Essential Skills College-Bound Kids Should Know

Prepare for Independence:

This is a list of activities students should know how to do before they leave home. The list is long, but not difficult so review and persevere. Sometimes they will have to learn by trial and error. Most of the items listed apply to all students; some will not be experienced until they live off campus on their own.  If your student is not able to do all things listed prior to leaving for college don’t sweat it.  If they continue checking items off this list while in college, they are headed in the right direction.

Financial Matters:

  • Write a check
  • Cash a check
  • Know your debit card balance – Download your banks app
  • Know how to transfer funds (via phone app is even better!) – Look into PayPal or Venmo as an easy way to transfer money
  • Pay a bill (check or online) – Look into auto draft as an option to avoid any late fees!
  • Advise debit/credit card companies of card use when travelling – This only applies when you’re going out of the country
  • Withdraw cash from an ATM
  • Save for a goal
  • Pay rent & utilities (split with roommates) – Again, investigate autopay if necessary.  If one person will be paying the entire bill, set up an automatic transfer so that you’re never late on payments and they don’t have to “bug” you for your portion
  • Use campus “points” with meal plans
  •   Calculate a tip – Your cell phone can do this for you.
  •   Pay for dinner
  •   Cancel a membership – be sure to confirm whether there are any fees for cancelling before the contract is up.
  •   Figure out the cost of postage and shipping

Travel Matters:

  • Make travel arrangements – air, bus, train
  •   Navigate an airport, train or bus station
  •   Deal with a cancelled flight
  •   Take an Uber or Lyft, have the app and know how to use it
  •   Get around locally without a phone
  •   Pack a suitcase – When traveling for a trip, you can use this handy list to make sure you don’t forget anything: Pack This!
  •   Follow TSA rules
  •   Catch the local train/subway
  •   Check tire pressure
  •   Change a tire
  •   Check the oil
  •   Jump-start a car
  •   Parallel Park

Wellness Matters:

  •   Make an appointment (hair, dentist, doctor)
  •   Self-prescribe over-the-counter meds – When in doubt, if you go to the local pharmacy (CVS, Rite Aid – you can tell someone there your symptoms and they can easily recommend an over the counter medication to you)
  •   Know basic first aid
  •   Locate the campus health center
  • Know when to call a doctor or go to a doc-in-the-box
  • Carry a medical insurance card and know when to use it

Meals and Laundry Matters:

  •   Cook a meal – simple things they like
  •   Go food shopping – what to look for in fresh food items
  •   Load a dishwasher
  •   Put out a kitchen fire
  •   Buy clothes
  •   Return a purchase – Key thing is to hold onto your receipt!
  •   Do the laundry – remember to go back and move it to the dryer and back to your room
  •   Remove a stain
  •   Iron a shirt
  •   Sew a button
  •   Importance of good nutrition and vitamins
  •   How to store leftovers
  •   When to toss old food

Household Matters:

  •   Hook up cable
  •   Change a name on utility bills
  •   Unclog a toilet/sink
  •   Check the smoke alarm/CO2 alarm
  •   Fix basic household problems
  •   Renew car license plates & insurance
  •   How to vote absentee

General Matters:

  •   Think critically and question the status quo
  •   Manage your time
  •   Dress properly
  •   How to approach and meet new people
  •   Be a respectful house guest
  •   How to ask for help

And last, but not least, most important matters:

  •   Negotiate a deal
  •   Write (not email) a thank you note
  •   Say “no” with confidence

TIP: When hurting and in doubt, call home

You probably have mastered some of these before high school graduation. Be as ready as possible so you have a smooth transition and success.

There are some life lessons that we cannot predict nor protect you from: broken hearts, failing a test, making friends, losing friends, or saying they are sorry. Believe in yourself, and continue to move forward and upward, understanding that there will be setbacks.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *