Jun 03, 2018
The hard work is done – your child kept their grades up, enrolled in extra curricular activities, wrote thoughtful essays, and filled out college applications – and it paid off. Still, after receiving and accepting a college acceptance offer, there is still some prep work to do before starting in the fall.
Now that National Candidate Reply Date has passed, the majority of students who plan on attending college in the fall have already accepted their offer letters and declined any others they may have received.
Before anything else, students should pause for moment and congratulate themselves. Getting accepted into college is no small feat, and it’s proof that hard work and determination pay off.
After celebrating, there are a few things students (and their parents) should take care to do before their first day.
Look Over Financial Aid
It’s no secret that college can be expensive, and whether students are covering tuition on their own or getting support from their parents, it’s wise to investigate any opportunities that can help with cost. The realm of financial aid can be vast and confusing, so it may be worth reaching out to an academic coach who can help students and their parents understand what they should be looking for.
Join the School’s Community Page
Most colleges have a selection of dedicated community pages, ranging from the entire student body to incoming freshmen, those in the same graduating class, and major. These pages give students an opportunity to get to know future classmates, ask questions, and get access to information.
Figure Out Your Living Situation
Many freshmen live in the dorms their first year, while others commute or apply for off-campus housing. Those who plan on staying in a dorm should find out about the process for getting an assignment. Larger universities might have students apply for specific buildings, while others may assign dorms without student input. Students who are able to apply should research the various buildings to decide what their top choice is. Some may be newer (meaning air conditioning!), while others may be closer to a student’s classroom buildings.
Students will also have to figure out what the options are for getting a roommate. At some schools students can pair up and apply to live together, opting to either request someone they already know or seek out someone through their community page. At other schools, students are blindly paired with a roommate. Schools may have these students fill out a questionnaire so that they are paired with someone who has similar living habits and major.
Those who plan on commuting should learn bus routes or find out campus parking information, as they will likely need to fill out a parking permit application.
Orientation is a student’s first introduction into campus life. While students and their parents may have previously attended a tour, orientation welcomes new members of the community and gives students the opportunity to learn the routes, meet potential friends, and likely schedule first semester classes with their academic advisor. Check out our guide on making the most out of college orientation so that students and their parents have all the bases covered.
Take Required Placement Tests
Some schools require students to take placement tests for Math, English, or a foreign language. Taking these tests will ensure students don’t enroll in any classes they otherwise would have tested out of. Those who have taken any AP tests may have tested out of a few classes as well, so students should be sure to double check with their advisor that their required class list is correct.
Brush Up On Good-to-Know Skills
Before students head out on their own, it may be helpful for parents to help them learn some basic skills. Many students will be taking the first steps into their financial journey, so learning about budgeting, student loans, and taxes can give students (and their parents) some peace of mind.
It’s also worthwhile to learn more about nutrition. Regardless of what they’ve heard, students shouldn’t live purely off of microwave Ramen for four years. Laundry may also be a new journey for students, and they’ll likely wish they had learned how to use a washing machine when they wake up at 7am for their 8am presentation, only to realize their favorite button down is slightly pink and 2 sizes too small.
Finish High School Strong
This is a student’s last step before they’re officially on their way to college. While it can be tempting to give in to “senioritis,” it’s important to keep grades up and stay out of trouble. Colleges can and have rescinded offers, so students should be sure not to make any crucial mistakes in their last few weeks of high school.
The summer before freshman year of college is filled with celebrations, adjustments, and new beginnings. Spending some time preparing for their new journey will help students feel prepared, confident, and excited for their first day.