Whether you’re still in high school or just about to start college soon, getting ready for college is something everyone struggles with. Some of these steps might not seem like a big deal to many; yet, they are fundamental.
That’s why we’re walking you through the key steps on how to get ready for college and make the process easier.
1. Make A Habit To Read Regularly
Reading at least 30 minutes a day—in addition to studying and doing homework—pays off when it’s time to take timed tests, such as college admission tests. Reading for fun on different topics might even introduce you to subjects that spark your interest, opening a new door to a potential major you can choose.
2. Contact the Alumni
When it comes to what you need to know about college, asking someone who has already gone through the admission process and academics is the best, straightforward way. They can be students from your high school, acquaintances, friends, or family. You can consult with someone who can help you with the school’s requirements. Most are open and don’t mind if you ask for information and insight. Besides, many students have gone through the same thing and know what it is like.
3. Weigh In Your Best Options
If you are unsure of what field you want to study or are afraid of running out of time, you need to start early to consider your options. Research and contemplate what you can see yourself doing. For example, if you’re diplomatic, an international relations degree can be the right fit for you. Explore careers’ earning potential, narrow down majors, and research where you can attend college.
Next, review colleges’ websites, taking time to research the quality, reputation, rankings of the colleges, or how many of their graduates find jobs in their field after graduating. When all is done, you can reach an informed and well-thought-out decision.
4. Research Ways to Pay For College
Cost and tuition is an essential factor to consider when choosing the best college to fit your situation. Reach out to financial aid representatives to see whether a certain college offers assistance. Most financial aid is based on your financial needs, not on grades.
Financial aid can come from various sources, so make sure to explore all options. These aids can be federal or state government aid, private foundations, scholarships, and grants.
Another option to pay for college is getting a part-time job. While it can alleviate budget strains, it can also take time away from classes. So the best thing is to see whether that option would help you in the long run, or if it could jeopardize your education.
5. Prepare For Life on Your Own
Depending on how you look at it, this stage can either be scary, exciting or both. Nevertheless, valuable everyday-life skills are relatively necessary to handle life on your own. Take time to learn the basics such as doing laundry, preparing easy meals, understanding health insurance benefits, and requirements, finding out the local bank options, or looking for a bank with an ATM on campus, etc.
6. Prepare Emotionally
Big transitions can sometimes take a toll on some people. That’s why emotional preparation is essential, too. If you tend to get homesick, take a box of things to have with you when you feel highly emotional or overwhelmed. Adding a decoration that reminds you of home in the room, or planning a day where you follow the same routine you used to have back home can help.
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Know what activities or projects recharge you and continue them at college by looking into groups and activities on/near campus. Remember that sometimes change can feel uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.
7. Commit To Your College
Now that you’ve made your choice, got admitted, and found a way to finance your education, you get to start your first day of college in a few weeks. See what you need to get done before the day arrives. Whether you need to complete the housing application or any required health forms, make sure you’ve done the work beforehand.
Other ways you can commit include signing up for orientation, registering for classes shortly after graduation, or following the college’s social media channels to stay up to date.
8. Explore Your New Area
Preparing for college life also requires you to adjust to the change of scenery. Take a tour of the dormitory, walk around the neighborhood, and take notice of your surroundings. You just might find your new favorite place to grab a drink or discover a hangout spot while also familiarizing yourself with the new area.
9. Learn About Budgeting
Moving away to college may be the first time you’re making financial decisions daily—and on your own. If you don’t know your way with credit cards, now is the perfect time to learn. Use an online worksheet to incorporate necessities in your budget. Include the essential things that will cost you money, such as books, food, phone bill, transportation, personal care items, and extracurricular activities.
10. Improve Time Management Skills
The single biggest adjustment students have to make for college is how to manage their time. Planning and scheduling can help to keep coursework on track. For one thing, you should commit to limit the time spent on entertainment and social media (if you feel it may jeopardize your productivity). Try to squeeze in time for friends, hobbies, and self-care on the weekends between study sessions.
Getting ready for college may require planning and time; however, it will all be worth it in the end, seeing as it is a long-term investment. If it ever feels too overwhelming, remember these are what you’ll look back on and reminisce about after a few years. Do your best to achieve your goals while having fun at the same time.
Good luck on your new journey!