Emily Barylske is one of our student writers here at CollegeXpress. She takes common college questions, researches the answers, and shares stories from real life. Those helpful answers end up here in our Q&A With Emily column! If you have a question for Emily, feel free to leave it in a comment, send us an e-mail, or get in touch on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Question: What should I do over the summer to prepare for college this fall?
Great question! I’m going through this process right now. I hope my tips and advice help guide you as you prepare for starting college in the fall…
Send in your transcripts (if you haven’t already)
Make sure all of your transcripts from your high school have been sent in to your college. Your guidance counselor is the person you want to talk to for this, and they should know exactly what to do.
If you received dual credit from your high school and another college, make sure you contact that college and get them to send in your transcript as well. In this case you may need to make a trip to the college you received credit from, fill out a transcript request sheet, and then the college can send it out to the college you are attending in the fall. You can always call or e-mail the college to figure out their process.
Get a job or internship
Saving up some of your earnings from a summer job can make all the difference in having spending money in college. Getting a summer internship can also teach you a lot and build your résumé in amazing ways before you even enter college. For example, I know the CIA does a summer internship for graduating high school students who are interested in a career with them.
Talk with your future classmates and teammates
Getting to know the people you are going to be studying, playing, and even living with in college is a nice way to make friends at your college. It can also make you feel more at ease and connected to the school when you arrive on campus. You can do this through new student orientation, message boards, Facebook groups, and more.
Some colleges have groups made for your class already, and if there is one, get on it and post! I post every once in a while and ask questions so my classmates can get to know one another and I can get to know them. This is a new experience for us all, and knowing something about someone else can help each of us feel more comfortable with the new adjustments. And the one classmate of mine I have met so far is the sweetest guy; we both are majoring in Psychology and are involved with music and community services.
Also, if you already got your roommate’s contact info, try to talk over the phone or even make some summer plans, so you both can begin to get comfortable with one another. Also plan out who’s bringing what to your dorm!
Related: 5 Tips for New Roommates
Check your new college student portal/profile for assignments
Make sure you’re aware of any student portals/profiles you’ll be using as a college student. Check in on them over the summer too (I do this weekly) to see if your college has put up any assignments or events for you to attend.
I know it’s crazy to think about doing college work when you’re not even there yet, but many schools will give you summer assignments—including full books you may need to read. Some of these assignments go with being a new student and might even count as a grade or course credit. But it’s also helpful for familiarize yourself with the online tools and type of work you will have all the time as a college student. My college uses Blackboard, and I am sort of familiar with it, but my goal is to get more comfortable using it.
Buy the things you need for college
I have slowly been making purchases of items I will need in college, so I am not buying everything last minute (or making a big, expensive purchase all at once).
First, figure out what you actually need to get for your dorm. Then make a budget and plan out which purchases you will make with each paycheck. If you have a summer job, this can be a useful tool no matter what!) If your parents are helping pay for some of these purchases, a budget and plan can help them too, so they are aware of the costs and what you need. I suggest checking with your college directly, especially when it comes to what they allow in their dorms and what supplies you will need for college.
Good luck on preparing yourself for college this fall! I look forward to taking these big steps with you. J
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