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Embracing the Freedom: Preparing for College after High School
The summer after high school graduation feels liberating! You’re finally free to relax and hang out! No more required school. Ever! Unless of course you’re heading to college in the fall… (Not trying to be a buzzkill here). If college is the next major step in your future, you’ve still got plenty of time for enjoying friends and the relaxation of summer. But in between lazy days and socializing, there are a couple of tasks you might want to consider in order to prepare for college this fall. Here they are, in no particular order:
Ensuring a Smooth Transition: Confirming College Enrollment and Financial Aid Status
Double check your enrollment and financial aid status. By now you’ve probably decided where you’ll be attending college. If not, don’t panic! Many colleges accept students right up until the day classes begin. So, if you’re still teetering between options, check on enrollment deadlines so you don’t miss your chance to commit for the fall semester. With high school behind you, you can focus on securing last minute information you need to finalize your decision–whether that be financial aid details or lingering questions you still have about your colleges of interest.
Then–take the final leap of faith by deciding where you’ll attend! Once you’ve decided where you’ll be attending, double check with your enrollment counselor to see if you’re all set to go. For example, there are usually deadlines for submitting your housing preferences (if you’re living on campus) and health and vaccination records. Make sure that your financial aid package is secure and includes any loans or scholarships you’ve been awarded to date. You’ll also be invited to sign up for fall classes if you haven’t already.
Don’t be shy about asking questions of a guidance counselor if you’re unclear about what classes are required freshman year or for your major. Overall, you’ll want to check for certain that you’ve completed everything required of you. When you’re confident all the details are in place, you can rest easy and not worry about being caught off guard in the fall.
Building Financial Resilience: The Importance of Saving Money for College
Save money! Everyone knows that college is not cheap. Summer is a great time to look for a job and start saving money if you haven’t already. Even if your tuition is covered, there are hidden expenses you may not have thought about such as textbooks, laundry, and travel to and from college for the holidays, not to mention the incidentals of living away from home. If you haven’t lived on a budget before, it makes a lot of sense (pun semi-intended) to get on one now so that you can practice living on less than you earn.
Plotting the Journey: Crafting College Move-In Plans
Make your move in plans. Find out when classes start and when you’re allowed to move onto campus. With these dates on your calendar, move backwards from there to make a travel plan. Make sure and reserve enough time to fly or drive to your college and get moved in without feeling too stretched for time. If a parent or guardian plans to travel with you, you may want to book an extra day for sight-seeing and familiarizing yourself with amenities in the area, such as a grocery store, walk-in health clinic, or local church.
Cultivating Community: Connecting with Roommates and Incoming Classmates
Get to know your roommates and incoming class. Usually, you’ll find out who you’ll be rooming with sometime over the summer. It’s great to connect with your roommate (or suite mates, as the case may be) via text, phone call or Facetime to start getting to know each other.
It’s also smart to go over what you each plan to bring and what you might be able to share (think bigger items like microwave, small fridge, other appliances, furniture, or practical things like a fan, garbage can or shower curtain). Most colleges have websites or social media platforms that allow you to connect with your specific class, so if you haven’t already, get plugged into your class Instagram or Facebook site and see who’s traveling from your home state, shares your major or will be joining the same clubs or sports teams.
Anticipating Needs: The Essential Guide to Packing for College
Start packing. This is something you won’t want to put off until the last minute. It might pay off to start setting aside things from home you know you’ll want with you in the coming school year. At the very least, make a list of things you want to remember to pack as the time gets closer. Notice what you use around the house—from office supplies to toiletries you share with your family, to kitchen gadgets you’d miss not having in your life.
These may be things you’ll need to purchase for yourself before you leave home. It’s a good idea to get measurements of your future dorm room so you know how much closet and storage space you’ll have, and to find out what furniture is included in your room. You may also ask if there’s anything you’re not allowed to bring on campus. For example, most colleges have a list of things they ban because they’re considered fire hazards. This may include items such as electric heaters or blankets, small kitchen appliances and candles. When it comes to what you should pack, there are tons of online packing lists to get your started!
Appreciating Your Roots: Savoring Family Time Before Embarking on Your College Adventure
Soak in time with your family. Last but definitely not least–enjoy your last summer with your family! Of course, you will see them again and be returning home for visits, but in some ways, it will never be the same because from the time you leave on, you’ll always feel a bit like a visitor when you come back. So, make the most of the time you have together and plan some fun outings or special activities before you leave home.
If you’re really motivated, take a few minutes to share verbally or in writing a few words of thanks to the people in your life who have supported you to this point in your journey. Time is ticking away, and before you know it, you’ll be off on your next adventure, experiencing the world of college for the first time!
The Next Step: Making Your College Transition Seamless
As your high school journey concludes and your college adventure awaits, it’s normal to feel a mixture of excitement, anticipation, and perhaps a little apprehension. Rest assured, with careful preparation, your transition into college will be a memorable and enjoyable one.
Remember, you are not alone in this journey. There are resources available to guide and support you. One such resource is ChristianConnector.com, a platform that provides information about Christian colleges and universities, scholarships, and other resources for students like you. Whether you’re looking for financial aid, enrollment guidance, or just want to connect with like-minded peers, ChristianConnector.com is an excellent starting point.
Embrace this pivotal time in your life, knowing that the lessons you learn and the experiences you gain in college will shape your future. Here’s to new beginnings and the exciting journey ahead! If you’re looking for more things to do, you can always visit here for more ideas.