If you have already been accepted to the college of your choice, and you have made your deposit thus saying “Yes, I’m going to go here,” you are probably wondering what to do now. You have a lot of time until you go off to college, and it is always good to know what you are going to do with your time. By following these steps, you’ll be able to figure out how to navigate your lasts months of high school (or gap year(s)) to the fullest.
Step 1: Celebrate
While I am sure you have already done this, it is time to do it again. Celebrate, bust a move, get jiggy with it, or whatever the young folks say these days. You have done something absolutely fantastic, maybe something that no one else in your family has done before. The opportunity to receive a college education is not available to everyone, so be happy and enjoy this chance to learn more and pursue (or find out) your passion.
Step 2: Start compiling documents you will need
While you may still be internally celebrating, there is much to be done–and included in this is paperwork. The school will need you to start filling out medical forms and other waivers that they send via mail or their internet portal. It is important to get these things done as soon as possible, because if not completed you may be prohibited from receiving grades and/or registering for classes. For those of you who are moving into a college dorm away from your family, it is good to start making photocopies of legal documents such as birth certificate and health insurance cards (if you don’t have your own). This way if the situation ever arises where you need either one, you have access to them without having to wait for family to mail it to you. Put these documents in a manila envelope or accordion file for safe keeping and so that they don’t get mixed up with all the other homework you probably still have.
Step 3: Join social media
If you are a person who is a member of any social media sites your school is also on, follow them. This gives you great insights into events they’re hosting and even the possibility of learning about clubs your school offers in advance. For example, if your school’s library is hosting an event on the African Diaspora and you’re local, you could stop by and see what the school is promoting. Also, by joining social media you’ll be able to see those cliché “15 facts about me” posts by fellow potential classmates, thus giving you a feel for the types of people you might encounter at your school. There is even the possibility of finding your future roommate in Facebook groups (whether this is to be advised or not is a different article). Also, if you are on a website such as tumblr, you can put your school’s name in the tags and see what students there have to say about it or what some of their more personal interests are.
Step 4: Lists, lists, lists
Start making lists. If there is any better time to be organized than when planning a wedding, it is going to college. Make a list of basic necessities you’ll need for college. This can include everything from toothbrushes to a backpack. While that sounds pretty minor, preventing yourself from forgetting things you already own will save money, and every dollar counts. Also, make a list of all the people who have helped you in your process of getting to college. Include anybody who wrote recommendation letters or just motivated you in the long run. This list is for you to write thank you letters, because you never know how much that can make somebody’s day. Also, continue to make lists of scholarships you may want to apply for to aid in the process.
Step 5: Move in
If you end up living on the fifth floor or higher of a building with no elevator you may feel like moving in is the end of the world, but it is not. It will be one of the most tiring days, but also most rewarding because for some it is the beginning of real independence. Remember to call your family even if you don’t feel like you miss them because it is always good just to check in. Try to become at least acquaintances with your roommate. This will make your living situation a lot easier.
Step 6: Start school
This may seem obvious, but that time will eventually arrive. Be sure you actually go to class, too. Many colleges have rules for first year students where after x amount of skipped days your grade automatically goes down a letter grade, and an additional amount more you could completely fail the class by default, no matter if you end up going.
Starting school also means buying textbooks. They can be expensive, so make sure to look online before defaulting to the bookstore, but if you do buy online check the ISBN number because some teachers are very picky about the edition. If you can, ask your professor if you will actually need the book or can just get it from the library to help save money.
And suddenly, you’re a real life college student! Yes, you have done it and you can do it. While you haven’t reached college graduation yet, when that time comes you will be grateful for all the preparation you did before you got there.