Going to college soon? Being prepared will ease the transition.
Within the next few weeks, high school graduates will be heading to start their first year of college! It’s an exciting time, but it can also be pretty scary. Advance preparation won’t eliminate all of the anxiety, but it certainly can help you feel more confident. Here are some tips for students and your families as you get ready for this huge step in your lives!
Before school starts:
1. Use a reliable packing list so that you can be comfortable in your new home away from home.
2. Be sure you know how to use any new technology: laptop, notebook, netbook, tablet, cell phone, etc.
3. Explore your college’s website. Follow the school’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates about events and workshops that will be hosted on campus.
4. Learn the layout of the school! Get a map and make sure it’s accessible when you are getting to know your campus.
5. Know how to stay safe on campus; acquaint yourself with safe rides and security systems.
6. Seek out your future roommate ahead of time to get comfortable and to share your plans for your dorm room.
7. Research ways to get involved in a few school-sponsored clubs or activities.
8. Talk to your parents about your concerns and expectations as well as theirs. Decide how and when you’ll communicate with them.
9. Be prepared to manage your own finances. You will need to keep track of your funds and pay off your credit cards when they’re due.
10. Learn about your school’s course registration procedures and timing so that you don’t run the risk of getting “closed out” of essential classes.
As soon as you get to school:
1. Take advantage of socials, welcome events and orientation to learn about the school and to meet new people.
2. Know what academic resources you’ll have on campus: tutoring services, the library system and hours, computer labs, etc. Don’t be shy about meeting your professors and taking advantage of their office hours.
3. Explore your school’s laundry options. Find the machines, buy detergent, read the instructions in advance, and bring quarters if necessary. Don’t wash new red items with the rest of your wash!
4. Some school laundry facilities allow for credit cards. Others offer laundry services, but you’ll need to label all of your clothes in advance and keep track of what you send in.
5. Organize all of your toiletries and shower necessities in a portable caddy. It would be a good idea to wear flip-flops in the shower for sanitary reasons.
6. Realize that you’re responsible for your own time management. This isn’t like high school. You need to be sure to wake up on time for classes, remember deadlines and do your homework so that you don’t fall behind.
7. Maintain a balance between schoolwork and your independent social life.
During the first semester, be sure to take care of your health:
1. Expect to be homesick, anxious and worried at times. It’s normal. Seek help when you need it.
2. Get enough sleep and eat sensibly!
3. If you feel ill, don’t ignore it. Go to Health Services for a diagnosis and appropriate medications.
4. Learn as much as possible about your medical needs.
5. Know the locations of the closest Urgent Care Center and Emergency Room. Be prepared to seek emergency transportation to these facilities.
6. Keep a handy list of your medications, doses, names and contact information of your doctors.
7. Discuss with your parents how to handle medical insurance procedures.
8. If you’re over 18, discuss with your parents whether you should have a health care proxy.
9. If you plan to be sexually active, be ready with protection.
And most of all, remember that college should be a time to learn, explore and enjoy yourself!