Preparing for College Over the Summer


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1. Save money

Summer has arrived, which means that leaving for college will as well. This is the time to save up as much money as possible. You will need it not only to help pay for tuition, but also necessities and recreation while you are at school. Make sure to have both a savings and a checking account set up before you leave. If you already have a job, talk to your boss about working more hours during the summer. If you do not have a job yet, try to find one quickly. Some good opportunities include being a host at a restaurant, a cashier at a retail store, or a day camp counselor. It is important to save money this summer, but don’t stop there. Keep saving throughout college to prevent going into debt.

2. Dorm shop

This is one of the most fun parts of going away to school–living in a dorm. You will be able to stay out however late you want, hang out with whoever you want, and decorate it however you want. Summer is the best time to buy dorm supplies. With all of the young people moving away for college, most large retail stores have considerable sales on dorm supplies. Some of the best places to do your dorm shopping are Target, Walmart, and Linens & Things. These all have a great selection of dorm bedding, which is a more difficult size to find: twin extra long. Do not underestimate stores like Ross and Marshall’s, both of which have excellent home decor sections. If you are more of an online shopper, check out the Urban Outfitters website.

3. Befriend your roommate

This summer, you will receive a letter or email from your college with the name and email address of your future roommate or roommates. Make sure to send them an email or message on Facebook and get acquainted. Once you know a bit about each other, talk about how you want the next year to look per your dorm room. Find out if your roommate or roommates are night or morning people, when they like to shower, how clean they are, and anything else you feel is important. If you haven’t gone dorm shopping yet, figure out how you want to decorate the room. These might seem like unimportant topics, but they can help resolve any lifestyle differences before they become a big problem.

4. Summer bucket list

Create a summer bucket list to make your last summer before college the most memorable one yet. If there is something you have been wanting to do for a while, or something you just thought of, now is the time to do it. Your list can be comprised of activities as simple as going to Sky High for the first time or as intense as taking a Hawaii vacation with your best friends. Hang out with those people you are friends with but would only see at school. Learn how to surf. Take a trip to Los Angeles. Whatever you decide to do, have an amazing time and move on to college with fond memories of high school.

5. Figure out what you want to major in

Most colleges do not require incoming freshmen to declare a major, and some students don’t. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you have absolutely no idea what you want to study, it is not a bad idea to try to figure it out now. This will allow you to start taking classes for your major, which will enable you to get those credits out of the way. As a result of this proactivity, you would have more room in your schedule to double major or minor, if you wanted to. Knowing what you are majoring in early on will also let you start applying for internships early, which could greatly help you find a career after you graduate. Think about what you like, possible career interests, and remember: you can always change your major if you change your mind.

6. Register for classes

Check your school’s website for registration dates and plan what classes you want to take this fall. Most incoming freshmen will register in June or July, which is fast approaching, so do not let it pass without registering. If you forget, you will be stuck taking the least popular classes with the worst teachers. To avoid this, do some research on your general education requirements and major requirements, pick the classes you want to take, and sign up for them as soon as you can.

7. Buy cheap textbooks

You will most likely need at least one textbook for each class you take in college. They are very expensive, and if you buy them all new it can add up to thousands of dollars per year. If you want to save hundreds of dollars, consider buying discount or used textbooks. Most college bookstores have used textbooks available, but these can still be expensive. Do some Internet research and look for discount textbook websites. There are many good ones, but some personal favorites are Chegg, CheapestTextbooks, and Textbooks.

8. Figure out how you will pay for things in college

Unless you will live with your parents in college, or are already financially independent, you need to figure out how you will pay for expenses once you leave home. Sit down with your parents this summer and discuss your options. Do they expect you to get a job and pay for items such as groceries and clothes yourself? Will they set up a credit card you will be allowed to use? This is an essential conversation, and figuring out your financial situation early will save both you and your parents a lot of stress once you move away.


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