10 Things To Do The Summer Before College

students hanging out around a pool the summer before college

College is an exciting time for students. However, the transition can also be overwhelming for incoming freshmen. Make the most out of your transition by making the most out of the summer before college.

1. Make A List Of Things You Need To Buy For College

Over the summer is when you are going to want to buy everything you need for college. The Ultimate Checklist will help you decide what you will need and what you won’t. I encourage you to print it out and have it handy. This will make it easy to reference what you need. It will also make it easy to share with family and friends if they want to pitch in and help out with a few items.

2. Visit Your Campus

If you haven’t already visited your college campus, squeeze it in during the summer. Starting your first semester when you haven’t visited the campus can be very overwhelming and stressful. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your campus before you start your classes. The last thing you want to do is stress yourself out trying to find all your classes.

See What To Know Before You Go Visit A College Campus for a few tips to make the most out of your college visit.

3. Attend Orientation

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but many students want to skip orientation. Don’t. Orientation is the best way to get to know your college and your campus. You will get to check out the fitness center, the health center, dorms, the cafeteria, the library, safety phones, and other facilities that are restricted to current students. You may also get to register for classes and meet with academic and financial aid advisors.

4. Register For Classes

Summer is the perfect time to consider the college classes you want to register for. Only take classes that you need and will fulfill a requirement. Take some time to familiarize yourself with your college’s General Education (GenEd) and graduation requirements. If you’re not certain what you want to major in, that’s okay. You’re going to want to take GenEd classes. If you have a slight direction in your major, take GenEd classes in that field of study. This will allow you to get a “feel” for a major before fully committing. Consider creating an academic plan and updating it each semester as you complete classes. 

Unfortunately, as an incoming freshman, you will be in the last group of students to register for classes. Therefore, you may not get into all of your first picks for classes. Many students get stressed if the classes they intended to register for fill up, planning out some different class schedules will help to eliminate some of this stress. Remember to only register for classes that fulfill requirements and are going to be worth your time and money.

How To Register For College Classes will provide some useful tips to reduce anxiety and help you build an efficient class schedule.

5. Apply For Scholarships

Many students apply for scholarships and grants through their university when they apply for admission. Typically, when you receive your acceptance letter, you know what scholarships and grants you will receive for your first semester. But there are more scholarships out there and knowing how to get college scholarships will help you reduce the financial burden of college.

There are so many different kinds of scholarships, some get pretty wild. However, the majority of scholarships will fall into 3 categories: need-based, merit-based, and minority-based. How To Get Scholarships For College will help you refine your search and save you precious time. If you qualify for a scholarship, I encourage you to apply for it.

a stack of textbooks that a student bought the summer before college started

6. Look Up Textbooks

It’s no secret that the cost of college textbooks is outrageous. CollegeBoard.com reports that between course materials and textbooks, students can expect to spend between $1,240-$1,440 for an academic year (2019 Study). This is a lot of money for something you will use for a few months and most likely never use again. Avoid the campus bookstore, the textbooks are overpriced.

I personally know students who did not purchase the required textbook for a class in order to save money. I know this may be tempting, but don’t do it. There’s a better solution, look up your textbooks and rent the books you need. Renting textbooks allows you to save money because you pay a lower price upfront, they are shipped directly to you, and you can use them for the entire semester, and then return them by the return deadline. It’s as simple as that.

The campus bookstore is usually a madhouse during the first few weeks of the semester and the last week during final exams and buyback. For a few tips to avoid the campus bookstore and where you can rent textbooks, How To Save Money In College By Renting Textbooks .

7. Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts

Your social media profiles say a lot about you. In college, you will meet many different types of people; classmates, roommates, new friends, professors, coworkers, etc. and chances are they will look you up on social media. Be considerate of the information that is out there and whether it is set to public or private. Take your downtime over the summer to reevaluate all your posts, bios, and profiles. Every photo, post, and comment should strengthen your image not hurt it.

8. Contact Your Soon-To-Be Roommate

If you are staying in a dorm room and you are going to have a roommate that you’ve never met, consider contacting them to introduce yourself. You will likely be spending a lot of time with this person, and it can be beneficial to start to get to know each other before moving in together. There also might be some shared items that you both can bring, such as a coffee maker or microwave, that you can discuss beforehand to make sure you don’t bring two of everything.

9. Talk To Your Parents & Family

I encourage all students to talk to their parents and/or family, whether they are going to college away from home or staying at home. Your parents and family are your biggest support system. It can be helpful to keep regular communication such as texting, calling, or video chatting with those that are important to you while you transition into your new college routine.

Additionally, it is helpful for students and their families to sit down and discuss expectations. If your family is financially supporting you through college, they likely have expectations regarding grades or how much time you spend on extracurricular activities. Try to compromise and remember that usually, these expectations come from a good place. They want you to succeed.

10. Prepare Yourself For Having More Responsibility

While I want you to enjoy your summer before you head off to college, I also want you to evaluate yourself as a student. College is very different from high school. As a college student, you will have a lot more responsibility. Some of those bad habits that allowed you to breeze through high school will ultimately hinder you in college. Dropping these 6 High School Bad Habits will have you on your way to being the best college student you can be.