College starts after labor day for most college-bound students. It's time to pack your things and get ready for the big day.
Many first-time students don't have the foggiest idea what to expect; it will be an entirely new experience for them. You can make your first day go more smoothly by completing some important preparation and "getting ready for college" tasks.
Some ideas to follow:
- Get to Know the Campus
Familiarize yourself with the campus and its surroundings. It will make your adjustment to college much better. If the campus is near by, spend a day to walk the grounds and familiarize you with the buildings, your living quarters, and service facilities. Pay particular close attention to safety rules and suggested walkways for maximum protection.
If the school is too far away to make an actual visit, go online and take a virtual tour. It will help you understand the campus on your first day.
- Get to Know Your Roommate(s)
You should have an idea who you will be bunking with for the coming year. If no, find out.
Get online to chat with your roommate or make a phone call to get know each other. Talk about your interests, your major, things you like to do for fun, and most importantly, your expectations for a good relationship.
- Make Sure You Have Enough Money
The last thing that should be on your mind when starting class is whether you have enough money to pay tuition, housing, food, books, etc. Avoid being like many students who hope for that last minute scholarship to kick in.
Make sure you have enough funds to get through the entire year on Day 1. You may want to look into private student loans to help meet your cost needs. You can borrow up to $30,000 or more to pay for tuition, housing, books, and other education expenses, including a computer for classroom instruction. We have more information below.
- Plan and Make a School Budget
Budget what to spend each month, especially for entertainment and other outside activities. You can run out of money quickly if you don't have a spending plan in place. You need to manage your spend each day and shop for less expensive books, supplies and entertainment to stay within budget.
- Consider What Kind of Transportation
It would be nice if you have your own wheels for school to give you the freedom of movement. But having your own wheels comes with a cost: insurance, parking fees, fuel, maintenance, and perhaps a monthly financing payment. Again, budget what you can spend.
If you are not coming to college with your own wheels, you need to consider alternative transportation. School can get lonely fast if you get stuck at campus every day. Alternative transportation includes a motorcycle, scooter, bicycle, and public transportation. Come prepared for what you need.
- Download Our Off-to-College Packing Checklist
Starting college means starting your first home away from home. Check to see if you have everything you need. You will be surprised what you will miss once you leave your parent's home. Pack your cosmetics, medications, cooking utensils, light bulbs, clothes, shoes, laundry detergent, and much more. Download our college packing checklist for reference (see below).
- Do You Need a Computer?
The answer is big YES for most classrooms. Avoid wastng time in a computer lab when you can do your work more conveniently at home or in a group session at the library.
You don't need something fancy; and many college bulletins and community web sites offer great bargains for used systems.
Make sure you backup your work. Losing your term paper or other school work can be devastating.
- Finally, Maintain a Positive Attitude for Success
College can be fun, but stay focused. Your goal is to graduate with honors so that you can begin a successful career.
Set goals. Discipline yourself. And execute your plans. These are the 3 ingredients of success: planning - discipline - execution