The summer between high school and college is a special time. It is a time you can use to prepare for the adventure that lies ahead of you and it is a time to enjoy being at home before you move out. That being said, there are a lot of things you should consider doing or working on before you start college in the fall. The following list is composed of things I wish I had done, or that I am thankful to have had the opportunity to do:
- Celebrate! You have achieved something wonderful by graduating from high school, so you should certainly take some time to celebrate your accomplishments.
- Organize – You will need to organize your summer early on since most colleges utilize staggered orientations or pre-enrollment days to make the transition simpler, but that could mean several weekends will be spent traveling to the campus. Accidentally planning family vacation on one of these important days could cause you a headache later.
- Spend time where it matters – If you are moving far from home to attend college, then you should make time for your local friends, your family, and your favorite hang outs. One of the things I missed most wasn’t friends or family (thanks to technology and visits), but it was my favorite lunch spot that doesn’t open on weekends.
- Work! Getting a summer job, even if it is only for a few hours each week, is a great choice before entering college. It will provide you with work experience, which makes getting a job near campus much easier, and it will allow you to save up for some expenses that you may not have expected. Working now will also allow you to cut your hours during the semester, making it easier to focus on classes. If you work for a chain you may even be able to transfer to a store near your college campus.
- Create a Budget – Deciding ahead of time what you will be able to afford will keep you from having to troubleshoot or dip into savings while deciding what to buy for your dorm room, how to pay for books, and even just what you can afford week to week once the semester starts.
- Go Shopping! You’re going to need to buy some items for your college dorm room, as well as school supplies, books, and clothes. I suggest contacting your future roommate and attempting to share appliances (coffee maker, mini fridge, etc.) because this will save both space and money. My other tip is to buy the bare minimum for your room and put money aside to buy what you need once you figure out what you will and will not use. You might not need a bookshelf or futon once you get settled in, but you may also discover that, even in a small space, you really need an extra phone charger on the other side of the room.
- Build a Wardrobe – I know I just said you should go shopping, but this deserves its own bullet point. College will offer you many opportunities to network, present research, and attend a variety of functions. So, you need to start preparing a professional wardrobe now so that you will have it when opportunity knocks. It is also important to filter your closet. Leave behind anything that reminds you too much of high school and pack items that make you feel grown up.
Summer should be fun! But, this is a great time for you to prepare and set yourself up for success. Look over your university website for more tips and for special events. This will help you get organized and allow you to plan for any important events or stipulations about what you should or should not bring to campus.