Even if you already view yourself as a fairly responsible high school senior, there might be some tricks you haven’t thought of that will help you succeed once you get to college. Check out the list below for ideas.
1. Take control of your own college applications.
Accept input from relatives and peers about what schools would be good fits, but remember that ultimately you are the one attending college. Regarding tuition, remember to apply to schools that you or your family can reasonably afford. Keeping cost in mind and having frank conversations about finances will also help to make you more responsible. Ultimately, don’t let someone else decide where you apply—visit, evaluate academics, look at financial aid packages, and decide what would be best for you and what you can afford.
2. If you haven’t already, get your driver’s license.
This might not be an option for everyone, but if possible, it is best to learn to drive yourself places. In college, you won’t have someone waking you up for classes and pushing you into a car—you’ll have to do it all yourself. Adapting to getting places on your own by figuring out when you need to get there and how to get there will serve you well in college and later in life.
3. Get a job.
Academics come first, of course, but if you find yourself wasting time on Netflix or browsing Facebook, you might want to get a part-time job. It could be anything from being a youth soccer referee to working at a fast-food restaurant. Regardless, a job will help you learn responsibility as you earn a wage and manage your time. It will also give you spending money, allowing you to balance your own budget.
4. Learn to cook.
Only the basics are necessary, but having a general knowledge of how to make a meal will greatly supplement your dorm life in college. I met someone my senior year of high school who couldn’t make brownies from a box. Don’t be that guy. Being able to feed yourself is a trait that will serve you long past college. It may also be a good idea to evaluate your diet; are you fairly healthy? No one will be telling you what to eat at a dining hall, so make sure you can make good choices.
5. Take on leadership positions in clubs and activities.
This is probably something you’ll have to start before senior year, but for sophomores and juniors, it is highly beneficial to run for leadership positions. Not only does it look good on college apps, but it teaches you to be in charge of a group and keep it running productively. Students with true leadership positions learn early on how to act like a role model to other students who look for their guidance. Being a team captain or a club officer will help you gain these skills.
6. Organize your studying.
If you usually read while watching TV or intersperse your studying with Twitter, you might want to learn to study without distraction. Set aside a certain amount of time each day for only schoolwork—it will help you manage your time better in college when you have way more free time. Lots of students study in the library in college, but you’ll also find yourself longing for the comfort of your dorm, even if it’s full of distractions. Learning to ignore them and concentrate on your studies will go a long way toward getting good grades.
We here at The Prospect know that you want to hit the ground running in college by doing well in your classes, joining clubs, and making new friends. Your transition to college life will be much easier, however, if you already know how to take care of yourself—and as you can see above, only the basics are necessary. With just a few skills, you’ll be well along the way to becoming a responsible college student who can enjoy their four years in the best way possible.