Summer’s just about over and it’s time for the new college student to start preparing for that exciting life away from home for the first time. Even if the first day of class is weeks away, it’s never too early to plan for what lies ahead.
1. If you’ll be going into a dorm on campus, read the instructions you’ve received from the college. They will give you most of the information you’ll need for when you arrive.
2. Talk to older siblings, friends or other family members who’ve had recent experience as college students, especially those who’ve attended the college where you’ll soon be spending your next four years.
Ask for their advice and suggestions about clothing and other necessities you should bring with you. Discuss the features of your dorm, or if you’ll be living off campus, the availability of housing close to the college.
3. Start accumulating the required books and other items you’ll need for your freshman classes. If you wait until you arrive at the college to buy them just before classes begin, you may run into crowds of other students at the campus store. Additionally, if you’re on a budget, you may not need to buy all new books. You can probably get most of what you need at bargain prices by checking with eBay, Craig’s List or other online sources.
4. In addition to books and other class supplies, you’re certain to need a good laptop computer. If you haven’t had sufficient experience with all features of it, make sure you get some heavy practice and, if necessary, some training. If you need to upgrade your computer or buy a new one, check with your loving parents about providing one for you.
5. Your parents will help you put together the clothing, toiletries, athletic gear, CD and DVD player, first aid kit, winter wear and other items you’ll need for that first semester away from home. If your family will be driving to the campus with you, you can probably put everything you’ll need into the car. If you must fly or take other transportation because the campus is far way, ship all the heavy stuff in advance to the dorm or rental apartment off campus.
6. Your parents will probably need to set you up with a credit card and/or bank account. Throughout your freshman year, you’ll need to pay for all kinds of expenses, including laundry, food, entertainment, sports game attendance and a score of other out-of-pocket needs. If your freshman year is to be the first time you’ll be exposed to a credit card or personal bank account, consider it part of your education and do it right.
Planning for college for first-time students will be the introduction to an enjoyable, as well as challenging, task. Take advice from people who’ve been there and done it, and then go on to your first grown-up adventure and make a huge success of it.