The thought of going off to college might cause some anxiety (even for Mom and Dad!), but there’s a lot you can do to ensure a seamless transition. Follow this checklist in the months leading up to your first semester, and you’ll be all set to go when move-in day arrives.
Connect with your future roommate. Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to get to know the person you’ll be living with before the semester begins. In addition to exchanging contact information and liking each other’s photos, it’s important to make time to have a phone chat about who’s bringing what so you can maximize space and share resources.
Gather and buy the items you’ll need before the last minute. Lots of other students are going off to college at the same time as you and your choices may be limited if you wait. For instance, those twin XL sheets may become hard to find after the back-to-school shopping rush is over. Spacing out your purchases will also give you time to find deals and stay within your budget.
Get familiar with the campus beforehand. One campus tour is hardly adequate for knowing your way around. Most college websites have a campus map online, and some have apps to help you navigate. Look those over to see where your dorm is in relation to the cafeteria, the gym and the main academic buildings where your courses are held.
Create a budget and contribute to a savings account. Squirreling away some money for the fall will come in handy for those unexpected expenses that might pop up once you’re on campus. Taking some time to anticipate what your monthly costs will be is smart as well, so you can avoid creating additional debt. Once you get to school, maintain an open dialogue with your parents about changing your budget if necessary.
Plan regular check-ins with your parents. It might sound silly, but designating a set time to speak to your family back home without distractions will establish boundaries, and give everyone something to look forward to. Once the busy semester starts, staying in touch will make everyone feel comfortable. Keeping an open texting policy is a nice idea as well, for those little moments when homesickness strikes, something funny happens or when your folks are missing you.
Take part in orientation activities. Colleges organize these events to help incoming students connect and get to know each other before the semester begins. It will also give you a chance to explore the campus and learn about the resources available to you. Plus, it’s fun!
Have some serious conversations about expectations, safety, and where to turn for help. Speaking of campus resources, thinking through scenarios of things that could happen while you’re away and how you’ll handle them is good preparation. Knowing where to go if you’re feeling ill, what happens if you have a roommate conflict and how to get academic assistance if a class is really tough will empower you to seek help if you need it.
Spend time with your family and friends. Before you know it, college will begin, and you’ll be away from your loved ones for the first time. Finding opportunities to get together before you leave will create great memories to help get you through those first few weeks on your own.
By being organized and preparing for what’s to come, you can take away some of the stress of leaving home and make way for excitement and anticipation of what college life will bring.