in the job market.

The life skills you teach yourself help you live and function independently later in life and create more abundance for you and your loved ones.

However, most importantly, self-learning in college makes you a lifelong learner, which will help you become flexible and adaptable and give you the courage to venture into unknown territories and create opportunities for yourself. 


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