Rising College Freshman? Five Summer To- Do’s

As the weather heats up it might seem like move-in day is ages away, but this summer is actually a valuable time to get in the college mindset. It’s a transitional time, so here are five strategies to make the most of your last few months at home and get a head start on acclimating to college.

1. Get connected: Join your college class’ Facebook page.  While some are official and moderated by a college staff member, others are just a group page founded by a classmate, but these “Class of 2017” pages offer an opportunity to meet future friends, classmates and potential roommates.  On school-sponsored pages, a representative from the school can help answer your questions ranging from what to bring to what to expect during orientation. Don’t feel pressured to post if you don’t feel comfortable; just monitoring the can reassuring you that other incoming freshmen are feeling the same anticipation and nervousness.

2. Learn your space. Find your room’s dimensions on the residence life section of your school’s website, and figure out how to best maximize the space with under bed storage or bins in the closet. Check out Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, or the Container Store for creative solutions. While you can always borrow from a new-found friend, it’s best to learn from those who know what to bring. Consult the What to Bring lists on your school website, College Board  and College Confidential.

3. Make the most of your money: Plan your classes! Don’t worry, we aren’t talking major life decisions yet, but take some time to research your academic requirements on your school’s website. Find out if you can take a placement exam to test out of a foreign language or math class and send your AP scores for credit. Check out the online course catalog to find classes you might be interested in taking once your core requirements are met. Totally stumped?  College Board’s majors section can help you figure out career options beyond the familiar. As always, we can help you find other ways to afford college; we are happy to meet with you to discuss your needs. Please contact us.

4. Do something you’ll be proud to talk about. Get an interesting summer job, volunteer, or try a new activity. Do something new to you. College is a time to find yourself, so get in the habit of trying new things and exploring who you are (or might be). Consider helping with Special Olympics competitions, mentoring a younger child through Big Brother or Big Sister, learning to kayak or taking a white water rafting adventure. Even if it’s a one-time volunteer event or defining moment with family or friends, make it something you’ll be excited to tell your future classmates.

5. Apply for more scholarships. It’s never too late and many programs outside your college have money to give. Check out your nearby Elks Club or large corporations like Kohl’s or Coca-Cola or check out other ideas on our website. In many cases you can tweak your college essay or just fill out a few pages of forms. The application is worth your time: even a $500 award can buy books for a semester (or two!).