22 Life Skills to Learn Before College - Crimson Education AZ-RU (2023)

Are you ready for college life?

You’ll finally get to make your own decisions, pick your own classes, eat whatever you’d like and stay out as late as you want.

But wait.

There’s a catch...

All that independence also means you're vulnerable to some traps.

Forgetting to set an alarm, gaining the infamous “freshman 15” and falling asleep in class.

There are certain skills that will be valuable to learn before college which could dramatically improve your university experience.

Most of the life skills listed below will help you conquer college regardless of where you go to school...but first, we’ll break down some unique characteristics for success in the US and UK.

College Life Skills for the US Student

1. Learn How to Share a Room

Sharing a room with strangers can be daunting. College is the first time that many students are exposed to people from different backgrounds.

Because, um, you might share a room with three other people and a bathroom with God-knows how many...

Lifestyle differences can often lead to silly miscommunications that can be easily solved.

More often than not, your roommate ends up being your friend.

Just remember to discuss your expectations early on, be respectful and speak up if you have any problems!

2. Reach Out to Your Professors

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Believe it or not, professors and teaching assistants (aka “TAs”) enjoy supporting your efforts and want you to succeed.

Regardless of how big your class is, go to office hours and you will be rewarded.

Cultivate effective study skills - write your papers early and show them drafts, they will be happy to help.

Creating a meaningful relationship with a professor can pay off in the long run.

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3. Participate Often

US class sizes at some colleges can seem awfully overwhelming at first.

Some freshman courses have over 700 students in one lecture! Yet participation is a key factor to getting good grades in many of your courses, especially in the smaller ones.

Some professors seriously use it as a deciding factor between an A- and an A or a B and a B+. So get your participation skills in order! Learn how to ask intriguing and thought provoking questions and you will be rewarded.

You might feel intimidated, but if you don’t use your voice, you’ll lose your voice – trust me.

4. Know Your Limits

An important student and life skill to master. Most colleges in the US are overflowing with a multitude of appealing and unique opportunities such as classes about pop icons like Beyonce, a Macaroni and Cheese club and thriving Greek life.

Forget about choosing extracurricular activities simply to pad your resume. Participate in activities that you are truly passionate about and you will make a difference.

Know your limits both academically and socially. Don’t forget, you have four years to try everything and anything you’d like.

Pace yourself.

5. Keep Your Stomach in Check

Most dining halls at US colleges are “all you can eat". While this may seem incredibly enticing at first, be wary - all of those extra calories add up quickly.

Remember, just because you have all the food in the world available to you, it does not mean you need to eat it all!

Pro Tip: Limit your chocolate consumption… I know, it’s hard...

College Life Skills for UK Students

1. Self-Motivation Is Key

Most of your grades, and in many cases, all of your grades at UK colleges consist of a set of final exams that cover all of your courses. While this may seem daunting at first, it gives you time to take risks in your ideas without suffering the consequences of having a poor grade on your transcript forever.

So experiment with your writing style and take chances on your ideas and on what you argue because the only grade that counts is the final exam.

However, it is very important that you keep up the reading and test yourself throughout the course. Study often and read everything.

Your professors will push you, but it will be up to you to always do your work and do it well.

2. Hold Onto Your Convictions

The tutorial system can seem intimidating. You meet with your professors once a week, often alone, and are expected to defend your ideas.

It can be difficult, especially as a first-year student, to discuss your ideas effectively with someone in a position of power, so learning to stand your ground is very important.

3. Thrive Under a Different Grading System

Familiarise yourself with the grading scale ahead of time so you don’t get upset when the highest grade you get is a 70.

Perfect assignments do not exist.

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The goal of this system is to remind you that you always have room to make mistakes and grow.

Embrace it.

4. Spend Time with Yourself

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Since your tutorials are much smaller than typical classes elsewhere in the world, learning to spend time on your own is key.

Students at UK colleges have a much stronger focus on education and have far less time for extracurricular activities, so students tend to follow their own schedule and often times you are left to enjoy your own company.

5. Learn to Love Tea

It will become a part of your everyday life. Drink it often.

College Life Skills For All University Students:

1. Learn How to Ask for Help

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College can be stressful, regardless of where you go.

There will be times where you struggle either in school, socially or in your career.

Stay in touch with your family. Regardless of how far away they are, they want to help you succeed.

And always remember: universities are equipped with a multitude of different resources to help you in times of need, all you need to do is ask.

2. Be Open to Change

Chances are, something will go wrong while you are in college.

Do not let a fear of change or failure keep you from branching out and trying new things. Now is your time to be curious and explore!

