Life Skills You Need to Know Before College

Student Life

College is an amazing and wonderful experience. It presents opportunities to socialize, work on personal projects, develop career goals, and learn more about your deepest interests. The transition to college is going to be one of the biggest moments of your life. The independence, loads of personal responsibility, and absence of a support system are some of the major changes you'll encounter.

Beginning college is exciting, and at the same time daunting. Knowing the following life skills will help you ensure a smooth and successful transition to college life.


Time Management

Your ability to manage your time effectively in college will determine the quality of sleep you get and the amount of studying you can do. Thus, time management skills ought to be a must before college. Use the following tips to set and achieve goals in a shorter amount of time:

  • Define and prioritize tasks
  • Break up big tasks
  • Set schedules and to-do lists
  • Eliminate distractions when studying

productive desk setup

Organization and Productivity

A little planning can go a long way in college. Lack of organization can decrease productivity and limit your ability to get work done. Keeping a minimalist and organized study area that encourages concentration and fosters deep work can reduce the amount of stress you experience. Knowing how to plan your days, organize your notes, and structure your calendar will make you a much happier person overall and increase your chances of success at college.

Here are some productivity tips you can work on before college:

  • Learn to use a college planner
  • Practice goal-setting
  • Aim for minimalism in decor
  • Store important documents and files in folders
  • Use a journal (if you don't have one already)
  • Plan your day ahead
  • Pack your backpack the night before

woman stretching out

Personal Health Management

Prioritizing health is a crucial factor to having a successful college experience. It's important to establish your self-care routine before you even start college, as university life is very competitive and you don't want to get bogged down by a mere fever. Here are some health and self-care tips you can adjust to before college:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Know your allergies
  • Eat healthy food
  • Exercise regularly
  • Learn to do the laundry
  • Maintain a clean living environment
  • Surround yourself with supportive people

person holding sliced vegetable


The Money Magazine reports report that undergraduates today who eat on campus spend about 85% more daily than they would likely pay to cook and eat on their own. That just goes to say that college food is expensive!

Learning to cook is not only a great way to save money and cut down on your budget, but also a way to express your creativity. Cooking allows for social engagement with friends and roommates. YouTube is a great resource for learning to cook and sharpening your skills. You can try out any of the following to improve your cooking abilities:

  • Practice cooking at home
  • Learn to cook basic meals
  • Make weekly food budgets
  • Learn to shop
  • Make meal plans

woman about to write on a white paper

Studying and Learning

Unlike high school, college classes advance at a much faster pace and you have more flexibility over your notes and studying. Memorizing facts may have taken you so far in high school, but college will require some advanced study skills. The key is to try out different methods and drill down techniques that work for you.

You're probably going to be spending most of your time in college studying, so it's always a great idea to have a system in place for capturing, recording, and learning new information. The following are some tips to help you create a system for learning before college:

  • Learn effective note-taking skills
  • Review and organize your notes
  • Create a study plan or routine
  • Space out your study sessions
  • Figure out your learning style
  • Practice active recall when studying

calculator and notepad placed on US dollar stack


It is important to have experience in handling money independently. Budgeting encourages you to make responsible decisions and avoid ending up with piles of debt.

Learning to build and maintain a budget is an important skill to carry with you for the rest of your life. The following tips will help you manage your money efficiently and prevent debt in college:

  • Track spending
  • Use a budget planner
  • Review budget plans periodically
  • Prioritize college expenses

smiling men and women sitting on green grass

Social and Interpersonal Skills

At college, you get to interact with lots of new people, from fellow peers to instructors and professors. Having good social skills will allow you to make the most out of these interactions and build deeper connections. Social skills are best learned through practice. You can improve your social skills by trying out the following:

  • Initiate conversations
  • Practice small talk
  • Be open and welcoming
  • Attend professional or networking events


College is the experience of a lifetime. You will spend a lot of time alone, learning new things, developing your social skills, making friends, studying, taking classes, dealing with your emotions, and socializing with others.

We talked about time management, productivity, self-care, and even cooking skills. The general high level of competition students face in college requires them to be highly productive and have more efficient routines. Overall, just learning some of these skills will save you so much time when your turn for university life comes around.

Abubakar Abdul
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Abubakar Abdul is an avid reader, student and freelance writer whose interests lies in the intersection between technology, education and personal development. Skilled in professional writing and written content creation with almost half a decade of experience. He provides ghost writing, blog posts and article writing services.