Your Pre-College Checklist

Your Pre-College Checklist

It’s never a bad time to start developing these skills, whether you’re in high school or about to enter college. But definitely try to have at least some practice in the following areas before you leave home.

Home Life

    • Doing laundry (including washing, drying, and ironing)
    • Basic cleaning: sweeping/vacuuming, mopping, dusting, and wiping down surfaces, including toilets and sinks
    • Washing dishes (using a dishwasher and by hand)
    • Shopping for healthy groceries on a budget
    • Preparing basic meals; safely using a microwave, oven, and stove


    • Using the local public transit system (buses/trains)
    • Booking a taxi/Uber/Lyft
    • Performing basic car maintenance (filling up on gas and adding air to tires); knowing how often to get an oil change; ideally also knowing how to change a tire and top off fluids


    • Opening a bank account and monitoring your finances regularly (online or through an app)
    • Using a checkbook (including writing checks and recording on the register)
    • Calculating the tip at a restaurant
    • Using a credit card (including interacting with credit card company, making payments on time, and spending responsibly)

Civic Life

    • Addressing an envelope and sending a letter
    • Registering to vote and identifying your voting location (or knowing how to get and mail in an absentee ballot)
    • Keeping track of important personal information, such as Social Security Number and health insurance info
    • Managing online accounts (including keeping login information organized in a safe, secure location)
    • Making and keeping track of doctors’ appointments
    • Filing your taxes (unless you’re still listed as a dependent on your parents’ returns)


    • Using a calendar to organize your schedule
    • Creating and implementing a study plan


    • Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency (medical, fire, weather, etc.)
    • Engaging in safe, responsible, consensual sexual behaviors, if sexually active
    • Knowing what resources are available if you need to ask for help, academically or emotionally

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Jay B.

Jay Bacrania is the CEO of Signet Education. As a high schooler, Jay won awards for chemistry at the state level in his home state of Florida, and at Harvard, he initially studied physics. After graduating, Jay spent two years studying jazz trumpet at the Berklee College of Music.

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