Abstract Background and purpose The Sheehan Suicidality Tracking Scale (S-STS) is a patient self-report or clinician-administered rating scale that tracks spontaneous and treatment-emergent suicidal ideation and behaviors. This study set out to evaluate the reliability, convergent and divergent validity of the S-STS in a sample of college students, a population with a high risk of completed and attempted suicide. Methods Cross-sectional, survey design. Participants (303 undergraduate students; males: 42%) completed several measures assessing psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire; GHQ); self-esteem (Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale; RSES); social support (Modified Social Support Survey; MOSSS); and suicidal behavior, including ideation and attempts (S-STS). Results Both internal consistency and test–retest stability were excellent for the S-STS-global score. The S-STS subscale on suicide ideation also showed good reliability, while the subscale on suicidal behavior showed some inconsistency at retest. Convergent and divergent validity of S-STS was confirmed. All S-STS items loaded on a single factor, which had an excellent fit for the unidimensional model, thus justifying the use of the S-STS as a screening tool. In a mediation model, self-esteem and social support explained 45% of the effects of psychological distress on suicide ideation and behavior as measured by the S-STS-global score. Conclusions This study provided promising evidence on the convergent, divergent, internal consistency and test–retest stability of the Sheehan Suicidality Tracking Scale. The cross-sectional design and lack of measures of hopelessness and helplessness prevent any conclusion about the links of suicidal behavior with self-esteem and social support.