So You've Committed to College... Now What?

So you’ve committed to a college… now what?

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Celebrate!

You’ve worked so hard after years of learning and studying, painstaking standardized tests and months of filling out applications. Finally, all of that hard work has paid off! You have the golden ticket, you are in!  It is now time to congratulate yourself. You’ve earned it! Recognize how big of an accomplishment this is and bask in your glory.  Inform the other schools you were accepted to While it's super exciting that you’ve committed to a college, you can’t forget to follow up with the other colleges you applied to and let them know you will not be attending there. There are plenty of qualified students on the waitlist for spots at the school or scholarships. Once you withdraw your application, your spot can be offered to someone else. This step is typically super easy and mainly consists of an online form. 

Join your graduating class Facebook Page

While this step is not mandatory to attend college, it is still incredibly helpful in bridging the transition from home. On the Facebook page, often there will be people introducing themselves with a few pictures and a bio. There may also be upperclassmen posting flyers or messages with information about their clubs or events happening within the first couple weeks of school. When joining the Facebook page you don’t need to feel any pressure to make your own post. I didn’t post anything myself prior to arriving in September and still was glad I joined the page. It will give you a sense of how many other people are from your home state, will be within the department of your major or have similar interests to you. You can utilize this page to reach out to other freshman and start conversations to get to know them before meeting in person on campus. It’s nice to have a familiar face and make moving to college a little easier. 

Reach out to your roommate

Whether this person will become your best friend or just someone you sleep next to every night, you are going to have to interact with them in some capacity every day. Since this is the case, it’s best to start off on a good foot. You can start this foundation over the summer so you can hit the ground running when both of you arrive on campus. You don’t need to talk every day or anything crazy, but it’s nice to exchange phone numbers, Snapchats and maybe follow each other on social media. It’s also is probably a good idea to start a conversation about the furniture for your room. You may want to coordinate your color schemes, but even if that’s not your thing, you at least don’t want to both show up with a fridge or tv. This is especially true if you will be living with a common area or a shared bathroom because you will want to discuss who will be bringing what furniture or cleaning supplies. 

Start shopping for bedding and furniture

While obviously, you will want to be bringing your favorite things to remind you of home, situating yourself in the small dorm rooms can be quite different from the set up of your bedroom. There are plenty of particular gadgets and furniture pieces that help. There are also many items that are exclusively necessary for living at college. I don’t know anyone that just has a Twin XL bedding set (necessary to fit the dorm room mattresses) lying around. Most department stores have college essential sections during the summer months but you may want to do a little research to get some inspiration on how you want to make your home away from home feel that way!

Make a plan on how you are going to move all of your stuff to your school

Once you have everything you need to live in your new dorm room, you will realize it’s a lot of stuff. Just like moving anywhere, it’s not exactly easy, especially if your college is very far from your home. It’s a good idea to plan early on how you intend to get your stuff to your school. If your school is more than a comfortable drive away, it may be in your favor to order your new furniture online at a location near your school, and pick it up when you arrive there. That way you will have a lot less than you need to take with you, and taking a flight will be a lot easier. 

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Take placement tests

Some colleges send out placement tests that need to be completed over the summer. Make sure that you figure out if this applies to you and your university. If this is the case it is important for you to get these done so you can be placed into a level allowing you to make your class schedule.

Doctors appointments, passport renewal, etc.

Most schools require you to send a physical from within a year. Some of you may be studying abroad within your first year of school. Regardless, once you are at college you will be a busy gal and won’t have as much time as you would like and will be grateful that you took care of these things beforehand.

Attend Orientation

Often schools offer orientation at some point over the summer prior to move-in. Whether you are required to go or not, this can be one of the most important things you can do in order to feel prepared for your first semester. Orientation gives you the chance to get acclimated to the campus on another level. Some orientation is overnight which definitely gives you a peek into what living in dorms will be like. (Make sure to check if you need to bring your own bedding!) This also is the easiest way to meet many people and start making friends! Be sure to remember names and exchange numbers so you can keep in contact and touch base when you are back on campus. You also may have a chance to meet some administration and professors. It is also likely that you will make your schedule, take your id photo and other necessary things for the semester ahead.

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Order your textbooks?

Once you have your class schedule, you may have a list of textbooks you are asked to buy. It is really up to you whether or not you want to buy the textbooks before classes begin. I personally didn’t want to be unprepared by not having my books. I imagined ridiculous things such as not being able to find the bookstore or all of my time being consumed with welcome week festivities that I wouldn’t be able to go buy them. I promise you neither of these things will happen. My first semester, probably half of my books I didn’t use or barely touched and had bought them all new. Rookie mistake. It’s probably a good idea to wait until after the first week of classes and your professors will tell you if they expect you to have the textbooks, they definitely won’t expect you to have it the first day (unless they blatantly express otherwise). But if you are like me and need to be prepared before classes begin, please at least buy your textbooks used, or rent them.

Enjoy your summer and make memories that will last

The summer between high school and college is a special time that you will never be able to experience again. Besides a potential summer job and the steps listed above, you have practically no responsibilities to worry about. This is going to be the last time this is the case for a long time. Cherish this. Live in the moment. Be silly.

Try not to focus too hard on the future. Obviously, with a change as big as moving away to college, it's hard not to be thinking about your excitement constantly. But try not to let this excitement get in the way of making the most of the time you still have at home. Spend as much time with your friends and family as you can, and make sure you show them how much you care about them. Obviously, you will be able to call and text them, but the spans of time between when you can be home will feel so much longer than seeing them almost every day. Take the time to do the things that you love, and take lots of pictures because this is a time of your life that you will want to remember forever.

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