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High School

50 Things to Do the Summer Before You Go to College

Now that you’ve danced the night away at prom and graduated high school, the college countdown is officially a go. Though you may be itching to pack up your bags and start a new life at your new school, there’s another thing you’ve been looking forward to – the summer. While hitting the beach and finding a summer romance might still be a top priority, this summer will be different. Once this summer is over, you’ll be a collegiette. Crazy, huh? Between getting ready to head off to your future alma mater and having a summer you’ll never forget, expect to be pretty busy! Lucky for you, we’re giving you a go-to guide for your final pre-collegiette tasks.

1. Clean out your closet
Believe it or not, your high school wardrobe should be different from your collegiette clothing. Besides the need for polished, internship-approved clothes and fun, going-out apparel, you’re itching to get rid of the terrycloth mini that was so freshman year. When’s a better time than before you head to college? Grab some of your girlfriends and reenact the closet raid scene from Sex and the City: The Movie (sans the bubbly, of course)! You and your super stylish panel can decide which clothes you should keep, store, and toss

So you picked out the clothes you want to get rid of, now what? Host a clothing sale so you can say goodbye to your high school threads and make money to fuel your new closet.

The summer before I started college, I wanted to reinvent my style. My mom and I came up with this fabulous clothing sale idea and it was a success! I invited a bunch of my friends, hung a ton of posters around town, and hosted a tag sale at my house. Not only did I make a decent amount of money, but also it felt great to get rid of things I barely wore anymore. As for the products that didn’t sell, I donated them to Good Will as well as less fortunate families.

Just remember that a little publicity goes a long, long way. You can’t imagine how many people will come to your sale if they see a few signs around your neighborhood. If you live in a bustling metropolis, create a Facebook event and invite the most stylish girls you know!

2. Get organized
A clean and tidy space is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also does wonders for your sanity! But what should you organize? Everything! If you begin keeping your room, closet, and computer organized early in the summer, you’ll have your new lifestyle down pat by the time you head to college. Plus, you can enjoy the perks of spic-and-span surroundings. Start this organization brigade by taking a trip to The Container Store or labeling all your emails.

3. Create your resume
Let’s be honest – when would you have needed a resume? If the Common Application didn’t require it, what was the point? Between applying for E-Board positions to creating an account at your college’s career services, every collegiette needs a resume. But don’t stress out just yet- creating a resume is much easier than you’d think! If you’re an eager beaver this summer, do some community service or help out around your dad’s office to build your resume.

4. Flirt with your high school crush
So remember that boy you’ve (not so) secretly loved since sophomore year? You know, the one you were too afraid to talk to? Well pre-collegiettes, there’s no way you can head off to college without making him notice you. Let’s put it this way: if you can’t flirt with this guy who you may never see again (unless things really heat up between the two of you – fingers crossed), how will you chat up a college boy? Whether you like a shirtless picture of him on Facebook or strike up a conversation in person, your confidence level will catapult and you’ll be ready to take on the college dating scene. Trust us, you’ll regret it if you don’t!

5. Become a social (media) butterfly
You won’t believe how many people are tweeting, tumbling, pinning, and Four Square-ing at college! Be ahead of the trend by setting up all your social media accounts now. Becoming a social media guru is a great way to connect with your new college friends as well as your campus.

6. Frequent your favorite local restaurants
There will come a time when you’re at your school’s gym and suddenly start to crave a sandwich from your town’s 24-hour deli. (Just me? Awkward.) Before you say good-bye to your preferred entrees and appetizers and hello to questionable dining hall food, head over to your favorite restaurants. Kill two birds with one tasty stone by getting a group of friends to attend. “Not only did it allow us to get in that last salad from our favorite Greek restaurant, but it gave us more time to spend with each other,” says Hannah Mezan, a junior at Tulane University. After all, doesn’t everyone love bonding over a scrumptious meal?

7. Start reading the news everyday
While you could’ve gone a day or two without reading the news as a pre-collegiette, that’s unacceptable in college. This summer, infuse reading the news into your daily routine. Not only will teachers bring up current events in class, but also your friends will be so impressed with your ability to cite The New York Times. Subscribe to an online news site, like The Daily Beast, sign up for the New York Times’ daily headlines email, read the paper when you’re on the elliptical, or check out HC’s news blog. If you’re really into pop culture and the latest in the fashion industry, don’t forget to read Pop Campus and Catwalk to Campus every day (in addition to the hard-hitting news, too)!

