While we graduates bask in the beauty of our freedom, it’s easy to let slip everything that we’re still responsible for. Yes, we’re settled in on where we’re going to school. But what about those next steps? It’s never too early to begin preparing for your introduction to college life. After all, the more you accomplish now, the less hectic it will be later. (And, let’s be real, you’re going to be freaking out enough as is).
If you aren’t sure where to start, here are a few basics to look at:
Every school deals with class registration a bit differently, especially for freshman year. You may be signing up during orientation. You may be signing up online. First things first, find out which one it is and when it will be happening. Before that date, you should spend some time looking through the course catalogue and understanding what you want to be taking your first year. Scope out the core classes, or GE’s, that you still need to crank out and which ones, if any, you can skip thanks to AP credit. Find out how many units students typically take and the kinds of tracks they go on for your major or field of interest.
After you’ve sifted through the classes themselves, invest some time into constructing an ideal schedule for yourself. This includes, within the parameters of what they offer, the preferred times and the teachers of each course. To further aid you, most schools will have some kind of student-run website rating and describing the professors. The most important part of all of this is to include several alternative choices. It’s often a mad dash to register for what you want; GE’s in particular can fill up in a matter of minutes. You don’t want to be locked out of multiple classes simply because you didn’t have a back up for one class at the ready.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “But I’ll be getting a college advisor to do all of this with me,” recognize that your advisor will have a fair number of other kids to help out. Walking in with a thorough outline of what you’re looking for will ensure that you get the most out of your advisor meeting.
Your dorm room
By the end of June, you’ve most likely submitted your housing application. Some of you may have even been assigned your living quarters (that sounded way more Harry Potter-esque than intended…). In either case, you’re about to be downsizing. It’s not a bad idea to start purging some of the stuff that you know you really don’t need and prioritizing what you will be taking with you. If your move is a bit more involved than just a short car ride, you need to figure out how you’ll be transporting your things. Is shipping worth it? Will you be making runs to Bed Bath and Beyond? This is also the perfect opportunity to learn what your dorm will and will not come with (bed, table, chair, dresser, mirror, etc.). Do you want to invest in a mini-fridge? How about a television? These are the crucial questions of life.
Check it. And do it often. Most colleges will be sending you all kinds of different dates, deadlines, and pieces of information. Whether these messages pertain to financial aid, orientation, housing (the list goes on), it will benefit you 99% of the time to read them through. I’d advise developing some sort of system to keep it all organized. In many cases, you can “flag” certain emails, or place them in a separate folder. If technology’s not your thing, pull out a calendar or a planner and start listing any to-dos. It can be remarkable how much extra paperwork there is that needs filling out, and the last thing you want is to be taken by surprise.
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About Elise Gout
Elise writes articles for the Magoosh SAT blog to help teenagers during an exciting time in their lives. Despite residing in Southern California, where she attends San Dieguito Academy high school, she has no surfing abilities whatsoever; it’s actually rather sad. She is your typical senior high school girl who sword fights daily, and is pretty much convinced that bananas are a food sent from heaven. Elise will attend Columbia University next fall to study environmental science.
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