It’s official! You know which college is going to be your home for the next four years. After months of standardized tests, college applications, and personal essays, you probably think your work is done. Don’t get too comfortable! We’ve compiled a list of important things you should take care of before heading off to school.
First Things First
Respond to your college
Once you’ve made your decision, the first step is to send your letter of acceptance. If there were other schools that accepted you that you don’t plan on attending, let them know of your decision as well. This is the nice thing to do because they can give your spot they held for you to someone else who may really want to go there.
Send in tuition deposit
Ultimately, this deposit reserves your spot. Colleges can’t require you to submit this before May 1st, AKA National Decision Day, but some may give preferred housing assignment, class registration etc. for those who submit their deposit sooner. If you are having trouble paying for the deposit, definitely mention that to your admissions counselor and see if there are any options for you.
The Financial Frenzy
Accept financial aid offer
You may be required to submit a separate acceptance letter for your financial aid. There’s no doubt that college is expensive, so don’t procrastinate this task! If you need help decoding your financial aid package, check out these tips! There is a chance that your FAFSA application was selected for verification. If so, be sure to complete all of the verification requirements in a timely manner so your financial aid is not delayed.
Complete student loan entrance requirements
If you’re accepting a loan as a way to fund your education, be sure to fill out your master promissory note (essentially your loan contract) and entrance loan counseling. Here is an article all about student loans if you need more information.
Consider applying for a summer job to start earning extra money. It never hurts to earn a bit of extra cash or build your savings account. Look into these on-campus jobs for students if you are looking for a part-time job once you arrive at school.
The Living Sitch
Explore housing options
You are likely starting out in that #dormlife if you’re not living at home. In that case, you will need to fill out housing contracts and forms. If you want off-campus housing or other accommodations, reach out to your college’s housing office for assistance.
Choose your meal plan
Meal plans may be mandatory for all first year students who live on-campus. Off-campus students also have meal plan options, but if not, look into these cheap and easy recipes perfect for a student’s lifestyle.
Connect with your roommate
Once you have your living arrangements, reach out to your new roomie! Acquaint yourself and discuss logistics. (Who is bringing the microwave?)
Attend pre-orientation programs
Many schools host an admitted student day. There may even be local events to unite students in their respective hometowns. Ease into campus life and make friends before you even get there! Click here if you’re wondering what to expect at orientation.
Connect on social
Join social media groups dedicated to your freshman class. This will be a space for you to get to know the other people in your year. Everyone wants to make friends just as much as you do, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
Register for classes
Usually, you will meet with a counselor at orientation and they will help you with this task. If not, make sure you are enrolled in classes for your first semester!
Take your placement exams
Most schools require you to complete placement exams to determine your level of reading, writing, math, etc. Don’t stress! This is just a way for colleges to decide which classes would be a good starting point for you. Standardized test scores can sometimes exempt you from these exams.
Send your final transcript
Upon graduation, you will need to submit your final transcript to your college. Lucky for you, this duty usually falls on your school counselor, so all you have to do is confirm that it was mailed to the admissions office!
Prepping for Move-In Day
You won’t want to leave this to the last minute! Make a list (or print one out from your college’s website) to check off all the things you need to bring. You should also consider how you are going to transport everything (especially if you are going far from home). If you aren’t sure what to bring vs. what to leave at home, check out our list of reasonable dorm room investments that you won’t regret!
Check computer requirements
Most schools require students to have a laptop. Sometimes, colleges will help students pay for computers or at least provide a substantial discount. Look into all that your school has to offer before paying the full price tag!
Go to the doctor
You will likely need to get a physical before you leave for college. Most schools require a submission of your vaccination history. If you don’t accomplish this, you may not be allowed to register for classes or move into the dorms.
Once you accomplish all these tasks, you will be prepared for your highly anticipated freshman year of college! Be sure to thank all of your people before you leave. This includes your family, counselors, teachers, and friends. Let them know how much you appreciate their support throughout this entire process.