8. Spend time with your parents
This just in: hanging out with your parents is cool again. Gone are the days when your dad dropped you off a block and a half away from school. Believe us, you’re going to miss your parents when you don’t see them everyday. Cherish the time you have left with your parents this summer by running errands with them or hitting the movies. 

9. Cook for your family
Since we’re talking about giving your parents the attention they deserve, why not cook for them? Not only are you in charge of the menu, but it’s also a nice way to thank your parents for all their help. Don’t worry collegiettes, you don’t have to be the next Rachael Ray to partake in this one. “If you’re not a good cook, make it fun and research some recipes on Pinterest,” says Bethany Christie, a junior at Lafayette College. Cooking a family meal is also a great way to indulge in a home-cooked dinner. When your dining hall isn’t serving your favorite veggie burger, you’ll be wishing that you were back in the kitchen.

10. Read some classic books
Maybe you read Lord of the Flies and Catcher in the Rye in high school, but do you really remember those novels? Admit it: if you were in a time crunch, you would just look at the SparkNotes summaries. Since you’re not swamped with homework this summer, re-read the books from high school or even pursue a classic that you’ve never read. Now that you know what really happened in The Great Gatsby, you won’t be completely lost when you’re in your literature class or flirting with that cute English major!

11. Watch some classic movies
On that note, watch a couple of iconic movies this summer. But what movies should you watch? From Fight Club to Casablanca, the opportunities are endless—there are plenty of “movies you need to watch before you die” lists on the web! By watching these famous movies, you’ll save yourself from the “I can’t believe you haven’t seen this” comments.

12. Connect with your roomie
Though you may want to leave the heart-to-hearts until you’re moved in, take the summer to get to know your future roomie. Whether you want a face-to-face encounter or you’re more comfortable with texting, make sure to get the conversation rolling! The first few days will be less awkward if you know about her family and that she’s obsessed with Drake!

13. Make an appointment with your doctor
Between getting that last Gardasil shot and the vaccines you need before school, you must see your doctor before heading to college. After all, don’t you want to make sure that you’re the healthiest you can be? Also take this time to ask your RD tons of questions:

  • What’s your doctor’s phone number?
  • Where should you refill your prescriptions at school?
  • When should you make your next appointment?
  • If you want to start birth control before you head to school, when should you start?
  • Who should you contact if you need a doctor at school?

Take a notepad with you to jot down answers so you won’t forget any important details from your appointment.

14. Get familiar with your college town
Although you have four glorious years to know the ins and outs of your college town, do some research now. Whether you memorize your new home’s public transportation system or write down a list of yummy restaurants, knowing the basics will prevent a typical clueless freshman moment.

15. Clean up your Facebook page
Remember when you cleaned up your Facebook for the application process? It’s time to go back and edit your timeline again. Let’s be honest, everyone Facebook stalks his or her newest friend. Make sure your page reflects you. Start by “unliking” that TV show you stopped watching and untagging those awkward and unflattering pictures. You never know who you next friend will be!

16. Go on a road trip with your friends
Though goodbyes can be rough, make the most out of the remaining months by going on a road trip with your friends. “My friends and I decided to take a camping trip a few weeks before we all went to college,” says Lauren Macmullen, a junior at Boston University. “We still tell the stories of that first camping trip, and it was such an amazing time for our friendships that we have made it a tradition and go every year, coming back each time with hilarious and exciting stories!” Whether you all pack into your parents’ minivan or splurge on an airplane ticket, the memories you create will bring all of you much closer and can even make you more motivated to keep in touch in college.

17. Set up a LinkedIn account
For those of you who don’t know what LinkedIn is, let me break it down for you: LinkedIn is like a professional Facebook. Tempted? Why not get one! Connect with old classmates, former teachers, and even your parents’ friends. Not only will this come in handy when you’re looking for internships and jobs at school, it’s also quite addicting!

18. Reevaluate your TV show choices
They’ve been there for us through the thick and thin; however, it’s time to let some of them go. No, I’m not talking about your slew of boyfriends—I’m talking about your TV shows. Unlike your pre-collegiette years, you won’t be spending your downtime catching up on the latest Finchel drama on Glee. Between your busy schedule and your changing interests, watching all your high school programs is no longer a top priority. Plus, you may not have a TV in your room (that’s a saga all in its own). Now that most shows have had their season finales, prioritize your favorites. If you’re not itching for a season premiere, drop it. Don’t worry, collegiettes, you can always rekindle the flame next summer.

