Freshman year is just around the corner — how cool is that?! But before you start sizing up a sweatshirt with your new school’s colors, it’s time to take a final assessment.
You may think you’ve dotted all your I’s and crossed your T’s, but give this checklist a read over to guarantee you’re all set for your first day of college.
Financial aid follow-up
As you’ve probably found out by now, getting in to college was just the beginning — paying for it is where the real challenge begins. Make sure to follow-up with your school’s financial aid office to ensure all money-related situations are covered. Most schools require an initial enrollment deposit at the beginning of May, so if you’ve already submitted yours double check to confirm it’s been processed.
Likewise, once you receive your financial aid offer take a close look at what’s being offered. Whether you’re using loans, scholarships, or a savings account for funding, it’s crucial you know exactly how much you owe and how much is covered.
Review meal plans
Unless you’re commuting back and forth from school to home, chances are you won’t be dining on mom’s home cooking during the semester. If you’re signing up for a meal plan through your college, check out how their system works; some schools offer a set amount of meals per day, others per month, and some schools even use a credit system to deduct each food item from a pre-paid balance.
If you have any special dietary needs, such as a vegan regiment or nut allergy, find out what kinds of foods are being served and how they’re prepared. Schools often have menus and dishes that meet specialty eating habits, but you may be required to indicate those preferences before you grab your tray and jump in the lunch line.
Investigate on-campus clubs & organizations
One of the coolest aspects of college are all the student-run organizations. From niche hobbies, to cultural-focused clubs, to Greek Life, there are TONS of groups to join…so much so that it can seem overwhelming.
If you know you want to be part of something on campus, but just aren’t sure exactly what, take some time to read up on the different clubs and organizations at the school. Most universities have a list of student-run groups on their website, so that’s a good resource to start with.
Submit all housing request forms
Getting a chance to live on your own is possibly THE most exciting part of going to college. Of course, all those dreams of a parental-free tenure will be for naught if you don’t have your housing forms in order.
A number of schools require freshmen to live on-campus in the dorms, so if this applies to you, be absolutely sure all your housing requests have been filed. If you’re planning to live off-campus, make sure you’ve researched the area you’ll be living in and that all arrangements (deposits, leases, etc.) have been finalized for move-in day.
Connect with your roommate
Unless you’re living the sweet life of a billionaire with your own high-rise apartment, you’re going to be living with a roommate. Depending on how you want to look at it that can be a good or bad thing, but either way, you should take it as a chance to meet someone new (and hopefully make a new friend).
If you’ve already been notified as to who your roommate will be, take some time this summer to reach out and introduce yourself. This could not only be a great chance to break the ice, but it can also be an opportunity to figure out any move-in supply logistics (e.g. who brings a microwave, TV, etc).
Research GE Classes
As you’ll quickly learn, most college students don’t dive into classes for their major during freshman year. Rather, most of your first year schedule will be comprised of General Education (GE) classes. While GE classes may seem rudimentary, they serve two key purposes — to evaluate your academic skill set at a college level and to help you ease into higher-level courses for your major. With these two points in mind, we cannot recommend enough that you research your GE class offerings.
Aside from understanding what each course will entail, researching GE classes is important because not only will they be the foundation for your GPA, but many serve as the prerequisites for more advanced classes that are needed for your major. Understanding which classes you need to take will keep you on track and help you avoid taking any unnecessary courses that do not fill your major’s requirements (remember, in college time IS money).
Reserve your spot for freshman orientation
If you liken your first day of freshman year to “game day,” think of orientation as a scrimmage. It’s your chance to get a clearer understanding of the school’s student system and familiarize yourself with the campus. However, orientation is about a lot more than scoping out the computer lab — at some schools it’s when you’ll register for classes for the semester or get a preview of how your major’s program works. You’ll also be grouped with other incoming freshmen, so this can be a chance to make some new friends too (and bond over the craziness).
These next few months are a time to see your friends, hang out with family, and enjoy summer break, but don’t lose focus of the big prize in the Fall. The college process can be a lot to take on, and there’s nothing worse than stepping foot on campus unprepared. Before you get ready to move in, hit the books, and pull an all-nighter, wrap up these last-minute “to do’s” to start freshman year on the right foot.