You made it through finals, a senior project, prom, and graduation, but now you must bid farewell to high school and hello to a whole new adventure: college. The summer before heading off to college should be a time of celebrating with friends and family–however, keep in mind that this summer plays a crucial role in your first semester of college. Stay focused this summer by planning ahead and preparing for living out on your own.
Here are 10 things every incoming college freshman should do this summer:
1. Take a summer class
The first semester of college can be one of the toughest. In addition to learning new material, you’re trying to adjust to a new surrounding, make friends, and learning to become independent. Lessen your work load for next semester by getting a head start on your college courses this summer. Consider taking a summer class at your local college, community college, or even online so you can study on your own time.
2. Find a summer job
Not only can you make some extra cash, but you can start building up your resume and grow your work experience by getting a summer job. A summer job can teach you responsibility, time management, and leadership skills that will greatly benefit you with your classes and in future jobs.
3. Learn to budget your money
One of the most important lessons you’ll learn your freshman year is how to budget. With your new-found freedom, it can get pricey paying for food, transportation, entertainment, and not to mention all the necessities for your dorm room. Be proactive and set a spending limit for yourself each month and keep track of your spending, while taking tuition, room, and board into consideration.
4. Meet up with your roommate(s)
Once you receive a notification from your school on who your roommate or roommates will be, use the contact information provided or look them up on Facebook to arrange a meet-up. If traveling permits, find a halfway point and get together for lunch, or meet up at a store to pick out dorm room supplies together and to avoid buying duplicate items.
5. Prepare your dorm room
If you’re moving on campus this coming fall, take the summer to prepare everything you need for living on your own. Buying a mini fridge, a bed set, a hamper, and countless other items can be overwhelming, so don’t wait until last minute. Also, you might want to take your dorm layout and meal plan into consideration when buying dorm essentials.
6. Read up on your major
Get a head start on what you’re going to be learning next semester by reading up on news in your field of study. Stay current on the latest trends, do research on industry professionals, and find out what possible career paths are applicable to your major.
7. Prepare for your classes
Know what you’re getting into before that first day of class. Buy the textbooks (always look at multiple places for textbooks to get the best price) and browse through the materials you will be working on. Some classes might also require preexisting knowledge on computer applications, mathematics, or a certain novel, so take the summer to make sure you’re in the loop.
8. Know your health insurance
This is one element often overlooked by incoming college freshman. In case of a medical emergency, you want to know which health care provider to go to. If you’re under your parent’s health insurance, have a copy of the insurance card to make sure you are covered for any medical treatment you may need. All of our colleges also offer healthcare insurance to full-time students through an outside party, making you eligible for on campus medical checkups.
9. Know the campus
The last thing you want on your first day of classes is to run around campus struggling to find your classroom. Find a map of your college campus and locate where your classes are so you won’t show up late–and out of breath.
10. Talk to current students at the school
Make sure you go to your college’s orientation, accepted students day, or any on campus activity for incoming students. Utilize these events to make friends, get familiar with the campus, and view on campus housing. If you don’t know anyone attending the same college as you, take this time to introduce yourself to other new students and maybe even find yourself a roommate that has similar interests as you.
Olivia is a former student assistant in the Office of New Media for the State University of New York. She is an undergraduate direct and interactive marketing major with a minor in economics at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, NY.