The summer before you head off to college is exciting, and you should have some fun, however, there are some things you can take care of during this time that will make your college experience more enjoyable. College seems to move along faster than even high school did, so you need to show up ready to learn and stay on top of your classes. To do that, make sure you have everything in place to give you the best chance of success.
Manage Your Finances
You can’t talk about college without talking about money. Deciding how you will pay for school and making arrangements for that payment doesn’t take much time but should be done early enough that you can sign up for classes as soon as possible. Private student loans are a good option if you will be borrowing to pay for school. You can shop around for the best interest rate and most favorable terms before committing. Whether you are a student or a cosigner, take some time to explore private student loans when considering payment options for school.
If you can fit in the time to study for CLEP examinations over the summer, you can avoid taking some of the required general education classes once you are on campus. There are many online resources for studying, and if you were a strong student in high school and are good at self-directed studies, you may be able to knock out a few credits before ever leaving home. This summer is also a good time to work. Even if you have tuition and living expenses covered, heading to school with some money in your savings account allows you to cover unexpected costs and have a little extra for nights when you cannot stand another meal from the school cafeteria.
Take Inventory of What You Will Bring
While living conditions have improved dramatically over the years, dorm rooms are still cramped enough that you need to carefully consider what you will take. Most colleges require freshmen to live on campus, so you may be able to bring along more belongings next year, but initially, make sure everything you pack has value. If you haven’t toured the living quarters, the college can provide a list of how your room is furnished. They will also have a list of what you are permitted to have in the room and what is not allowed. In addition to your clothes, toiletries, and computer, you may want some storage containers to make use of unused space under your bed or in the closet.
Go to Orientation
Freshman orientation allows you to be on campus, meet your future classmates, and learn more about the school. It is important to attend to get the information you need about meals, classes, and extracurricular opportunities. If you are headed off to college far from home, it may be possible to attend a virtual orientation. Many colleges also offer an orientation immediately before move-in for those who cannot attend the program scheduled during the summer. If you haven’t been able to make an in-person visit before you move in, contact the admissions office, they may be able to make arrangements for an upperclassman to show you around.