19. Register for classes
Can you believe you’re already registering for classes? Now that you’re in college, you have so many more class options. Though it may seem overwhelming, make sure to take a look at your Gen Ed requirements. With those must-have credits in mind, choosing classes will be a million times easier!

20. Buy your textbooks
Classes? Check. Now it’s time to purchase those textbooks. Though they’re sold at your campus bookstore, they may not always be the cheapest. Search around the web for the best deals: Amazon, TextbooksRUs, Chegg, etc. Buy purchasing your textbooks now, you’ll avoid all the “out-of-stock” emails and crazy lines.

21. Get a haircut
If you’re looking to turn over a new leaf when you head to college, what’s a better way than with a new cut and style? Flip through your favorite magazine and consult with your hairstylist. Tons of websites even have virtual makeovers so you can test a bunch of hairdos without the permanent consequences. Once you have a new ‘do, you’re one step closer to turning into a new you!

22. Learn how to (quickly) get ready in the morning
Whether you’ve slept in for an extra half hour or are racing to make that day-to-night, transition, you’ll quickly learn that collegiettes are always on the go! Take this summer to learn quick and easy makeup routines. Your life will be a lot less stressful once you’ve mastered an efficient process.

23. Take a self-defense class
We don’t blame you if you’re a little nervous to go to college. From the scary number of sexual assault instances to the occasional missing person case, you may feel as if college is a dangerous place. Ease your mind by taking a self-defense class with your girlfriends. It’s a great skill to have and you can bond with your friends. While this doesn’t give you the excuse to walk in a sketchy part of town all by yourself, you can be a little more confident. Look online to see if any local martial arts studios or police stations are holding classes.

24. Have a hometown pride day
They say that home is where the heart is, and that definitely doesn’t change when you’re a collegiette. Even though you may be sick and tired of your native ground now, take a day to appreciate it for what it’s worth. “Personally, my hometown love has significantly increased since going away to college,” says Maddy Foley, a senior at Kenyon College and HC Contributing Writer. “My friends and I used to complain all the time about being from Cleveland, but now I strut my Cleveland-themed regalia around campus with pride.” Head to your favorite café and have that mocha frappe that you secretly can’t live without. Or take a walk in your town’s park. You know, the one you used to play on all the time when you were in kindergarten. Though you’ll still be homesick, at least you can remember your fun dedication day.

25. Get inspired
It may sound clichéd, but college is truly the ultimate time to find out who you want to be. Though you can’t reinvent yourself overnight, make a Pinterest board for the type of woman you want to become. From the heart-filled quotes about Giuliana Rancic’s breast cancer battle or pictures of Hilary Clinton shaking President Obama’s hand, this board will serve as your motivation to become the best you that you can possibly be. While you can get inspiration from your favorite role models, remember to stay true to yourself. Once you have an idea of what kind of person you want to be, making that transition in college will be a little bit easier.

26. Collect your friends’ college addresses
Take a hint from Carly Rae Jepsen, but give out your address instead of your number! Though novel-length text messages and Skype are great ways to stay in contact, nothing beats a handwritten letter from your friends and family. Whether you’re sending a birthday package or a cute, “just because” note, you’ll definitely put a smile on the recipient’s face.

27. Change your address
Since we’re already talking about the postal services, make sure to change your address for your magazine subscriptions and other important letters. But where to begin? Like we’d leave you hanging:

  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Bank statements
  • Various bills
  • The address on your resume

If you don’t change these now, it’ll be a big bummer when the latest Cosmo is sitting at your house instead of in your dorm room.

28. Delete old songs from your iTunes
Stop me if the following situation doesn’t make you cringe: Your iPod is on shuffle while you and your new friends are getting ready for a night on the town. And then it happens. The mix of Top 40 hits and hipster beats comes to a screeching halt as an incredibly embarrassing — and random — song starts blaring through your speakers. Like The Simple Life theme song (accompanied by classic Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie one-liners). (Or am I the only one who had that song on my iPod?) Do yourself a favor and clean out your iTunes. You’ll thank us later. Plus it’ll give you more space for new tunes you actually like.

