College Bound: Tips for College Prep

The months leading up to your freshman year of college can be an overwhelming whirlwind of emotions. While you want to take time to relax, it’s also important to make sure you spend time preparing for this next chapter of your life. Enjoy your summer and follow these tips to make your transition to college life a smooth one.

Go to orientation, and explore off campus as well: While orientation can be information overload, it’s valuable insight that will help you feel at home on campus. Pay special attention to the buildings where you’re likely to have classes so you’re not frantically trying to find your first class on your first day of school. It’s also a good idea to take time to explore the area surrounding your campus. While college life can feel like a bubble sometimes, it’s helpful to have an idea where surrounding businesses are located, like the local grocery store or auto repair shop.

Adjust to the college calendar: Take some time to explore your university’s website and take note of important dates, like course add/drop deadlines, events, and breaks. It’s also important to observe financial due dates for tuition and room and board payments. Failing to pay these on time can result in getting dropped from classes or being unable to gain access to your dorm room, so it’s a good idea to be aware of deadlines.

Brush up on classes: Set yourself up for success by taking some time to review a couple chapters of your high school foreign language or science textbook to keep it fresh in your mind. While there will likely be review at the start of your semester, having the basic knowledge already ingrained in your brain will help you feel more confident in your classes from day one. Also, if you’ve signed up for a first year seminar or any other course with assigned reading, make sure you do the reading. Scrambling to catch up on the first day adds extra stress, and does not make a good first impression for your professor.

Take inventory of your finances: Your freshman year of college is an exciting time with an increase in newly found freedom. Even if you’ve worked all summer and received money for graduation, it’s still important to set up a budget and to monitor your finances closely. Expenses like shopping for books, clothes or dorm furnishings, as well as going out to eat, can add up quickly. Depending on your bank, there may be special account options available to students, so make sure you do your research so you don’t end up getting hit with late payments or overdraft fees.

Communicate with your roommate: Whether you know your future roommate already, or if you’ve never met before, it’s important to communicate. Coordinate move-in schedules, lay ground rules, and just get to know your roommate’s preferences. Having these conversations beforehand will make cohabitating easier, and will minimize any future awkward conversations.

While you want to make sure to relax and enjoy moments with friends and family prior to embarking on your college journey, taking a little bit of time to organize and prepare for this next step of your life will ease your transition. Save yourself time and energy down the road, and get your college experience started on the right foot.