Black student in red shirt carrying box, parents carrying pillow and box behind

10 Things You Need to Know How to Do Before Going to College

Transitioning from high school to college can be difficult. Learn how to do these 10 helpful things before your first year to make your life easier!

Going to college can be daunting. For most students, it’s their first real taste of independence as they’re suddenly in charge of managing their own schedule, money, and everything else they’re used to their parents taking care of. Here are a few things you should know how to do before starting your freshman year.

1. How to do your own laundry

When you get to college, your parents won’t be there to do your laundry, so make sure you know how to use the machines. It’s also good to find out if laundry is free, if you can use your student ID card to pay for it, or if you need to bring quarters.

2. How to budget your money

When you’re living on campus, you’ll be responsible for buying everything from food and groceries to clothes. Whether you’re paying for things with money you earn from working or with the money your parents put toward your meal plan, make sure to keep track of your purchases, and stay aware of how much you’re spending.

Related: 5 Basic Financial Strategies You Should Learn About Before College

3. How to manage your time

As a college student, you’ll have a lot more free time on your hands, so it’s important to find a healthy balance between work and play. While studying and doing assignments is crucial, you must also give yourself time to do social activities like sporting events and participating in clubs. Learn how to manage your time for minimal stress and maximum enjoyment of your college life. 

4. How to maintain a healthy lifestyle

While having time to do activities you enjoy is great, you have to be careful not to abuse this freedom. Many students spend their free time in the dining halls, which contributes to unhealthy habits. Make sure you maintain healthy eating habits and take advantage of the campus gym or fitness center.

5. How to cook more than toast

This can also help prevent you from spending too much time in the dining hall. Although there are restaurants and cafeterias on campus, knowing how to cook is a very important skill. Try learning how to make pasta, eggs, and any of your other favorite foods in your dorm or apartment. 

6. How to network

One of the best parts of college is the many opportunities it can provide. If there’s a professor who’s working on an interesting project, ask if they have any internships or research positions available. If you’re in a large city, look for a job or internship in a field you’d like to work in and start making connections.

Related: How to Start Networking: Top Tips and Tricks

7. How to make sleep a priority

Students usually have different schedules every day at college, so it’s very easy to push off sleep if you have a late night or a late start in the morning. But getting enough sleep is important to both your health and academic success. Try to maintain a steady sleep schedule, and aim for at least seven hours a night in order to be fully alert and ready for the day.

8. How to share a room

For many students, college is the first time they’re expected to share a room. Make sure you and your roommate(s) are able to effectively communicate with each other to avoid unnecessary fights. You also need to learn how to be aware of your belongings and how to respect the space of others.

Related: Getting Along With Your Roommate: What NOT to Do

9. How to clean up after yourself

Most dorms don’t come equipped with a cleaning service, so the responsibility of keeping your living space organized will fall on you and your roommates. Make sure you regularly clean your room, and if you have a suite-style room, clean the bathroom and/or common area too. Otherwise, your living space will feel a lot smaller than it actually is, and you could be setting yourself up for unwanted smells and germs.

10. How to dress for various occasions

When you get to college, you’ll be expected to dress in a variety of ways. While you may be able to pull off shorts and a T-shirt around campus and during class, you’ll need to have a few professional outfits for internships and presentations. Learn which occasions call for formal wear, business casual, and casual clothes in order to look as put-together as possible.

Related: 5 Surprising Internship Interview Tips

There are plenty of life skills you’ll pick up throughout your journey into adulthood, but attaining certain skills or developing certain habits before college will only benefit you. Learning how to healthily balance your life will allow you to make the most of your college experience and truly have some of the best years of your life.

Learn more about being a college kid in our Student Life section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About Elyse Baden

My name is Elyse Baden, and I am a junior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. I have been a member of my school newspaper for the past two years and am currently an editor. I am so excited to be a CollegeXpress writer!

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Priscilla Yeboah

Priscilla Yeboah

High School Student

I was afraid and timid throughout my search for colleges, but I finally found the college that was fit for me and luckily I got accepted. One of the most influential things that helped me was the articles and advice on CollegeXpress. They've helped me a lot and benefited me as a senior to make the right choices in life. Thank you!

Leah Maciel

Leah Maciel

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me with all aspects of applying for college. The website is extremely easy to navigate and gives access to so many resources. I was able to research all of the colleges I was interested in, find out any information I wished to know about, and keep them organized in a list. I've also been able to research scholarships and save them as resources for later. I've used many websites in my college and scholarship search, and CollegeXpress has by far been my favorite one to use.

Abhishek Kumar

Abhishek Kumar

High School Class of 2022

As a high schooler, I know how hard it is to plan for college. You have to consider a lot of factors: SAT/ACT scores, college searches, scholarships, and more. CollegeXpress has been a helpful resource that solves all these problems. One can easily create a free account and search away. They help you search for scholarships and colleges, they have graduate program search, they have lists and rankings, and so much more. CX also has a lot of articles and advice to read—whether it’s financial aid, test prep, campus visits, internships/careers, or anything. Not only that, CX gives out free scholarship money to students who sign up and create a free CX account. I love CX and will continue to use it! Thank you CollegeXpress for making my college journey easier!

Kayla

Kayla

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me organize the schools I wanted to choose from in one place, which I could then easily compare and find the school that was right for me!

Katelyn

Katelyn

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress gave me options of schools with my major and from there I was able to pick what was most important to me in a school. Everything was so organized that I could see all the information I needed.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Eckerd College

St. Petersburg, FL

Bridgewater College

Bridgewater, VA