Hey Seniors: YOU MADE IT! If all went according to plan (and I sincerely hope it did!) then you’ve submitted your enrollment deposit to the college of your dreams! But suddenly all that stress you were feeling about getting in and choosing the perfect school has been replaced with an ever more present realization that this college thing is really happening. High school is going to be over in no time and then there are only a couple months of summer between you and your future. Your parents have been hoarding Bed Bath & Beyond coupons for months in preparation to fund that “Dorm Room” Pinterest board you so subtly shared with them, but is that really it? Is getting ready for the fall as easy as playing Tetris with storage crates in your parents’ SUV? There is a bit more to it than that, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed. Here are some helpful hints to get you truly ready for fall:
- Decline other offers. This is a selfish request on behalf of all other college professionals out there. Please let your second, third, and fourth choices know they won’t be seeing you in the fall. This is immensely helpful as schools may have waitlisted students sweating it out and those offers can’t be made until they have accurate numbers.
- Check your college’s website. Now that you’re enrolled for fall you’ve probably been getting tons of communications from them. Many host an online portal for new students with a checklist for fall. Be sure that things get where they need to be when they need to be there and you’re signing up early for housing, orientation, and all other pre-college tasks.
- Fill out ALL the forms. ALL OF THEM. Back in my admissions days I would help sign in students on move-in day and I was always alarmed by how many families had neglected the paperwork that comes along with starting school. Did you complete and submit all medical forms? All bills payed and financial aid agreements signed (looking at you, Mom and Dad!)? Move in day will have plenty of anxiety and high emotion on its own without having to find a local clinic to get that immunization you forgot about.
- Be ready to go all out! Orientation committees work hard all year designing a first week on campus that will help you forget to miss home and make tons of new friends and connections. Yes, some of the activities will be cheesy but it is that very cheesiness that will bond you with your new classmates and be the source of dozens of photos you’ll tear up with nostalgia about four years from now at graduation. Jump in head first and make the most of it!
Finally, be prepared for the thing that your parents, principal, teachers, guidance counselors, and college reps have been warning you about for a while now: your independence. Yes, it’s liberating and awesome but it really is on you to make your college time successful. No one is going to chase you down and make you do your homework anymore so it’s time to decide: what do you want your college years to look like? Where do you want to be when you graduate in four years? Most importantly, what is it going to take on a yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily basis for you to get there? Carpe diem my friends…and yes, a mini-fridge really is a good idea while you’re at it.