how to maximize the summer before your freshman year of college

Posted : April 29, 2015
Last Updated : April 29, 2015
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how to maximize the summer before your freshman year of college

The summer before your freshman year of college is a significant period of transition as you begin embarking on a new life journey. Your high school career is officially over, and your much anticipated college adventure is about to begin. Use the time over your summer break wisely so you can easily transition into your first semester of college.

Submit any needed forms to your school. Make sure to complete and submit all necessary forms to your college as they will be in contact with you about freshman orientation, financial aid, housing, meal plans, etc. Record deadlines in your calendar to ensure that you submit any required forms on time.

Attend freshman programs. Many schools offer programs for incoming students to help ease the transition from high school to college, including:

  • New student orientation. New student orientation usually lasts two to five days over the summer and allows you to meet other classmates, learn about campus life, ask questions, register for classes, and take care of any unfinished business before the fall semester begins. For more information about new student orientation, be sure to read Benefits of Attending Freshman Orientation and How to Have a Successful College Orientation Experience.
  • Summer bridge program. Some colleges offer their own bridge programs to help entering freshmen have a smooth changeover. These programs will teach you the ins and outs of succeeding in college, such as getting involved on campus, developing good study habits, making new friends, etc. Contact the student services department at your selected college or university for specific information regarding the school's bridge program.

Save money from your summer job. From textbooks to late night pizza deliveries, college life can be expensive. Make sure you save money from your summer job to help cover those expenses so you don’t have to bum money off of mom and dad all semester.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor. Most colleges require incoming students to submit vaccination history and results from a recent physical exam. Check with your college to see what vaccinations are required for incoming students and to obtain any medical forms that your physician must complete and sign. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to receive any needed vaccinations, get a physical exam, and obtain required signatures on any necessary forms to submit to your school.

Take care of vehicle responsibilities. If you will be bringing a car to college, you should take care of any vehicle responsibilities during the summer, such as:

  • Getting a tune-up. Be sure to get a tune-up for your car before you leave for college to make sure everything is in working order for the school year.
  • Purchasing a campus parking permit. You will need a permit in order to park on campus. Your college will be able to tell you which parking permit you will need based on whether you plan to live in a dorm or at an off-campus community.

Make insurance arrangements. As you immerse yourself in college life, you may encounter insurance issues that you never even considered. Over the summer, you should work with your parents to make appropriate preparations for:

  • Renter's insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Auto insurance

Read Insurance for College Students for more detailed information.

Contact your roommate. Once you receive a roommate notification from your school, use the contact information provided to get in touch with your new roomie. Together, you should coordinate what dorm items and supplies to bring as you won’t have room for duplicates. You can also get to know your roommate before the semester begins by following and interacting on social media.

Shop for school necessities and dorm décor. The fun part about preparing for college is shopping for dorm décor and school supplies. To help with your shopping list, check out Dorm Room Basics: What to Pack and What to Leave at Home and 15 Essential School Supplies that You Will Need for College.

Prepare for your classes. Take steps over the summer to prepare for your college classes by:

  • Taking placement tests. Check with your school to see if you have to take any placement exams. If you scored high enough on certain standardized tests, you may be able to opt out of placement tests.
  • Researching professors. Check out ratemyprofessor.com and uloop.com to read professor reviews from other students at your school. This will help you pick courses best suited for your learning style.
  • Downloading a campus map. Become familiar with the locations of campus buildings by downloading a campus map.
  • Registering for classes. Most schools instruct incoming students on how to register for classes during freshman orientation. When scheduling your classes, be sure to reference the campus map to ensure that you are giving yourself enough time to walk from one class to the next.
  • Completing a summer reading list. Many colleges give incoming freshmen a reading list to complete over the summer. These books are often discussed during the first few weeks of the semester. Check with your school to see if they have a suggested summer reading list.
  • Purchasing textbooks. Some professors post textbook requirements a few weeks before classes begin. Check out these tips for saving money on college textbooks.

Research your future town. Begin researching and exploring the amenities that your future town offers. Make note of restaurants and shops that you want to visit. Does the town have a local branch of your bank or will you want to set up a new account at a different bank? Are there any extracurricular activities in the community in which you would like to become involved?

Spend quality time with family and friends. Make adjustments in your summer schedule so you can spend quality time with each member of your family and your best friends before you leave for college. You will end up missing them more than you realize, and depending on your school schedule, you may not be able to come home for visits as often as you may think.

Enjoy yourself. Remember to take time to relax and enjoy your free time by participating in leisure activities that you love, such as traveling, crafting, exercising, gardening, gaming, etc. You want to feel refreshed and rejuvenated before you begin your first semester of college.

For more information about maximizing the summer before your freshman year of college, contact your school's student services department.


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