29. Can you go the distance?
While you’re head over heels for your high school boyfriend, you’re starting to get worried about long distance. After hearing so many horror stories, you’re starting to freak out. Though every relationship varies, take this summer to weigh the pros and cons and determine whether your relationship can withstand the trials and tribulations of infrequent visits and candle-lit Skype dates.

30. Shop for your dorm room
Remember how much fun school supply shopping was? Although the days of crazy Staples sprees (list included) are officially over, you have a new shopping experience to obsess over: dorm room decorations. Space your purchases out by hitting a few stores each month. But where to start? We love Target, Dormify, west elm, Bed Bath & Beyond, and The Container Store. Take your time and make sure that all your purchases match each other. By the time you head to school, you’ll be an interior designing pro!

31. Start a journal
They say that these next four years will be the best of your life so why not document them in a journal? By starting when you’re still a pre-collegiette, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve grown since those high school days.

32. Plan a few mental health days
Though the summer is the time to spend every waking moment living it up, you need to schedule a few days to yourself. When you get to college, you’ll be so busy making friends and acing your classes, you’ll barely have any alone time. Take a couple days to read a book or watch Game of Thrones. You’ll feel rested and recharged when you do have those “I don’t have time to breathe”-type of days.

33. Apply for a credit and/or debit card
As a collegiette, you can no longer nag your parents for that twenty in their back pocket. Obviously, it’s time to enter the world of credit and debit cards. Before you head to college, go to your bank and sign up for your new, plastic BFFs. Some banks, like Bank of America, have accounts designed specifically for college students. Aren’t they sweet? Don’t forget to ask a million questions now. What’s your credit card limit? How can you transfer funds to different accounts? How will you know when your account is running low? You don’t want a financial disaster!

34. Discuss a budget with your family
Once you have your credit and debit cards, figure out how you should manage your money. Should you set a weekly or monthly budget? Should you try to find a part-time job on campus? How will you look for the best deals? These are things you should definitely think about before you head to school. If you’re fortunate enough to have your parents give you a budget, discuss your spending restrictions before buying those wedges online after a night of studying.

35. Find a summer job
Between bikini shopping this summer and saving up for school, you shouldn’t be surprised to experience a dip in your available funds. Make some money this summer and get a job. Whether you’ve picked up a dog walking gig or you’re now a lifeguard, you’ll be thrilled every time you get your paycheck. Let’s not forget that a summer job will look fabulous on your resume.

36. Memorize your Social Security Number
You never know when you’re going to need it!

37. Go to orientation
Some orientations are during the summer while others are right before school starts. Though awkward ice-breakers and lectures about your campus’s police department sounds less-than-thrilling, it’s definitely worth your time (not to mention it’s mandatory). After getting the low-down about your campus, you’ll feel like a real collegiette.

38. Learn how to do laundry
If you don’t know how to do your laundry, start learning pronto. You don’t want a horrific shrinkage incident at school (that’s just embarrassing)! Ask your parents to teach you and don’t forget to pack a ton of quarters with you to college. Unfortunately, doing laundry at school isn’t as convenient as doing it at home. For starters, your laundry room may not be in your dorm. Plus, you have to pay every time you wash and dry your clothes. To prevent a rude awakening, research your college’s laundry policy before your first load!

39. Broaden your eating horizons
Hate to be the bearer of bad news to all you picky eaters, but dining halls typically have limited options. Instead of resorting to a bowl of cereal every night, try some exotic foods this summer. From a set of super spicy buffalo wings to that Japanese dish you can barely pronounce, taking some eatery risks will make you more willing to try new food in the dining hall.

40. Create a professional email account
Sure, you have your school email; however, a lot of collegiettes have a professional email as well. Gone are the days when [email protected][insert web carrier here] was acceptable. Scratch that – was it ever acceptable? Now that you’re a mature college girl, create an email address that incorporates your first and last name. Believe it or not, there are people with the same name as you (the nerve). You may have to add numbers if these “name thieves” created a professional email before you—but only two numbers! Anymore and your email is officially confusing and unprofessional. If you want to go the extra mile, you can forward all your school emails to this new and improved address. This feat is not only for the tech savvy- most schools’ websites will tell you how to do this. If you’re looking for a collegiette-approved email carrier, Gmail is easy to use and you can have super cute backgrounds.

