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Is your student prepared for college? 10 skills they need to know.


When your students go off to college, students have to quickly learn how to adapt to their surroundings and start being accountable for everyday life. While many students have some life skills training, there are still some areas that could use improvement. There are also students who don’t have any life skills training who will be expecting a quick rescue by their roommate or parents. Once they get in the real world (which is sooner rather than later), it will be a rude awakening, leaving them wondering how their parents did it all these years. Here are 10 life skills they should have knowledge of or some experience with, and yes ... they will need all 10. 

  • Budgeting We can’t say it enough – teach your student how to budget for certain expenses over the summer. Once they get to school, they will want to fit in. They’ll also be wanting to call Uber Eats, go out to eat all the time with their newfound associates, and maybe even hit up the mall. Knowing how to budget will prevent their world from crashing, and it will save a few teary-voiced phone calls because they have run out of money. This also includes  being able to follow a grocery list and shop without running out of money.

  • Time Management Many students don’t realize the value of time until they are put in a position where they no longer have mom or dad to wake them up or give constant reminders of their schedule. In college, they are basically on their own, so understanding how valuable managing their time can save a lot of headaches (and tears). They should know how to use a planner and set alarms. Setting alarms also helps when studying to avoid burnout.

  • Safety Students are comfortable in their own surroundings and make take things for granted once feel some semblance of normalcy at school. They must learn how to keep themselves safe.

Here are a few tips you should review with them: learn the emergency numbers; find the campus police office; locate safety zones; use the main entrance of the dorm; don’t let anyone in they don’t personally know; keep the room locked; if the key gets lost, change the locks; keep valuables under lock and key; close the windows when leaving; keep the blinds or curtains closed when changing, and utilize the buddy system. 

They should also know how to tell the difference between north, east, south and west, and start learning how to remember landmarks just in case they don't have access to a phone or Google Maps.

  • Prioritization Students often have a hard time prioritizing their workload. Here’s a quick way to help them out:

  1. List and understand all their tasks

  2. Using a 1-2-3 system, place number on each one (1 being highest, 3 being lowest)

  3. Set deadlines based on those numbers. It’s important to stick to the deadlines

  4. Use their own judgment, but add some flexibility

  • Problem Solving Students must learn how to solve problems on their own. While it’s easier to pick up the phone and call, at some point they will have to become accountable for their own actions and issues. A few tips that may help include identifying the issue; listing the possible options and solutions; doing a bit of research if needed, and evaluating and selecting the best one.

  • Laundry Isn’t it funny this is on the list? Believe it or not, it’s not as uncommon as you may think. Thankfully, we send wash and dry directions in the boxes to help them out. 😊 One of the main things students should know: the detergent does not automatically come in the washer once they pay. They should also know that dark colors can bleed and don’t mix them with whites, and how to use an iron or steamer.

  • Cooking Every student should know how to make something in the microwave and something on the stove. How else will they be able to survive when the dining hall is closed? TV dinners add up, and knowing a few cooking tricks can help them eat healthy – even in the dorm room. Check our website for some fun recipes!

  • Cleaning In most cases, students have roommates. Learning to be respectful of someone else’s space and clean up after themselves is a must. This also includes cleaning the floor, sink, etc. Even if they aren’t used to doing any cleaning, they need to learn this BEFORE they go off to school. I'm sure you've heard the horror stories, or may have even experienced a few. Don't let your kid or family member be that person.

  • Sticking up for themselves Students must learn how to stick up and speak up for themselves. This will help them learn how to deal with others and not let anyone take advantage of them. In the event they are having issues with a professor or roommate, they will be able to take charge of the situation and find a resolution. Additionally, if they are struggling with their classes, they need to go and sign up for a tutor. They are in the world of adulthood. It's time to start acting like it.

  • Basic first-aid This goes beyond applying a band-aid. Students should know when to use hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, apply Neosporin and other simple tasks that will keep them safe until they can see additional medical attention. 

These are the basic life skills every college student should know to make the transition easier. For more tips and college advice, make sure to check out our main blog over at freshmanfunbox.com.

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