Critical Thinking

Career Readienss Competency
Critical Thinking


Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.


  • Make decisions and solve problems using sound, inclusive reasoning and judgment.
  • Gather and analyze information from a diverse set of sources and individuals to fully understand a problem.
  • Proactively anticipate needs and prioritize action steps.
  • Accurately summarize and interpret data with an awareness of personal biases that may impact outcomes.
  • Effectively communicate actions and rationale, recognizing the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of stakeholders.
  • Multi-task well in a fast-paced environment.
Engage in activities to develop your Critical Thinking skills 
  • Compare & Contrast
  • Readings
  • Field Skills
  • Ethical Dilemmas
  • Research & Analysis
  • Case Studies
  • Data Analysis
  • Literature Reviews

Valuable critical thinking examples

Applying critical thinking in school and work situations will improve your performance.

1. Promoting a teamwork approach to problem-solving

Any department within a company is a team and effective collaboration is important to its success. When developing a strategy, logically analyze all the team members’ input and offer constructive criticism, while also presenting your own view on the situation. You can also apply this in the classroom and in group projects.

2. Self-evaluating your contributions to company goals

If your company is trying to reach a target, show critical thinking by evaluating your contribution and discovering ways to improve your performance. For example, you could list all the ways you are contributing and their impact on the overall progress. After doing that, you can think of prioritizing certain current activities, but also adding new ones that you think will help.

3. Practicing self-reflection

Analyzing your own thought process when making certain decisions should help you improve how you process information. This can mean asking yourself why you acted a certain way in a situation or evaluating a decision to find ways you can improve.

4. Making informed decisions

Through time and effort, you can improve your decision-making process by evaluating all available information. It can be tempting to quickly judge a situation and move on to something else, but applying critical thinking will usually result in a more satisfactory outcome. Consider preparing lists of pros and cons, either mentally or on paper, and critically evaluate things from someone else’s perspective.

5. Using your time wisely

Deciding how you use your time is another example of critical thinking. Continually evaluating how you spend your time can help you discover tasks and activities that may change how you prioritize your duties. For example, if you’re allocating a lot of time to an activity that has a low return, such as administrative tasks or internal reporting, you might consider re-prioritizing your schedule to spend more time on high-return tasks.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and