Learning Domain - Cognitive and Practical Skills

The Cognitive and Practical Skills domain involves acquiring and analyzing knowledge and skills and integrating them in a way that allows for effectively managing one’s daily affairs and meeting personal and social responsibilities. Cognitive and practical competencies are key to enhancing individual and community well-being and to living a life of purpose.

Learning Outcome

Students who participate in Student Affairs programs, activities and services will acquire and use cognitive and practical skills that will enable them to live healthy, productive, and purposeful lives.


Critical Thinking/Problem Solving

  • Identifies, analyzes, and interprets important problems, questions, and issues
  • Critically assesses the relevance of information to develop alternative perspectives and solutions
  • Applies theories, concepts and previous experiences to inform new situations and creatively solve practical problems

Life Skills

  • Develops and applies strategies for managing personal and/or organizational resources
  • Exercises purposeful decision-making
  • Strategically develops and pursues short and long term personal, educational, and professional goals
  • Holds oneself accountable for personal, work, and social obligations
  • Articulates priorities regarding time management
  • Demonstrates the ability to plan and execute complex projects
  • Effectively balances education, work, and leisure time

Career Development

  • Describes and applies own professional strengths and weaknesses, interests, skills/competencies, and values to one’s career search
  • Effectively utilizes life-long career/life planning, job search, and career management tools/skills
  • Applies academic and co-curricular experiences to career opportunities


Engages in behaviors and contributes to environments that promote personal health and wellness and reduce risk both personally and within the community

Communication Skills

  • Effectively communicates and conveys meaning by writing and speaking coherently and productively
  • Demonstrates technological literacy and skills
  • Uses technology ethically and effectively to communicate, solve problems, and complete tasks

Examples of Programs, Activities, and Services

Below are some examples of programs, activities, and services where students can learn about cognitive and practical skills:

  • Allergy Clinic counseling
  • Alumni Mock Interview Program
  • Assistance with applications for accommodations for graduate school admissions tests and licensure exams (ANU)
  • Assistive technology recommendations, training, & support
  • Brief Alcohol/Drug Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS)
  • Campus Coalition on Sexual Violence
  • CAPS Outreach & Education Programs
  • Career Ambassadors & Graduate Interns
  • Career education workshops
  • Concussion Education
  • Emotional Intelligence Class (CAPS with McCormick)
  • Employer Information Sessions & Career Fairs
  • Fraternity and Sorority Life advising services (council officers, chapter presidents, honor society leadership)
  • Fraternity and Sorority Life Council Transition Retreat
  • Individual advising & counseling appointments (NCA)
  • Industry-based programming
  • International Office/OCL webinars
  • LinkedIn presentations
  • Men Against Rape (MARS)
  • Mock Interviews
  • Norris Center Manager training
  • Norris JumpStart Student Employee Training
  • OCL “How-To” Guides
  • OCL’s presentations regarding students’ Rights, Responsibilities, and Resources
  • Peer Adviser training
  • Peer Advising (Wildcat Welcome)
  • Pharmacy prescription counseling
  • Question Persuade Refer (QPR) training
  • RA interview workshop and application process
  • RCB New Officer Training
  • Red Watch Band training and facilitator training
  • Resident Assistant training
  • Residential room contracting process
  • RHA, RCB, and residential programming board training and advising
  • Risk Management training/symposiums (FSL)
  • Service & Slices community engagement program
  • Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators (SHAPE)
  • Step Up! Bystander Intervention Workshop
  • Stress Management Clinic
  • Student Organization Finance Office (SOFO)
  • Student Organization Symposium
  • Study abroad accommodation guidance (ANU)
  • Theater pre-production process
  • True Northwestern dialogues
  • Wildcats Advancing Total Campus Wellness (WATCH) training
  • Using health insurance
  • Accessing referrals for specialty medical care (Health Service)