How to Prepare for the College Transition
Get Into (the) Gear:
One way to feel mentally prepared for your new adventure is to get physically prepared. First, get organized: make piles of things to bring, things to store, things to toss, and things to give away. Most schools have suggestions on their websites of things to bring, as well as those that you should leave behind. This is a great exercise to do with a parent who may be more objective about what you will and won’t need at school.
Shopping for dorm décor will help you picture where you will be living and get you excited about furnishing your own space. Decorating your dorm room according to your own taste and style will help make it feel like home, which may also ward off any home-sickness. Don’t forget the necessities, including extension cords, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent. These basic items, which were always just there before, signal the realities of independence. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to ask your parents questions, learn basic housekeeping, bookkeeping and checkbook-balancing skills, and start practicing good living habits (like keeping your room tidy!).
Keep checking the mail and doing your research:
Many students think that once their admissions decisions have been received there is no need to keep track of mail from their college or further research the school. However, that’s not the case. In addition to important information regarding new student weekends, housing contracts, meal plans, and class registration, schools will also send you information regarding activities and programs in which you may want to participate. These can include special freshman seminars and new student deals that may have limited space/quantities, so pay attention! Be sure to check your mailbox and your email inbox regularly. This summer, you’ll also want to take the time to look through your college’s course catalog so that when you register for courses (often during orientation), you can secure a spot in your preferred classes. Knowing what you want to participate in, and how to take advantage of it, will also allow you to meet fellow students with whom you already share some common ground.