Often times, the mistakes you make in college will lead to some of the most beneficial lessons you will ever learn.

Embrace your mistakes and learn from them.

3. Keep Your Priorities Intact

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Another important life skill is keeping sight of your priorities. Make a list at the beginning of every semester of things you want to accomplish to ensure you don’t stray too far from your ultimate goals, whatever they might be.

4. Find Effective Study Skill Methods that Work for You

Develop an organised study strategy that works best for you, and stick to it.

Believe me, trying to unscramble your messy notes the night before an exam is only going to slow you down.

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What works for others won’t necessarily work for you. There’s no wrong way to learn...except for pulling “all-nighters” before every exam.

The earlier you start studying, the happier you will be.

5. Create Healthy Habits

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Start eating healthy, going to the gym and finding a workout that you enjoy now.

A great way to form healthy habits is by learning to cook a few simple meals.

Cooking is also a fantastic way to make friends and save money.

P.S. A little roast chicken goes a long way.

This might not apply if you're in a dorm without constant kitchen access, but still - learning to cook for yourself is one of adulthood's many rites of passage. So start sooner rather than later.

6. Manage Your Money

Being in control of your own finances can be scary, especially when your bank account is empty and you need lunch!

Learning how to budget your money will help you avoid many typical “college” moments.

Keep a running list of how much you spend everyday to see where you could cut back.

Buying one less cup of coffee every week makes a big difference.

7. Do Your Laundry

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Unless you are going to school close to home, cleaning and folding laundry is now your responsibility.

A few tips: Dry your clothes in cold air to avoid shrinkage, never mix colours and whites, wash your sheets at least once every two weeks, and hang your nice clothes up.

8. Disconnect from Distractions

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No one posted anything important on Facebook in the past five minutes since you last checked.

Marie’s doggy-filtered Snap can wait.

Your beachy Instagram picture can be posted after your finish your paper...plus you’ll get more likes if you post it at 3PM!

(Video) Oprah Winfrey on Career, Life, and Leadership

Disconnecting from distractions such as social media is so important. Your paper has a deadline, your online presence does not.

9. Impress With a Firm Handshake

You are powerful.

You are strong.

You are qualified.

Learn to shake people’s hand like you mean it and you’ll get noticed.

10. Check Your Email Often

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t check your email as much as you check your social media.

Answer emails in a timely fashion and you will be rewarded.

People will admire you for your quick, brief and accurate responses. Plus, then you can delete all the annoying email notifications on the bottom of your screen.

11. Write a Resume

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Write your first resume while you are still in high school.

Use a professional font, a clean layout and make sure it is only a page long.

Trust me, your future self will thank you.

Also, when you're at college, make sure to use the career office before your senior year. They'll provide you with really practical tips for your job hunt.

And attend as many alumni events as possible. Networking is everything!

12. Take the Road Less Travelled:

People often have a set idea of how to be successful, but these ideas won’t necessarily make you happy.

Find out what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.

Final Thoughts...

The best way to succeed in college, whether in the UK or the US, is by taking the time to figure out who you truly are and being true to yourself. Regardless of where you go to school, college will be a learning experience. It will challenge you, it will push your boundaries and it will test you.

College will make you grow but it does not have to be unmanageable or scary. These life skills will help guide you through college and beyond. Just remember, a little roast chicken goes a long way!


How do I prepare for college level classes? ›

Below are some helpful tips on how best to prepare for class:
  1. Arrive early. Try to arrive early for class, at least a few minutes before it begins. ...
  2. Review what has been covered. ...
  3. Anticipate what's coming. ...
  4. Assess your understanding. ...
  5. Formulate your questions and comments. ...
  6. Come organized (or at least look like it!).

What life skills would one need for a successful transition university life? ›

The main skills resulting from these searches are: self-efficacy, critical self-reflection, independent learning, managing expectations, social skills, dealing with stress, critical thinking, and academic and information literacy.

What new skill can I learn? ›

20 new skills to boost your career
  • Basic coding. Workplaces are now more dependent on computers, and so they need employees with coding and programming skills. ...
  • Data analysis and statistics. ...
  • Digital literacy. ...
  • Foreign language. ...
  • Project management. ...
  • Public speaking. ...
  • Social media and digital marketing. ...
  • Speed reading.
Mar 10, 2023

What is the hardest college class level? ›

Here 12 Of The Toughest College Classes:
  • Calculus.
  • Quantum Mechanics / Physics.
  • Philosophy / Metaphysics.
  • Thermodynamics.
  • Statistics.
  • Theory.
  • English Literature.
  • Psychology.
Apr 19, 2023

What are the 4 steps to college? ›

Working a little harder today will make getting into college even easier.
  • Take the right classes. To get into college, start by taking the right classes in high school. ...
  • Meet the challenge. ...
  • Achieve honors. ...
  • Tap into computing.

