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Posted 
Apr 5, 2021
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The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs,

blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and

format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The summer before college is an extremely busy time in your life -- you might be working as much as possible to save money, you’ll also need to start buying everything you need for your new dorm room, and you’ll also want to do some extra things to make your transition to college life as smooth as possible. 

As we head into the fall of 2021, many colleges are expecting to resume their traditional schedules. This includes regular, in-person instruction, traditional living arrangements, athletics, and dining experiences. For this reason, we believe preparing for college will look exactly like it did in the past and we are here to help you through this process.  

Nearly every college will send incoming students a list of items they will need to have by the time move in day arrives. This is a great tool and should be followed as closely as possible -- you might not need everything on the list, but changes are some things will come in handy when you least expect it. 

It’s also a good idea to arrive on campus familiarized with the area, the campus, and where your dorm room is in relation to other major landmarks like the buildings where you will have class. You’ll also want to take the summer to reach out to your future roommate, get to know each other, and coordinate the contributions each of you will make for the room. 

There are a variety of other preparations you’ll have to make before classes begin, so we’ve put everything you’ll need to do in a list. Depending on your college campus, choice of living arrangements, and type of instruction -- you might not need to complete everything we have listed. 

If you have any serious questions or concerns, it’s best to reach out to the different departments on your campus. These usually include residence life, health and counseling services, financial aid or a business office, student life, and the individual academic departments. Simply determine which category your question falls into and find the appropriate email address to send it to. 

Now, we will dive into the list of the preparations you should make before you arrive for orientation week! 

  • Submit Your Deposit
  • Respond to and Fill Out All of the Appropriate Forms 
  • Take Placement Exams 
  • Submit the FAFSA
  • Review Your Financial Aid Offer 
  • Schedule a Physical 
  • Schedule Classes 
  • Attend Pre-Orientation Events 
  • Determine Your Living Arrangements
  • Connect With Your Roommate 
  • Start Buying Items from the Checklist 

Submit Your Deposit 

Once you’ve decided on the best college for you, be sure to submit your deposit and secure your spot in the upcoming class. 

Before you start planning for your future college experience, you’ll have to submit your deposit. Now what exactly does this mean? Well, after you receive each acceptance letter from potential schools, the letter will detail what steps you need to follow should you decide to attend that school. 

This usually requires sending in a financial deposit between $50-500, in some cases more, to the school you want to attend. Essentially, this secures your place in the next class, and if you don’t submit the deposit, your place is not guaranteed. 

Once you receive each positive admission letter, be sure to keep track of important deadlines, like the last day to put down your deposit, or else the college might not be able to hold your place. This step is crucial for the following steps in our list. 

Respond to and Fill Out All of the Appropriate Forms 

Once you’ve officially become part of the college’s incoming freshmen class -- they will send you a variety of important information and forms you will need to fill out before you arrive. 

These could ask you what types of classes you’re interested in taking, what you plan to do for housing and meal plans, a record of your vaccination history, so on and so forth. 

Make sure you are actively checking your email for these types of things and respond to or fill out any information they require in a prompt manner. 

Take Placement Exams 

Placement exams go hand in hand with the forms we were just discussing. Your college may require you to take placement tests for math, language, and English. 

This will help determine what level you should begin in each of these disciplines. For example, you might take a placement test and discover you should start in pre-calc as opposed to regular calculus. 

Alternatively, language placement tests could determine if you need to take a language at all. Sometimes, if a student tests high enough, they will test out of needing to fulfil a course requirement and you will automatically satisfy the requirement through the placement test. 

So, be sure to take these tests seriously and do them to the best of your ability -- because if you have the opportunity to bypass a course requirement, you’ll be happy for it in the long run. 

Submit the FAFSA

Common mistakes when it comes to filling out and submitting the FAFSA. Image courtesy of College Financing Group.

The FAFSA is an abbreviation for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If you want to receive any type of financial aid to help pay for college from your institution, your state, or the federal government -- you need to fill out this application. 

States and colleges use this to determine which students will get financial aid and how much they will get. You’ll need to submit one application each year prior to the start of the academic year if you expect to receive financial aid for that year. We know that’s a mouthful, but if you want to receive any type of student loans from your institution or grants from the government, you definitely want to fill this out. 

The application will ask for information regarding your personal finances and your family’s finances, including tax returns from the previous year. So, you’ll most likely need the help of your parents or guardians when completing the application. 

Review Your Financial Aid Offer 

Sample financial aid award letter. Image courtesy of Access College America.

After submitting your FAFSA, your college will send you a financial aid package for the upcoming academic year. It will include the expenses for tuition, room and board, and any other fees your college might have. Then the letter will include total amounts you have received in aid for the entire year, but they will be broken down over the two semesters -- be sure to keep this in mind because you will only receive half one semester and half the following semester. 

Your financial aid package will include the scholarships you’ve earned as well as grant money from the state or federal government, and subsidized and unsubsidized loans. The difference between these loans is that the federal government will begin paying the interest on subsidized loans whereas you will be responsible for paying the interest on an unsubsidized loan as soon as you take it out. 

