It may seem far away, but college will be here before you know it. And there’s a lot to do before you take off on that journey that will prepare you for long-term success far beyond your first semester. As move-in day gets closer and closer, here are some things to keep in mind that you’ll want to start doing sooner rather than later before you head off to college!
1. Build your résumé
Whether you plan to get an internship your first year or not, the summer before college is a great time to create or add to your professional résumé and learn some new skills, such as a programming language or CPR. Certifications and accomplishments like these will help boost your résumé compared to your peers and keep your brain engaged through the summer. Consider creating a LinkedIn profile as well; not only do many companies hire through LinkedIn, but the platform can also connect you to many students across your campus. In addition, it could be helpful to practice writing a couple sample cover letters, as many companies require them of applicants. Most high schools don’t teach how to write cover letters, so learning and practicing on your own before college starts is beneficial and will help you in the future.
2. Gain some work experience
Having a summer job gives some structure to the long days, preparing you to get comfortable with a routine and the responsibility of independence you’ll have in college. It’ll also ensure you have some savings before you head off to campus. If you’re looking for your first job or a new position the summer before college, be aware that some businesses won’t hire you if they know you’ll be moving soon. Most students who want to work just for the summer apply for seasonal jobs such as ice cream scoopers or seasonal sales positions. It’s important to gain any type of work experience in high school before you get to college, as it will give you a good foundation in accountability and time management. You can also add this to your résumé to make you a more appealing candidate for future internships and jobs.
3. Prepare for freshman orientation
Most schools have an in-person freshman orientation where you pick your classes, get your student ID card, sit through presentations, and meet new people. Orientations typically give you a chance to meet with an advisor, so be sure to prepare some questions about campus life, academics, internships, research, and other topics that are important to your future success. To be as prepared as possible for this session, it’s helpful to know your major’s required courses if you’ve decided on an area of study. Come with some backup options in case any classes are unavailable, and don’t be afraid to speak to older students in the same major to ask which classes they took and would recommend to you. It’s also valuable to check ratings and online reviews of the professors for each class, as they can really make or break your experience. If you do most of the research on the classes you need to take beforehand, the orientation process will be less stressful and more enjoyable—and you’ll have a solid road map for future semesters as well.
4. Research clubs on campus
Although your school will offer some sort of showcase of the different clubs and organizations on campus at some point during your first semester, it’s also beneficial to do prior research on which groups you’re interested in. The more you learn about different clubs beforehand, the easier it will be to decide which ones you want to join when the school year starts and see what can feasibly fit into your anticipated schedule. Some people find the amount of on-campus activities at college to be overwhelming, so it may take some time to land on what’s best for you and your passions.
While there’s a lot to do in the months leading up to college, it’s important to enjoy your summer! If you start preparing for freshman year (and beyond) sooner rather than later, you’ll still have time to travel, spend time with family and friends, watch movies late at night, sleep in, and have fun. This might be the only summer you have left before every other break gets filled with extra classes or serious internships, so be sure to make the most of it!
There’s a lot to do to get ready for college. Not sure if you are? Read our article on How to Know If You're Ready for College to feel more confident about it!