Leaving Home: Essential Skills Students Need

by Purvi S. Mody, Insight Education

Often times when high school students think about preparing for moving to college, they think about good grades, test scores and extracurricular activities. While those are essential elements of getting into college, you also need to get ready to move to college, which often mleaving-for-collegeeans leaving home. The skills needed there have less to do with school and more with learning to live independently. If you are one of the nearly two million students that will be leaving home to head to college this fall, try not to master just the skills you need to do well in the classroom, but also the ones that will help you to do well in life. You might be surprised that many of these skills are actually quite easy to learn.

Become credit card wise.

In college, whether you will live at home, in the dorm, or in an apartment, you will be more responsible for your day to day financial habits. Sit down with your parents to learn how to create a budget and how to pay bills on time. It is also a great idea for you to have a credit card, but one that you can use wisely. A credit card is not carte blanche to buy anything you want. However, it can be a good tool to help you build a solid credit history. Make sure that you pay your balance every month. The worst thing you can do is to carry a balance on your card because you will spend more in interest than you would have for the original purchase. If you are several months from leaving home and moving to college, apply for a card now or have your parents get you a card on one of their accounts so that you can practice good habits now.

Develop good eating habits.

You don’t have to become a gourmet chef, but learning how to cook simple dishes and even some of your favorites before leaving home will keep you well nourished and even save you some money. If you are going to be on a meal plan in your dorm, you still want to maintain healthy food habits. It is very easy to eat junk food at every meal, something you parents likely don’t let you do at home.

Do your own laundry.

Unless you are lucky enough to live close enough to home to have your mom wash your laundry every weekend, you will need to master the different wash cycles when moving to college. Practice at home now so that your mom can save your favorite white shirt from becoming pink. Soon enough you will be an expert and will be assured of clean clothes whenever you need.

Create a resume.

In college you will likely need to submit your resume in order to apply for internships, jobs on campus, or even for extracurricular activities. Knowing how to present yourself on paper is a skill that you will need throughout your life and perfecting that ability now will save you time and stress down the road.

Get comfortable talking to new people.

If you have not already mastered the ability to talk to people you don’t know, there is no better time to start then now. This could involve calling people to make appointments, talking to professors during office hours, or interviewing with recruiters. If you are already at ease with people you don’t know, you are ahead of the game. If not, take the lead on talking to others now. If you are a naturally shy person, this might be harder for you and even more important to practice now. In college, you will not have the luxury of having your parents to help you address others.

The list above could be infinite advice for moving to college. You are at the precipice of being a true adult, which is exciting, but also comes with added responsibility. So while you are moving to college, don’t forget the essential skills that you will use throughout your life.

Purvi S. Mody is co-owner of Insight Education, an educational consulting firm that helps students throughout the country and internationally to achieve their educational goals. Get in touch with her via email at purvi@insight-education.net or follow her on Twitter @InsightEduc.