After reviewing your offer you will have the opportunity to cross off an awarded amount that you do not want or that you want to adjust. You can adjust the amount of each loan or get rid of them completely. 

Then you will need to sign the form and send it back to your institution. Most times they will mail you an updated version to show the corrections or adjustments you’ve made to your package. 

Once you accept a loan, you will need to follow the steps to complete it -- meaning fill out the necessary paperwork and any other additional steps.    

Schedule a Physical 

Before you can register for classes, most colleges will require you to have a physical and submit a vaccination history. If you need any shots, you will need to get them at the time of your physical. 

It’s best to also ask any questions regarding wellness before you leave for school. This means who to contact if you need counseling services or personal wellness while you’re on campus. 

Schedule Classes

This is different depending on your college or university. Some schools will ask you to submit a form gauging your interest level in each department. Based on this form, they will select your courses for you. 

Other schools will require you to meet with your advisor to help set up a schedule, and then you will need to register for classes later. 

Some schools will want you to come in with your major already selected, while others will make you wait at least one semester before declaring. Sometimes it’s best to see what interests you before making that critical decision on what you’ll be majoring in -- you never know what could immediately grab your attention!

Attend Pre-Orientation Events 

Before you arrive for orientation week, over the course of the summer, some colleges will host events that will connect you with your future classmates, current students, and professors. If you’re anxious about transitioning to life away from home -- take advantage of these events!

They will help familiarize you with the campus, faculty, and students -- you might even make friends during one of these events and be ahead of the game once classes start. 

Determine Your Living Arrangements

Living in a dorm can be overwhelming at first, but we promise you will adjust!

Some colleges and universities require first year students to live on campus and buy a meal plan, while others leave the option up to the student. If your school sounds like the first option, then you know you’ll be preparing to live on campus. 

The remaining students will need to weigh the pros and cons of living on campus, renting an apartment, or living at home. Then you’ll need to decide whether or not you want a meal plan. 

Living on campus is a good option if you want everything to be ready for you when you arrive. Campus housing provides students with a desk, bed frame, mattress, and a dresser or wardrobe. If you decide to live off campus, you’re responsible for buying your own furniture for the space.

Additionally, off-campus housing usually means you will be responsible for providing your own meals and buying groceries. A meal plan eliminates this, unless you want to have food in your dorm room. However, meal plans can get expensive depending on how many meals per day you would like to have. 

As we’ve said, you need to determine the best option for yourself and go from there. 

Connect With Your Roommate 

Living with someone new can be scary and overwhelming, so be sure to connect with them as soon as possible to get to know each other!

If you’ve decided to live on campus, you will usually have the option to select a roommate or go random and let the school decide. If you choose the second option, once the school notifies you of who your roommate is -- reach out to them. 

You don’t want to walk in blind without any idea of who the person you’re living with is! So, our best advice is to connect with them, get to know a little bit about them, and then discuss plans for your room. 

Planning your room is important because you might not have a lot of space, so if you both show up on move-in day with refrigerators, there may be a problem. You might want to divide costs and plan for one of you to buy a mini fridge while the other buys a microwave or a futon. You might also determine if you want a TV, vacuum, fan, or any other big ticket items you think are essential to daily life.

At this point, if you have any concerns about living together or how you want to share the space -- wait until you arrive. Many RA’s (resident assistants) will have you complete a roommate agreement where the both of you will determine things like what time the lights go out at night, when visitors are welcome, how you plan to handle any potential conflicts. 

But during the summer months -- keep the conversations light, upbeat, and focus on planning your room before you dive into any negatives or serious concerns. 

Start Buying Items from the Checklist 

Sometimes buying all of your items in one set can save on headaches later!

As we mentioned earlier, your school will send you a complete list of everything you need to live in a dorm room. You should attempt to follow this as closely as possible, unless there’s something you absolutely do not think you’ll need. 

To break it down into five basic categories -- you’ll need bedding, shower supplies, laundry, desk supplies, and household supplies. 

To set up your bed, you’ll need sheets, pillows, a comforter, and one to two throw blankets. These are the bare basics, but you can add accent pillows and anything else that will make your personality shine. 

In the shower supplies category, you’ll need all of your shower and bath products, towels, hand towels, wash cloths, a shower caddy, flip flops, and a robe is usually a good idea. 

In the laundry department -- make sure you arrive on campus knowing how to do your own laundry! You need detergent, and any other items like fabric softener, bleach, dryer sheets, etc and a bag to carry your laundry back and forth. 

Desk supplies is largely up to you -- however, we suggest a lamp, notebooks, pens, pencils, flash cards, planner and anything you need to help stay organized and focused. 

Lastly, household items can include electronics like chargers for your phone and laptop, extension cords, a water bottle, mug, bowls, plates, silverware, utensils, tissues, and any other toiletries you use on a daily basis. Of course be sure not to forget your clothes!

If you keep up to date with all of the forms, information, and tasks you need to complete before arriving for move-in day, your transition to college will be as easy and smooth as possible!

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