Your college debut is so close, you can almost taste the dining hall food. After a year of senioritis and Common App-induced stress, you’re finally on your way to the big, bad world of your alma mater . But before you ditch your pre-collegiette title for good, there are a couple things you need to do to prepare. Though your summer can be fun and carefree, you can’t get ready for college in a week! Thankfully, we’re here to give you a month-by-month guide to prepping for freshman year so you won't be cramming in August. What would you do without us?
Purchase Some College Swag
Now that you’ve officially made your decision, when could be a better time to purchase some college apparel? Nothing says school spirit more than a t-shirt, sweatshirt, sweatpants, baseball hat, car decal, and anything else you can get your hands on! Not only does purchasing your college goodies now satisfy your sudden burst of school pride, you’ll also be beating the crowds come fall!
Join Your Class’s Facebook Page
After you purchased the quintessential college sweatshirt, it’s time to immerse yourself in the college community. One of your future classmates was so eager, he or she probably created a “Class of 2017” Facebook group by now. Show off your enthusiasm by joining the group. After all, aren’t you the least bit curious to see who else is going to your school? Feeling extra bold? Post your name, hometown, and major on the page. You never know, maybe a cute guy (who’s also an Art History major) will like your post. Don’t forget to take a look at our pre-collegiette Facebook guidelines before sending that request to Mr. Art History!
Create a Collegiette Budget
Even though you might have secretly memorized your parents’ credit card numbers, it’s time to start using your own money. For a lot of you, this will be your first time managing your own money. Sounds miserable, right? From the stressed-induced online shopping sprees to the necessary purchases at your convenience store, everything adds up! To avoid traumatic bank statements, establish a money plan before all the spending madness begins! So how do you do it? Let’s start with the bank account. If you don’t have one, head over to your bank and set one up ASAP. Most banks even have collegiette-friendly plans – how thoughtful! Look at your account, factor in the money you’ll make from your summer job and the ever-so-helpful graduation gifts, and think about how much money you want to have at the end of the semester. Whether you give yourself a monthly budget or decide to pick up a part-time job at school, you’ll feel a little bit better about buying that sequined tanktop! Take this money plan a step further by logging everything you spend and earn. By the time you head off to college, you’ll be extra mindful about your money.
Adopt Healthy Habits
It’s okay to be afraid of the "Freshman 15" – nobody wants to be a victim! Instead of succumbing to the world of too many voyages to your local pizzeria and too few trips to the gym, adopt healthy habits before you even step on campus. Some changes are as easy as drinking water instead of soda or walking your dog for an extra ten minutes. As you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you might start to think twice about ordering pizza for the third night in a row.
Sign Up for a Pre-Orientation Program
Though every school is different, most of them have pre-orientation programs. Um, translation? Students who sign up for a pre-orientation program move in a couple days early and partake in some new student bonding activities, like hiking or community service. Seize this opportunity, pre-collegiettes! It’s a great way to meet new people and some collegiettes regret not signing up for one. "I didn’t go on one and felt kind of left out that some kids were already friends and I knew no one," says Nicole Echeverria, a freshman at Wake Forest University. What if all the pre-orientation groups are full? Remain calm! We promise you there are other ways to make friends in college; however, pre-orientation programs just give you a head start! In lieu of pre-orientation, some schools have orientation programs during the summer, so don’t forget to sign up for those (if you haven’t already)!
Meet Your Roommate
Whether you picked each other or it’s completely random, you should know who your roommate is by now. After you have yourself a nice Facebook stalk, analyze her Twitter feed, and run a casual Google search, message your new roomie and start planning who will bring what to school. Between figuring out who’ll buy the microwave and coordinating bedspreads, get to know your future roomie by asking her about her family, major, and hobbies. If you live close enough to your future roomie, suggest grabbing a cup of coffee before the year starts!
Start Shopping for Your Dorm
Be honest: you’ve been flipping through PBteen and mentally decorating your dorm room since you were sixteen. Now it’s time to turn your interior design dreams into a reality. But why now? Doesn’t it seem a little too early to start shopping for your dorm? Not necessarily! "Don’t wait until August to buy your dorm stuff," says Laura Baugh, a junior and HC Campus Correspondent at Virginia Tech. "All the good things will be picked over!" Also, you might forget something as simple as a laundry hamper if you wait until the last minute. If you start the search now, you’ll have tons of time to find the perfect pieces for your dream dorm. Since you’ve already started to talk to your roomie about decorations, you'll know if you're planning on a specific theme or color scheme. So what exactly should you buy? Though every collegiette’s shopping list is different, we’ve taken the liberty of starting your shopping list:
- Mattress pad
- Quilt or duvet cover
- Desk lamp
- Handheld vacuum
- Drawer organizer
- Extension chord
- Cereal bowls
- Storage Containers
- Pictures of your friends and family
- Shower caddy
- Alarm clock
- Garbage can
- Laundry hamper
With a variety of stores to visit (Urban Outfitters, the Container Store, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target… you get the picture, right?), it’s important to remember that decorating a dorm is a marathon, not a sprint.
Figure Out Your AP Credits
Remember those AP exams you took in May? You know, the ones that briefly halted your senioritis? By now, you should’ve received your scores (hopefully, all that studying paid off). Before you head off to college, make sure you’ve sent all your AP scores to your school. Don’t forget to check your college’s website or call individual departments for more information about AP scores. You never know, scoring a 5 on that AP Stats exam may even exempt you from your math requirement!