What classes should I take first in college? ›

These classes include English, math, science, history and foreign language, and they introduce students to different paths of study. It is best for students to take these classes immediately after graduating from high school to avoid having to take remedial classes later to refresh their memories.

How do students qualify life skills? ›

Criteria for placement into Life Skills

Cognitive, academic and/or adaptive functioning within the Moderate Cognitive Disability range or lower. Goals based on functional skills. Deficits in communication, behavior, social interaction or self-help that interfere with daily functioning.

What is academic life skills? ›

The Academic Life Skills Program serves students who are eligible for special education and require an educational environment with intensive programming.

What are life skills universities? ›

Life Skills (CHS 179) is a 4-unit course developed by SHEP and hosted by the Community Health Services (CHS) department of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Its purpose is to assist students in navigating the developmental and academic challenges of the college years and beyond.

How to get into college at 40? ›

5 Tips for Going Back to School at 40
  1. Choose a college designed for working professionals. ...
  2. Opt for a degree you can complete fully online. ...
  3. Set aside dedicated time in your schedule every week. ...
  4. Determine how you'll finance your education. ...
  5. Ask your employer about tuition reimbursement or other support.

Should I go to college at 40? ›

Going back to school to attain your degree in your 40s has the potential to increase your salary and help you find career fulfillment. Rather than feel stuck in your current job, take the steps to better yourself and earn a degree that will qualify you for careers that align with your calling.

What is the best age to start university? ›

While 18 is the most common age, students can go to university at any time and while at university you will often see mature students studying the same courses as you. Students over the age of 21 are known as mature students, but don't let that put you off.

What skills can I learn in 3 weeks? ›

Three weeks can seem like an awfully long time.
  • Learn how to Google. ...
  • Master the art of keepy ups. ...
  • Learn how to do CPR and general first aid. ...
  • Learn how to shuffle cards. ...
  • Learn how to pick a lock. ...
  • Learn how to tie basic knots. ...
  • How To Meditate. ...
  • Learn how (not) to break up with someone.
Mar 25, 2020

What skills are most needed right now? ›

Most in Demand Skills in IT
  1. Management. Learn It: “Inclusive Tech: Leadership and Management” with Nishant Bhajaria.
  2. SQL. Learn It: “SQL Essential Training” with Walter Shields.
  3. Microsoft Office. ...
  4. Project Management. ...
  5. Analytical Skills. ...
  6. Communication. ...
  7. Customer Service. ...
  8. Leadership.
Feb 20, 2023

What skill can I learn in 2 weeks? ›

50 Hobbies You Can Master In Two Weeks From The Comfort Of Your Own Home
  • Calligraphy. ...
  • What about astronomy? ...
  • Candle making. ...
  • Sewing. ...
  • Cross stitch. ...
  • You can learn the beginnings of sign language in two weeks no problem.
  • Bread making is rewarding, relaxing, and delicious.

What every girl should know before college? ›

10 things + extra tips every girl should know before going off to university:
  • Balance: ...
  • Stay focused and committed to doing your best: ...
  • Form good habits: ...
  • Surround yourself with the best people: ...
  • Mind your own business: ...
  • All is good in moderation: ...
  • Keep moving forward: ...
  • Make your own - smart - decisions:

What do colleges look at you? ›

Good grades, a challenging high school curriculum, standardized test scores, extracurriculars, and a strong essay are a few key factors admissions officers assess. Each university may emphasize different elements of the application process.

What grade should you start thinking about college? ›

Some experts recommend starting as early as sixth grade. We have found that starting to think about and to prepare for college should ideally start during the summer before your high school freshman year, but getting help later can still be of benefit to you.

What is the most failed college course? ›

The 4 Most Commonly Failed College Classes
  • College Algebra. The evil, despicable and terrible villain of early high school has come back to haunt you. ...
  • Organic Chemistry. The presence of this class on this list might not come as a surprise. ...
  • Physics. ...
  • Anatomy and Physiology.
Nov 11, 2017

What's the easiest course in college? ›

That being said, here's a look at some college classes that tend to be easier than some core classes.
  • Creative Writing. ...
  • Physical Education. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Public Speaking. ...
  • Anthropology. ...
  • Art History. ...
  • Acting. ...
  • Photography.

What is the most failed course in high school? ›

Algebra I is the single most failed course in American high schools. Thirty-three percent of students in California, for example, took Algebra I at least twice during their high school careers. And students of color or those experiencing poverty are overrepresented in this group.

