5 Important Steps to Take the Summer Before College
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By: Tamiera Vandegrift, Uloop
Your student has finally graduated from high school and is getting ready to tackle the real world! Congratulations on getting them through these four dastardly years and helping them get accepted to the college of their dreams!
Before your student cools their heels and enjoys their summer vacation, there are a few things they should do. As many people have probably already warned you, college is not easy. It is expensive, time-consuming, and an overall challenge.
However, your student will survive no matter what the costs. In order to get a good start to their college education, students need to use the summer to get prepared and geared up for the best four years of their life.
Read on to learn the steps and tricks to prepare for college during summer vacation. Here we go!
Help your student find out everything, and I mean everything, they need to know about their university before they go. Attend as many campus tours as possible. Schedule a time to attend orientation. Get to know the campus and the locations of classrooms. Get to know the graduation requirements. Make sure your student picks out classes as early as possible so they are on track for graduation. Trust me, there is nothing worse than missing out on classes you want because they have filled up before you had the chance to register.
Show your student RateMyProfessor to see which professors are the best to take for certain subjects. Trust me, it’ll save their life. Also, help your student find the features, organizations, and support systems their university has to offer. Once your student gets into the swing of their academic routine, they might forget to take the time to appreciate what really matters: their college experience.
2. Contact your student’s roommate
Encourage your student to contact their roommate well before the first day of classes. They are going to be spending a full year with this person, so they need to be sure to get friendly with them. If their roommate turns out to be a nightmare, getting in contact with them early on will allow your student to make preparations to switch rooms before it becomes a serious issue. My first roommate turned out to be an absolute nightmare to live with and I wish that I had noticed the signs earlier.
If your student has a chance, they can try to meet up with their roommate before classes start to get lunch, grab some coffee, or just meet up to chat. Since your student is going to share a room with this person, it is pretty likely that they will share belongings too. Tell your student to plan out which person is going to get certain items and appliances (microwaves, miniature refrigerators, rugs, printers, etc). The earlier your student contacts and bonds with their roommate, the better! They might discover that their new roommate will become one of their closest friends.
3. Organize finances
As I mentioned earlier, college is expensive. You have probably seen the memes if you already know people in college. They are not kidding. It might be prudent for your student to pick up a part-time job and start saving money ahead of time so they are not totally broke later on. Encourage your student to apply for as many scholarships and grants as possible. They are super selective and intimidating for sure, but don’t despair because your student might get lucky!
Student loans are something you want to avoid unless they are your absolute last resort. If you are going to help your student out with the costs of college, it is a good idea to have the discussion with them sooner rather than later. Find out the costs and charges of your student’s school. Check out the costs of tuition, housing, meal plans, and more. You do not want any unpleasant surprises once the semester gets started. It will make each semester all the more stressful and you do not want that to happen.
If finances are an issue for you, see what financial assistance programs your student’s university has to offer you. You might be surprised with what you can find.
4. Tie up loose ends
Make sure all the loose ends are tied up before the college semester starts. Make sure your students have everything they need for their dorm. Make sure they are not breaking any codes or violations with what they plan to bring. Get some pleasant and homey decorations to furnish their room with. Your student might get homesick in the beginning so help prepare for that.
Encourage your student to brush up on their math and reading skills so they do not fall behind in their initial classes. College algebra stinks, just so you know. Get your student a calendar so they can jot down all of the important dates, such as when financial aid is due, when classes start and end, when assignments are due, and when finals are, etc. The more prepared your student is, the better.
5. Enjoy the summer
Don’t forget to tell your student to have fun! College will be a worthwhile and amazing experience, but your student should make sure to enjoy their last moments at home too. Let your student have one last adventure with their high school friends; who knows when your student will see them again? Tell your student to tour your hometown because they will definitely miss it later. Your student needs to have fun before they are bogged down by homework and exams.
Congratulations on pushing your student towards adulthood! Best of luck!
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