Sign Up for Classes
While every school has a different registration process, some schools make you sign up for classes in the summer. With a ton of different classes to choose from, your first time picking classes may be a little overwhelming. Before you impulsively decide to start a new language or overload in classes, do your research. Whether it’s reading the course descriptions, taking a look at your Gen Ed requirements, or exploring the wonders of RateMyProfessors.com, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for when registration finally rolls around.
Purchase Your Textbooks
Now that you know what classes you’re taking, it’s time to start thinking about textbooks. Avoid the chaotic lines in September and purchase your books before you head to school. Usually your professors will email you a list of required textbooks or you can search for your class on the bookstore’s website. Just remember that your college doesn’t always offer the cheapest options. With websites like Chegg, it’s important to shop around before making your final purchase!
Stop rolling your eyes, pre-collegiettes: this one’s important! It’s a known fact that some of you will be drinking alcohol when you get to college. While most colleges have alcohol education initiatives, it’s up to you to read up about the dangers of booze if your school doesn’t have an awareness program. Not only is drinking illegal if you’re not 21, it’s also dangerous if you don’t drink safely! Between the newfound freedom and being viewed as "fresh meat," too many sips from the keg can have terrible consequences: waking up to a horrible hangover, blacking out and making a fool out of yourself, alcohol poisoning, date rape, or even worse. How about you skip the drama and educate yourself? Sounds good to us!
Participate in a Meet-Up
It might sound a little blind date-esque, but meet-ups are a great way to meet some future classmates. You’ll be so happy to know a few familiar faces in the fall. Chances are that somebody’s already posted about a meet-up on your class’s Facebook page. What are you supposed to do if none of them are close to your hometown? Take the initiative and try to organize one. This outgoing, "can-do" attitude will be handy in college. If you’re not crazy about randomly meeting a group of strangers on your own (we don’t blame you), bring your best friend from home along! Not only are you rocking the "buddy system," you’ll be more comfortable and outgoing with your BFF by your side. Just don’t forget to make the effort to get to know everyone at the meet-up. After all, it’s a collegiette’s duty to be nice, fun, and sociable!
Memorize the College Lingo
"OMG, you had a DMFO at the ABC Party? Did you have too much Jungle Juice?" Sometimes, it’s as if college students are speaking an entirely different language. Though this type of vernacular is second nature to us collegiettes, you’re probably really confused right now. Do yourself a favor and learn these terms before you become a collegiette. You’ll thank us when you’ve been spared from a potentially awkward situation.
Learn How to Do Laundry
As a pre-collegiette, many of you have the luxury of not doing your own laundry. Without a care in the world, your clean clothes would magically appear folded on your bed. Oh how that will change! To prevent a shrunken shirt episode, learn the art of the washer and dryer. Ask your parents to teach you (believe us, they’ll be thrilled) or do some research online, put on some Justin Timberlake, and have a laundry party with your girlfriends! Before you head to college, don’t forget to read up on your college’s laundry policy. Is there a machine in your dorm? Will you need to bring quarters or can you put laundry money on your school I.D. card? Doing your research ahead of time will prevent those rookie mistakes. Once you learn, start doing your own laundry. After all, practice makes perfect!
Research the Clubs You Want to Join
Although you might have chosen your alma mater for its incredible academic reputation and stellar social scene, you can’t forget about its extracurricular activities. Before you head off to school, take the time to research your school’s clubs. Whether you’re looking to join clubs that are relevant to your major or want to try something completely new, scope out extracurriculars on your college’s website. "Start to figure out what you want your life in school to be like," says Jessica Salerno, a junior at Ohio University and HC Contributing Writer. Not only are clubs a great way to pursue your hobbies, they’re also a great way to make new friends. Though many colleges have extracurricular expos before classes begin, some have, oh, hundreds of clubs to choose from. If you're considering Greek Life, you should also take this time to see what sororities your school has to offer. By doing your research now, you won’t be too overwhelmed by all the options.
Figure Out How You’ll Keep in Touch with Your Home Friends
Even though you’re so excited to go to college, you’re probably dreading saying goodbye to your friends from home. Not to freak you out, but some of the closest friendships are severed when you don’t keep in touch. A couple weeks before the tear-filled farewells begin, make a plan with your friends. Will you Skype every two weeks? Rely on the power of text message? Or will a quick phone call while to and from classes suffice? If you have the luxury of attending a school that’s close to your best friend’s, how often will you see each other? It may sound dramatic, but how you answer these questions determines your social life’s future. In four years, you’ll have to go through the same thing with your collegiette BFFs. Before Megan Schreier, a sophomore at American University, left for college, she and one of her friends decided to kick it old school and write each other letters. "We decided to call them ‘Dear John’ letters, like the movie, and number them too," says Megan. "It is really hard to coordinate phone calls and Skype sessions, but writing really long letters made it feel like I was as involved in my friend’s life as I was in high school." Just remember that between classes and trying to make friends, they’re just as busy as you are! Instead of getting mad if they don’t text back right away or ditch your Skype date, just ask them when would be a better time to talk. Putting the conscious effort into hearing about your friends’ collegiette lives will help the long-distance friendship.
So what’s next? The time has come: after months and months of prepping for college, you’re officially a collegiette! Although the daily life of a collegiette is unpredictable, and a little overwhelming at times, all the months of pre-collegiette prep will help you have a seamless transition.