How To Be College-ready By Fall

Congratulations! You have graduated high school and are on track to start the next chapter of your life at college this fall. For every upcoming freshman, this is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking time full of questions. While you are in limbo between the last day of high school and your first day of college, you can utilize the summer to become college-ready!

Make A Financial Plan

College isn’t cheap. Many people get stuck with large loans post-graduation and struggle to find ways to pay them off. You can be proactive by making a plan to acquire the least amount of debt now.

  • You can start by applying for scholarships! Every successfully acquired scholarship is free money that goes towards the overall bill of college. Scholarships are earned, not borrowed. That means no matter the amount you receive, you do not have to pay it back at any point during your college career or after.
  • Get a summer job. What else are you going to do with your summer? By getting a temporary job in fast food, retail, manufacturing industry, etc., you can save up a couple grand to put towards your first semester’s bill or into your savings for future college expenses, like transportation, food, books, and more.

By making a plan now, you won’t find yourself in a worse financial spot in the future.

Get Organized

Those who succeed at college and get the most out of the experience are disciplined in their organization and time management. These two skills are crucial to staying on top of your studies without getting burnt out. Good habits to get into are:

  • Writing out checklists that include what you need to get done for the day
  • Actively keeping a planner or updating your phone’s calendar with key test dates and other important deadlines
  • Creating and sticking to a routine
  • Making goals for each week and sticking to them
  • Finding a balance between your studies, sleep, extracurriculars, and social life

Learn How To Study

If you skated through high school with minimal studying, you may be in for a surprise. Before homework and tests pile up, take some time to discover the best study method for you.

  • Read then reward. Keep the snacks on standby and read a chapter or two from your books first. Once you have done that, reward yourself with a sweet treat and take a minute to rest. Then repeat.
  • Study groups. At college, you will find yourself among people who are interested in studying the same thing as you, and just as passionate. Surround yourself with these people to learn and help each other with multiple study group sessions throughout the semester, especially before big tests!
  • Chunk it up. Avoid cramming the night before. Instead, piece out the material each night and take time to remember and understand the material.
  • Active studying. If reading the chapter and your notes aren’t enough, you can take your studying a step further by creating a study guide, flashcards, or whatever study method that will help you retain the information.

Reach Out To Mentors

You don’t need to navigate college without help. You can reach out to guidance counselors, college admission staff, and other people who are in college or recently graduated to find the best path for you and help answer your questions. There are always resources available to help ease your nerves during this transition.

Start Packing

Move-in day will be here sooner than you expect! You can start by creating a list of what you will need for college and begin packing. You will need things like furniture and appliances for your dorm room, bedding, laundry baskets and essentials, toiletries, clothes, electronics (like laptops and headphones), and school supplies. There are many college-ready checklists you can find online, like this one, to help you remember everything.

If you aren’t moving away to school, you still need to go out and get school supplies for the semester, which includes getting a reading list from your school to buy or rent books, notebooks, pens and pencils, and more.

Go To Orientation

Every college hosts a day where they invite incoming new students to campus to get a feel of the land. Don’t take this time for granted! These are usually led by professors or upperclassmen, so it’s a great time to ask questions about the campus, dorms, extra-curriculars, and your major. You can usually get a sneak peek of what a dorm looks like which will help you decide what things you can fit into your room. The point of this day is to help get you familiar with your new surroundings before move-in day, so don’t miss this chance!

You got this. By following these steps, you will be more prepared and college-ready by this fall!