What Life Skills Do I Need Before University?

by Grace Dickins

Many students who head off to university for the first time have never before lived on their own, which can seem intimidating. There will probably be a lot of things that your parents did for you that you'll now have to do for yourself.

Before you head off to university, here are some life skills to keep in mind. (They'll come in hand day-to-day and may even impress your roommates and friends at the same time!)


Learning organization skills sounds silly. Many students may wonder what being organised even looks like. To help you visualize it, grab a planner. Start writing things down. Planners are especially useful with keeping deadlines straight. Learn to take note of homework assignments, test dates, and any upcoming academic or social events you may want to attend. Luckily, smart phones and countless apps can replace paper and pen if that's more comfortable for you.

Study skills

The majority of us have to work at mastering writing, studying, and other academic skills. Since everyone is different, each of us may have to approach the art of studying differently. Find out how you learn best: whether that's utilizing visuals, words, or activities. Adapt your study sessions to accommodate the way you best take in information. If you're a visual learner, make colored note cards before a test. Find a space conducive to studying that offers the materials you need. The library is a great place to start, especially if you have loud roommates!


Making food at home is often more affordable, tastier, and healthier than ordering takeaway. It may take a few tries to master simple recipes, but don't lose heart. Watch cooking shows, and follow recipes to the letter with your first attempts. Start with foods that are impossible to screw up: like an omelette or a simple pasta dish. Work up to more complex meals, and try to cook with what's in season or what produce looks good at the grocery store when you visit.

Money management

Chances are, even if you receive financial aid for tuition and housing, you probably have a personal bank account that you'll use for miscellaneous bills - things like food and entertainment. If you work a part-time job during school, take note of how much you make monthly and budget out your spending accordingly. Allow yourself some luxuries, but don't get caught up at the shops, especially if you have friends whose parents constantly replenish their bank accounts. Money is a personal issue, and one that you should be honest and mindful about throughout your unviersity career.

You're sure to master countless other skills while away at school. Start by mastering these few things and you'll probably have a leg up on the majority of your classmates. Share your knowledge, and have fun!