What are the 4 C's in college? ›

The 4 Cs of education include the following skills: communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. These skills are the cornerstones of modern education and 21st-century learning, recommended by education experts across the globe.

What is the average of the daily steps of a college student? ›

Behrens et al. [51] reported that college students who accumulated at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity (vigorous intensity not considered) averaged 11,822 steps/day.

Do colleges look at all four years? ›

Colleges see all your grades, but they tend to look most at your junior and senior years.

What classes do colleges look at most? ›

Colleges look at applicants' core classes: English, math, science, and social studies. Many colleges even calculate a separate GPA for these foundational classes. So, make sure you're focusing on these core subjects throughout your time in high school.

What classes look best to colleges? ›

Math, science, social sciences, foreign language, and English are the pillars of a high school's core curriculum. In the eyes of admissions officers, core courses are what make or break a transcript. These are the high school classes colleges look for on applications.

How many classes should I take starting college? ›

If you can manage a full course load, it can be an important step toward graduating in a timely manner. If you're interested in finishing college in four years, one of the best ways to ensure a timely graduation is to take a full course load—meaning a minimum of 15 units per semester.

What are the 7 basic life skills? ›

Teaching Kids Life Skills: 7 Essential Life Skills to Help Your...
  • Focus and Self-Control.
  • Perspective-Taking.
  • Communication.
  • Making Connections.
  • Critical Thinking.
  • Taking on Challenges.
  • Self-Directed, Engaged Learning.
Jul 1, 2021

What are 10 life skills? ›

NICEF, UNESCO and WHO list the ten core life skill strategies and techniques as: problem solving, critical thinking, effective communication skills, decision-making, creative thinking, interpersonal relationship skills, self- awareness building skills, empathy, and coping with stress and emotions.

What is a basic life skills class? ›

What Are Life Skills? Life skills programs are designed to teach a broad. set of social and behavioral skills—also referred to as “soft” or “non-cognitive” skills—that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands of everyday life.

What are the three major types of study skills? ›

Understanding refers to contextual clarity of the topic, decoding refers to finding out the main objective of the course and memorizing memorizing refers to retaining what you have learnt. These three skills will help you in better learning.

What are the four academic skills? ›

What are learning skills? The 21st century learning skills are often called the 4 C's: critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, and collaborating. These skills help students learn, and so they are vital to success in school and beyond.

What are the basic academic success skills? ›

By the end of the module you will have developed your skills in:
  • Assessment planning.
  • Effective reading.
  • Academic writing.
  • Note taking.
  • Group work.
  • Presentations.
  • Time management.
  • Motivation.

Does college give you life skills? ›

Developing your communication skills, becoming more efficient at time management, and changing your approach to overcoming challenges are just some of the important life lessons you learn in college that can't be found in any textbook.

Do you learn life skills in college? ›

But college is an important time for you to learn how to dress, speak, write and carry yourself like the professional you will soon become. Other important skills include day-to-day employment essentials, such as working on a team, handling big projects, and staying organized.

What is a college study skills class? ›

The Study Skills and Strategies Course provides the foundation for students to “learn how to learn”. In an engaging and experiential format, this course provides strategies to improve how a student performs as a learner.

What age is to late for college? ›

Do you wonder, “Should I go back to college?” The truth is, it's never too late to go to college. In fact, you can go to college at any age—there's no such thing as a maximum age limit for admission.

What should I study at 45? ›

Six careers worth going back to school for — even if you're over...
  • Industrial-organizational psychologist. xavierarnau | E+ | Getty Images. ...
  • Personal financial advisor. ...
  • Training and development specialist. ...
  • Recreational therapist. ...
  • Medical records and health information technician. ...
  • Psychiatric technician.
Feb 14, 2019

Can you go to college after 50? ›

It's never too late to go back to school. According to Forbes, going back to school after age 50 is the new normal. Pursuing an education later in life helps adults stay competitive in the workforce. If you have retired, you may have more time to earn a college degree now than you did while you were working.

Is it harder to learn after 40? ›

Although you may face some extra difficulties at 30, 50 – or 90 – your brain still has an astonishing ability to learn and master many new skills, whatever your age.

Is 44 too late to study for a new career? ›

Yes, it is possible to start a new career at 40 — or 50, or 60, for that matter. It might take some extra effort, but it's never too late to set new personal goals and professional goals and live a life that feels meaningful.

