Going to college for your first time can be an enlightening but challenging task. Students need to be focused and take college seriously when it comes to school work, as it does not compare to high school. A tough workload, a busy schedule and moving away from the parents' house are just some of the stresses of going off to college.
In order to help you through this adjustment process, here are some steps to take for how to prepare for your first year in college.
Preparing for College Living
Where will you live?
This is obviously very high on the priority list and a decision that can make or break your college experience. Study the dorms, selecting the one that best fits you. This is where you will be eating, sleeping, studying and meeting lifelong friends, so make it a good one.
Use college forums like College Confidential to connect with others at the college you plan on attending and ask if they have recommendations on the best places to live on campus.
If you choose to live in a dorm, make sure you have a reservation and have submitted any roommate requests by the proper deadline.
Sometimes dorm living can get expensive, so you may want to consider looking into off-campus apartments at some point. Start searching for apartments near your college and ask what their policy is when renting to college students. Either way, you will want your college living situation figured out months in advance, or it is sure to bring you additional stress.
Student Health Insurance
Many colleges require students to have health insurance. If you are not going to be covered under your parents' plan, you should start getting quotes for coverage now.
Other Tips for Preparing for College
- Stay productive over summer break. This way you will be mentally prepared and you won't lag behind when dealing with the fast-paced college workload.
- Sign up to receive our tips for college success to get the latest news, tips and college advice in your inbox.
- Get as many scholarships as you can to help pay for college. College is expensive and you need all the help you can get. Check out college scholarships and see what you qualify for.
- Visit the college in-person with friends and/or family before starting school, and even before applying for that matter. This will help you get a feel for the college and the surrounding area.
- Follow college admission tips to ensure you will get in the college of your choice.
- Contact your roommates ahead of time. Make an effort to get to know them before going off to college.
- Start networking with other students on social media.
- Take control of your finances. Get signed up with Mint.com to track your spending.
- Budget accordingly.
- Get a prepaid card. A student off at college will need an easy way for Mom and Dad to send money. This is where a prepaid Visa card comes in handy, as parents can easily add funds to a student's card.
- Visit RateMyProfessors.com and check out prospective teachers.
- Learn how to be organized, and stay organized. This is one of the keys to college success.
- Get yourself a nice college laptop. Having a good quality laptop will greatly increase your productivity in college and you will find it very useful and convenient. It is important to stay up to date on technology, especially while in college.
- Look at the requirements for your college major of choice and start planning out your college courses for the school year.
- If you haven't decided on a major, take classes that will benefit you and be useful in your future. Get advice on choosing a major.
- What to Bring: Download our What to Bring to College checklist for both guys and girls.