How to Prepare for College During the Last Days of Summer

The end of summer and your first semester of college is coming faster than you think. Follow these tips to make sure you aren't behind before the school year even starts.

The end of summer is coming faster than you think. Are you heading off to college in a few weeks? Follow these seven tips to make sure you aren’t behind before your first semester even starts.

1. Relax!

Let’s start off with an easy task: just take some time for yourself! Maybe take time to update your back-to-school wardrobe, try out some new skincare products, visit that fried chicken and waffles restaurant you’ve been dying to try, or whatever your heart desires.

2. Complete that summer homework

Some of the courses you’ll be taking in the fall may have some summer homework assigned. Check the syllabus to find out if you have any. This homework could be online multiple-choice questions, some required reading, or a drugs and/or alcohol online class. Take time to do as little as one question a day as the school year rapidly approaches, and you’ll have time to enjoy the transition to college and not struggle to submit your online assignments the minute before class starts.

3. Refresh your math skills

The realization that you need to take math (ugh, calculus) in college to graduate may make you want to drop out altogether. However, just taking a few minutes each day to relearn how to multiply functions together, take the derivative of exponential functions, or even add numbers (hopefully not, though?) can really make that 5:00 pm Linear Algebra class that much less dreadful. I personally used sites like YouTube and Khan Academy to prepare for my own college math classes. I really like Khan Academy because it can vigorously prepare you for subjects even above traditional high school levels, such as differential calculus and linear algebra. For STEM majors, Khan Academy even features classes on organic chemistry, electrical engineering, and computer science.

4. Create a professional profile

In college, there are absolutely obscene amounts of networking opportunities available to you. At the University of Oregon, there’s a required class for Journalism majors called “Media Professions” in which every week professional journalists come in to talk about their profession and why they love it so much. Seems like a perfect time to pull out those business cards and LinkedIn connection requests, no?

Okay, while the business cards may seem a tad presumptuous, you see my point. After four or five years at your institution of choice, it would be pretty awful to walk away without any professional opportunities lined up for you. If you’re not sure where to start, you can learn how to build a LinkedIn profile here.

5. Finalize the details

With all this relaxing that you’re doing, it can be difficult to get yourself up out of your chosen area of comfort (warm bed, cozy La-Z-Boy®, what have you) to do “boring” paperwork, like transcripts, photo IDs, orientation registration, and travel plans. Whatever your feelings on the abundance of paperwork you have to file in order to pass through those gilded gates of post-secondary education, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. Your college should have a to-do list for incoming students or some kind of admitted freshman checklist to complete before the school year begins. While writing this article, I Googled “UO to do list freshman” and found a list at the top of the screen. It was that simple.

Usually these lists will include topics such as submitting a photo for your ID card, finalizing transcripts, and sending in copies of your immunization records. These things vary for every college.

Something else that’s important to consider, however, is figuring out your travel plans for move-in day if you’re planning to live on campus. Your college might email your student email account (which you should be checking daily) a specific time for you to move into your dorm. I live a few hours from the University of Oregon, for example, and I’m slotted to move in around 9:00 am. This means my family and I will have to get up before the sun shines to move into my dorm, but this opens up a whole new range of questions. When exactly should we leave? How bad will the traffic be? Will my siblings get carsick halfway through the trip, and what should we do then?

In short: be prepared for anything.

6. Make memories with friends and family

The summer after high school (your last one before college) is really special. Take advantage of these last few weeks at home and spend time with your family and friends. Making plans can be as simple as a night in with some board games or a road trip to the beach.

College is going to be so fun—but also expensive. Start searching for scholarships now on CollegeXpress!

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About Ryan Nguyen

Ryan Nguyen is a high school senior in the wonderfully wet Pacific Northwest. Perpetually cheerful, he plans to study journalism and international economics in the verdant forests of the University of Oregon. Scoducks! You can find him on his Twitter @ry_anguyen.


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