Is 35 too old to finish college? ›

Although the idea of going back to finish your degree or earning a new degree can be overwhelming—and even a bit scary—it's worth it in the long run. The good news is that mature students (in their 30s and beyond) are actually perfectly positioned to earn their college degree.

What is the difference between a college and a university? ›

Colleges and universities primarily differ in program offerings and degree types. "University" refers to larger institutions offering both undergraduate and graduate programs. "College" refers to community colleges, technical schools, and liberal arts colleges.

Who is the youngest high school graduate? ›

The only person on that list younger than David, is Michael Kearney, who still holds the Guinness World Record for youngest high school graduate that he set in 1990, when he was only 6 years old — yes, you read correctly — age 6.

How old is someone in university? ›

College and university programs begin in the thirteenth year of school when a student is 17 or 18 years old or older.

What should I work on before college? ›

  • Visit Your Campus. If you haven't toured your college campus, summer is a great time to visit. ...
  • Earn Money. It's no question that college can be expensive. ...
  • Take a College Prep Course. ...
  • Practice Cooking. ...
  • Connect With Your Roommate. ...
  • Attend Orientation. ...
  • Clean Out Your Closet. ...
  • Spend Time With Friends and Family.

What skills look good on a college resume? ›

List of Skills to Put on a College Resume
Soft SkillsHard Skills
Strong Work EthicComputer Skills
CommunicationTech Skills
Time ManagementMS Office
6 more rows
Jan 9, 2023

What are 5 things to look for in a college? ›

Top 10 Factors for Choosing a College
  • Safety.
  • Academic Support and Career Services. ...
  • Campus Life. ...
  • Athletics and Extracurricular Activities. ...
  • Majors and Minors. ...
  • Class Size. ...
  • Cost and Fees. ...
  • Location and Distance From Home. ...

What are 21st century skills needed to be college and career ready? ›

The Framework for 21st Century Learning

Learning Skills: Also known as the "four Cs" of 21st century learning, these include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

What's the easiest job to go to college for? ›

8 Easy Degrees That Pay Well
  • Business Administration. Business administration is one major that is usually considered “easy.” Some programs will also only take 3 years to finish! ...
  • English. ...
  • Human Resources. ...
  • Criminal Justice. ...
  • Marketing. ...
  • Supply Chain Management. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Communication.
Dec 22, 2022

How can I help my struggling college freshman? ›

Here are my 5 tips that you can share with your student who is struggling with that one tough class.
  1. Talk to the Professor. UVicLibraries. ...
  2. Talk to an Academic Advisor. ...
  3. Seek Help at the Tutoring Center. ...
  4. Form a Study Group. ...
  5. Practice Better Time Management.

What not to put on a college resume? ›

Don't include on college resumes:

Unrelated details of any variety. Bad job/internship experiences that will reflect poorly on you. Irrelevant padding on any relevant content. Unrelated details of any variety.

What soft skills are important in college? ›

Excellent examples of soft skills may include:
  • Communication skills.
  • Time management.
  • Work ethic.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Problem Solving.
  • Flexibility.
  • Dependability.
  • Teamwork skills.

What are 3 skills that are most demanded by colleges and employers? ›

Top 5 Skills Employers Look For
  • Critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Teamwork and collaboration.
  • Professionalism and strong work ethic.
  • Oral and written communications skills.
  • Leadership.

What do colleges mostly look for? ›

Good grades, a challenging high school curriculum, standardized test scores, extracurriculars, and a strong essay are a few key factors admissions officers assess. Each university may emphasize different elements of the application process.

What to avoid when looking for colleges? ›

To help you confront this challenge, here are 10 mistakes to avoid when deciding which college to attend.
  • Not taking enough time. ...
  • Choosing a college for its reputation. ...
  • Not visiting the campus. ...
  • Overemphasizing your current major. ...
  • Not applying because of cost. ...
  • Thinking you won't qualify for financial aid. ...
  • Missing deadlines.
Jul 15, 2021

What average do colleges look at? ›

If you want to attend a top college, exceptional grades can help you get accepted. But the question is: what grades do colleges look at? Simply put, the answer is all of them. Colleges use your unofficial transcript to review your final grades.

What are the 4 C's of learning? ›

The 21st century learning skills are often called the 4 C's: critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, and collaborating. These skills help students learn, and so they are vital to success in school and beyond. Critical thinking is focused, careful analysis of something to better understand it.

What are the 4 C's of education? ›

The four C's of 21st Century skills are:

Critical thinking. Creativity. Collaboration. Communication.

What are the 4 C's of 21st century learning? ›

The 4 C's to 21st century skills are just what the title indicates. Students need these specific skills to fully participate in today's global community: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity.


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