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School teaches them history, math, science, and writing. But do our kids have what they need to function in their day-to-day lives?

Here are 100 common skills college students need, but don’t always have:

  1. Say “no”
  2. Set and manage a goal with a timetable and milestones
  3. Communicate with professors and teaching assistants
  4. Manage their time with a calendar
  5. Read a bank statement and balance a checkbook
  6. Save regularly and make saving money a lifelong habit
  7. Use ride-sharing services safely
  8. How and when to make a phone call rather than texting – some things require a conversation
  9. Understand, improve, and maintain their credit score
  10. Mail a package
  11. Address an envelope
  12. Figure out postage and buy stamps
  13. Make, change, or cancel an appointment
  14. Deposit, withdraw, or move funds in an account (either by ATM, phone app or teller)
  15. Find medical care in an emergency and how and when to call an ambulance
  16. Get involved in their community
  17. How compound interest on savings or borrowing works
  18. Memorize your social security, credit card, and student ID numbers
  19. Turn off an overflowing toilet
  20. Borrow and lend money
  21. Manage peer pressure
  22. Walk away from… anything
  23. Utilize a meal plan and not waste money
  24. Do laundry
  25. Shop for groceries (lists, budget, coupons)
  26. Read nutrition labels
  27. Tip
  28. Make a list of favorite recipes
  29. Write a check
  30. Understand the terms when applying for a credit card
  31. Use any form of transportation including navigating and ticketing
  32. Choose a doctor
  33. Fill and refill a prescription
  34. Buy stamps
  35. Correctly use over-the-counter medications
  36. Keep scholarships and financial aid
  37. Eat healthy and resist unhealthy food choices
  38. Fill out health insurance forms
  39. Do their taxes
  40. Clean anything and everything
  41. Administer basic first aid
  42. What to do in a lockdown
  43. Be prepared for weather and power emergencies
  44. Find and work with a study group
  45. Find academic help, tutors, and mentors on a college campus
  46. Cope with feelings of stress or being overwhelmed
  47. Decide between a doctor’s appointment, urgent care, and the ER
  48. Understand medical coverage
  49. Write a resume
  50. Dress for an interview
  51. Complete a LinkedIn profile
  52. Stay in touch with friends and family
  53. Consume alcohol safely
  54. Get and use birth control
  55. Live with a group of strangers
  56. Plunge a toilet
  57. Stay safe
  58. Get the right amount of sleep and exercise
  59. Know when to seek professional medical or mental health services
  60. Prepare if they’re pulled over when driving
  61. Store and prepare food safely
  62. Read and understand a credit card statement
  63. Use basic tools for minor repairs
  64. Create and stick to a budget
  65. Deal with unexpected expenses
  66. Turn off a smoke alarm
  67. Stay healthy, including hand washing
  68. Use a fire extinguisher
  69. Recognize fraud in emails, phishing, and phone calls
  70. Write a professional email
  71. Stay current with local and national news
  72. VOTE, because it matters
  73. Advocate with medical professionals
  74. Apply for jobs, internships, and on-campus positions
  75. Locate routing and account numbers on checks
  76. Remember and recognize important dates in other’s lives
  77. Completing important forms like HIPAA, FERPA, Power of Attorney
  78. Get renter’s insurance
  79. Deal with a drunk friend
  80. Deal with a car accident
  81. Be clear about consent with a romantic partner
  82. Be your own strongest advocate in a positive way
  83. Manage if a credit card is lost or stolen
  84. Write and send a handwritten thank-you note
  85. Pay bills on time and set up automatic payment
  86. Understand the expense of owning a pet
  87. Follow an auto maintenance schedule
  88. Understand auto insurance and coverage
  89. Save money on textbooks
  90. Change bed sheets
  91. Manage social media presence
  92. Change a flat tire
  93. Sew a button
  94. Iron
  95. Deal with loneliness
  96. Greet someone respectfully with eye contact and a handshake
  97. Use jumper cables
  98. Research potential career paths
  99. Put yourself out there and make friends
  100.   Manage subscriber services

What we really want our teens to know:

But the most important thing we want to teach our teens is that we love them unconditionally. They can call us anytime. No question is stupid. And, we’re available to them 24/7/365.



ScholarShare 529, California’s college savings plan, publishes the College Countdown website and articles to provide resources and to ease the minds of parents preparing to send their kids to college. Visit ScholarShare 529.