41. Sign up for frequent flier miles
Although being hours away from home isn’t very convenient, make the most of your distance by signing up for a frequent flier program. Can we say free airfare or first class treatment? Research your go-to airlines and see if you can set up a frequent flier account. What if your school isn’t far enough for a plane ride? Create an account with a bus or train company and you’ll usually receive emails about upcoming discounts.

42. Learn the collegiette vernacular
It should be no surprise that collegiettes speak a completely different language. Like, what is a DFMO and can you buy it at your campus bookstore? If you learn this foreign language now, you’ll be fluent in collegiette before you even set foot on campus.

43. Pamper yourself
Give yourself the TLC you deserve before you enter the stressful world of college. Massages, facials, and a mani-pedi duo? Sounds divine to us! Make a girl’s day out of it and go with your mom or sister.

44. Be fearless
A girl’s last pre-collegiette summer means one thing — time to be fearless. You’ve always heard about crazy, carefree summers, so why not have one of your own? Take a trapeze class or give that cute fro-yo cashier your number. This dash of spontaneity will inspire you to take more risks in college.

45. Research your school’s extracurriculars
So many clubs to join, so little time! Whether you want to join a club that pertains to your major or something completely random, peruse the variety of extracurriculars on your school’s website. When you finally set foot on campus, you won’t be too overwhelmed with all the flyers and new member meetings.

46. To go Greek or not to go Greek?
You’ve watched every season of Greek, but are you destined to be a sorority sister? Each school has their own Greek life reputation — it’s the social scene at some schools but kind of lame at others. Do your own research about your school or weigh the pros and cons. That way, you can attend your dream sorority’s events at the beginning of the year if Greek life is for you!

47. Clear the air with your high school frenemy

Whether the two of you were fighting over grades, boys, or who rocked that BCBG dress better to prom (don’t worry, we know you did), you probably have that one girl at school who always pushed your buttons. Unless you secretly starred in The Hills (if so, I would like your autograph), you probably don’t like having enemies. Be the bigger person and wave your white flag! Explain that you don’t want any bad blood and would love to be on good terms. Though the two of you definitely don’t have to make BFF bracelets, you’ll feel a million times better once you have a clean slate.

48. Subscribe to Her Campus’s “Study Breaks”
Her Campus is the collegiette’s ultimate guide to life—how could you resist receiving exclusive deals and must-read articles in your inbox?

49. Create a photo collage with your BFFs
What is a dorm room without a plethora of photos and posters? Before you and your BFFs part ways, have a collage-making party. “It makes great wall art for your dorm or apartment and is a great way to remember all the memories you’ve had,” says Erica Avesian, a senior at the University of Michigan and HC Contributing Writer. Since you and your friends took a ton of pictures this summer, you have a fresh group of photos to choose from. With a bunch of photos hanging up in your room, it’s like your home friends are there with you!

50. Re-read your yearbook messages
Instead of the typical “HAGS” message, many of your classmates took the time to write heart-filled and flattering notes in your yearbook. Before you head to college, whip out your senior yearbook and give it a read through. All the compliments will give you a boost of confidence, which is just what any new collegiette needs!

But above all things, you must have fun this summer and appreciate every experience and opportunity. “Don’t take any moment for granted,” says Bethany Christie, a junior at Lafayette College. “Yes, you want to live up your senior summer and it’s so much fun. But take in your family, your house, and don’t sweat the small stuff.” Now that you’ve seen the tips, it’s about time you start making this summer the best one yet!

Kelsey is a senior at Boston University, studying Magazine Journalism  in the College of Communication. As a magazine junkie and fashion fanatic, she loves being a part of the Her Campus team! At BU, Kelsey is president of Ed2010 at Boston University.  She has interned for Time Out New York, Lucky, Anthropologie, and Marie Claire. Kelsey also has a fashion blog, The Trendologist, where she covers the latest trends, fashion shows, and red carpet reports. When she isn't busy, Kelsey loves hanging out with her friends and family, shopping, reading style blogs, going for a nice jog, listening to music, creating baked goods in the kitchen, watching movies, and eating tons of frozen yogurt and sushi! After graduation, Kelsey hopes to work as an editor for a fashion magazine. Follow Kelsey on Twitter and Instagram at @kmulvs and don't  forget to check out her "Catwalk to Campus" blog posts!
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