What’s The Most Important Thing You Learned In School?

While this question allows you to discuss your knowledge, it is also intended to elicit information about your thinking process and priorities. While it can be difficult to narrow any list of options to the one most important selection, your response can highlight your assets and how they align with the company’s mission and needs.

Your response informs the interviewer of your values and character along with your skills. It should show self-assurance and influence the interviewer to feel confident about your worth to the company.

Points to Emphasize

Your response may involve a specific skill set or broader concepts.

  • Do your homework prior to the interview; make sure you’re knowledgeable about the job’s responsibilities and demands.

  • Emphasize your education’s merit in relation to the company and position for which you’re interviewing.

  • Choose a response that features strong personal and professional qualities.

  • Be clear about how you have built upon your learning since your last school experience.

    Being asked to choose one most important option can be challenging, but gives you a chance to show the interviewer your worth as well as your priorities.

    Mistakes You Should Avoid

    Any question that contains absolutes like “most” or “least” has potential pitfalls.

  • Don’t overthink or stall with responses such as “That’s a good question.”

  • Avoid implying that your education is no longer relevant. Don’t distance yourself from it by saying “I don’t remember.”

  • Give enough information to answer the question but be careful not to veer off on tangents. A question that includes the word “most” is meant to elicit a focused response.

  • Stay away from the social side of school; focus on the academic and professional.

    This question shows the interviewer how you utilize your learning experiences while leaving time for everything else he or she wants to know about you.

    Sample Answer

    A strong response to this question may sound something like this:

    The most important thing I learned was to accept and respond to feedback. The critique I received from peers and professors greatly enhanced my growth. It was challenging to present my work to others and hear their opinions about it, but I quickly realized that whether their comments were positive or highlighted needed improvements, the intent was to help me become more capable and effective. These experiences also taught me to critique others using language that focuses on quality and shared goals, avoiding comments that could be interpreted as personal or overly critical.

    Your education is one of the important features of your resume, and this question gives you a chance to link it to the work you want to be doing – even if it was completed some time ago.

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