We are sure you’ve heard it enough by now, but you can never stop giving when it comes to good information. It’s important to start your first year of college off right. This list has the potential to set the proper tone for success through to graduation.
Apply to last-minute grants. Interest your student into applying to all available scholarships or Grants. The summer before the fall semester and during senior year of high school is the time when you should be sending in your applications. The money will help soothe the burden caused by college finances, especially when it’s free money. That’s right free, as in, you don’t have to pay it back. Colleges offer scholarships on an annual basis. Grants are free money, just like scholarships. But there is a difference between the two. Grants are based around the need of the student and Scholarships are awarded based on specific traits, whether it be athletics, academic performance, or you served in the military. Grants can also be awarded via the state, federal or via private sponsor through your school.
Review financial aid. Go over your student bill and expenses and ensure that all bills are paid with nothing owed to the college, else it may interrupt you from getting a fresh start. Set up your bank accounts and credit cards. Organize your paperwork for student loans and other important financial aid documents. It’s also good to sit down as a family to discuss any extra every day costs from tuition fees to transportation costs. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of not having enough funds to get you through each month. Unexpected changes to your game plan have the potential to disrupt your endgame. It’s never too soon to draw out a budget so that you may live within your means.
Comply with College Health insurance/immunization policies. The topic of health insurance isn’t usually at the forefront of everyone’s minds when it comes to starting freshman year at college. It should be known that it is a requirement by most US colleges to be covered by a major medical plan. Living in a dorm during your freshman year of college may have its benefits when you’re aching to get away from home. It’s free of parental figures, some have coed floors and the little things like 24-hour food delivery and living with your new friends. There are always health concerns but not the ones you’d immediately think of. According to the CDC, a freshman who live in college dorms seven times more likely to catch meningitis. In the instance of a student dorm, sickness can spread rather quickly, therefore it is important to get the proper medications before the start of school. Also, if you take medication long term, transfer them to a local pharmacy on or near the school’s campus.
Learn about your school through their website. Search your school on the web and start clicking. Learn as much as you possibly can and plan for your arrival. You can find endless amounts of information on your school and what they have to offer you by reading up on their website. You might even find something that they might miss in the new student orientation meeting. It’s always good to be in the know. You can dive into your college course pages and have a look at what to expect among the first of your upcoming classes. If you’re close, or already on campus, you could check out the locales and learn all the most popular spots recommended by other students and alumni. If you’re in the city, research the surrounding area. Get yourself informed of the local area and plan accordingly. Learn your routes and gauge your distances to learn all the best ways of getting around.
Get organized. Should you find yourself lacking something of a notebook, tablet or laptop variety, then there is no time like the present. This device will essentially serve as the center point of your four-year college experience. You could go the distance without it, but why limit yourself with the competition of getting an open computer in the lab during finals week? You also don't want to be the only one at college unable to take notes, do research, or be confined to just your phone when collaborating with other students. Just make it easier on yourself and get yourself some tech, you’ll be happy you invested. Start marking your calendar and make notes of key academic dates such as the start and end of classes, finals week and vacation times to look forward to. You can usually find this info on your school’s website.
Practice time management. New social circles can be distracting from getting the most important work done. Don’t let the stresses of coursework and the duties of independent living cause you to lose track of time or shift your focus on what is important. This new transition of living and learning comes with a multitude of reasons as to why it is important to practice proper time management. It’s also healthy to fit play alongside work. Working constantly with no breaks will eventually wear you down and then you’ll fail whether you want to or not. It’s important to get accustomed to these new responsibilities as soon as possible to avoid falling behind.
Attend New Student Orientation. Since you’re just starting your first year of college, get yourself to the first new student orientation session. Set your goals for your upcoming year and design a plan on how to properly manage your stress and balance your work, because you’ll need it. Finalize your arrangements with student housing and plan a visit so you know what to expect. Your school should offer you good information such as key locations around campus, how to pick courses and navigating the college portal. While you’re attending orientation on campus, it’d be a good idea to have a look at the dining and living facilities. Always plan so that you can react accordingly.
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