Master These Skills Before College

Elizabeth Hoyt

March 06, 2017

Master These Skills Before College
Start learning these skills now so you can practice for the remainder of your high school career.
You’re going to learn so much in college – academically and otherwise. That said, there are some skills you should take with you to college so that you are prepared to handle college life. If that sounded scary – it shouldn't have. These skills are way simpler than any college course - or high school for that matter. The following skills are recommendations of what you should learn before heading off to college.
In fact, the sooner you learn, the better, because practice makes perfect! Start learning these skills now so you can practice for the remainder of your high school career:


Some of you may be appalled that this is even on the list because you’ve been doing laundry since you learned how to stand on your own two feet – literally.
However, for those of you who can’t tell the difference between the washing machine and the dryer, it’s time to learn. Mom and dad won’t be there (unless, of course, you’re going to be commuting from home) to do laundry for you. So ask for a tutorial – it’s really quite a bit easier than you think!


Learn how to create and here’s the even trickier part – stick to – a budget. Once you create a budget, it’s done for a while, with the exception of a few minor changes here and there. As a student, it’s so important to keep your finances on track in order to save as well as avoid putting yourself in a tight spot.
Consider using helpful tools like FinAid’s Student Budget Calculator or the free tools offered on’s web site and app to get your budget started and to stay on track.

How to Read a Map

It’s an essential life skill you’ll always want in your back pocket. But, it’s especially important to learn when you’re moving to a new area where you’re unfamiliar with the streets. Yes, you probably have a phone with GPS. However, if technology has taught us anything, it is that it’s not always reliable. So, make sure you have the skills in your mind, if only as a back-up plan.

Time Management Skills

This very well may be the most important skill you learn before you pack up and leave home for the first time. While in college, you will encounter more freedom than you ever have before. With that freedom comes a lot of decision-making in regards to how you spend your free time and whether or not you show up to the places you need to be (on time or at all). When in high school, there’s always someone to hold you accountable for your actions. In college, that’s usually not so. Practice setting an alarm and waking yourself up on your own instead of asking your parents to do so. Start to manage your own routine instead of relying on others to get you where you need to be – once you’re on your own, you’ll be much better off because you’ll already be used to that lifestyle.

How to Write a Check & Balance a Checkbook

You may not have had to do this yet but, don’t worry, the time will come when you have to do it much more often than you’d like. Ask a parent or another adult to show you what to fill in each area so that when the time comes you do not feel like a fool!

Washing Dishes

This seems like common sense but you will need to do this on the daily, so it’s definitely worth a mention.

Basic Cleaning Practices

Scrubbing toilets, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the shower, floors and sinks – the best things in life are free! But, seriously, you will need to learn how to do this unless you want to have the most disgusting dorm/apartment throughout college. Sure, you may have communal bathrooms in your dorm. That’s still not an excuse. All adults need the skills to maintain cleanliness. Welcome to adulthood!

How to Make a Bed

If you’ve been fortunate enough to breeze through life without ever having to make a bed, welcome to the dark side. To clarify, this is not referring to making the bed in the morning after you’ve slept in it. This is in reference to making the bed from scratch after washing the sheets, starting from the mattress pad. If that doesn’t ring a bell, contact someone for a lesson immediately!

Basic Cooking Skills

Most likely you won’t be making gourmet meals your first year of college. You should, however, brush up on some basic cooking skills. Also, it’s probably a good idea to practice making some simple meals so you always have a few go-to ideas if you’re not in the mood to go to the dining hall or don’t like what’s on the menu that evening.

Basic Tool Use

You don’t need to become Bob the Builder overnight but it’s certainly wise to develop the basic skill set to hang a picture on the wall or tighten a loose screw every so often. Bonus: you’ll be much handier to have around!

How to Sew a Button

On the occasions an item needs to be mended, you don’t want to have to rely on others when you’re in a pinch. Learn simple mending skills, like sewing a button or a rip in a seam, so that you can repair whatever necessary. Plus, who wants to waste money on alterations? After all, you are a budget conscious student!

What other important skills would you add to this list? We'd love to hear your thoughts below!

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