12 Things To Do Before Going Off To College

We know it’s an exciting time. You’re about to move away for college. And while you’ve probably already done everything you need to do, you should double check. Sometimes we can forget something — minor or crucial — because we’re so excited, nervous, scared or in shock.

Here are 12 things you should make sure you’ve completed before heading off to college.

  1. Make sure your financial aid has gone through. Check the status on your FAFSA online and call your school’s financial aid office to ensure your loans, grants or scholarships have been processed.
  2. Sign up for freshman or transfer orientation, which will likely occur right before the semester starts. While orientations vary, many set out to achieve the following:
    - Meet other students
    - Discuss classes and majors with academic advisors
    - Register for classes (if you haven’t already)
    - Learn about campus resources
  3. Buy an ethernet cable. Your dorm may have wifi, or you may have your own wifi network, but connecting directly to the Internet with an ethernet cable may mean faster and more secure Internet. Check out Amazon’s selection of ethernet cables or even your school’s bookstore.
  4. Double check that you’re all set up with your living situation, whether that means calling the housing department at your school to verify your dorm situation or double checking with a landlord or roommate that you’re all set to move in to an apartment or house.
  5. Plan out which welcome week events you’ll attend. Many colleges pack the first week of college with events that orient new students to the school. Colleges welcome week events consist of:
    - Free barbecue food and ice cream
    - Residence hall meetings
    - Informational sessions on academic offerings
    - A football game
    - Plan ahead so you won’t miss out on the events you want to attend.
  6. Don’t leave your house and hop in the car or on that plane without crucial little items, like retainers, inhalers and spare keys (for that surprise visit home).
  7. Make sure you’re registered for the classes you need and that none of none of them got cancelled. It’s rare, and you’d likely be notified, but sometimes a class may get cancelled if not enough people signed up. You’ll want to know if that happened as soon as possible, so you can replace the course.
  8. Can you even make it to your new city? Make sure the car you’re taking there is capable (get an oil change or have a mechanic take a look at it) or that your flight is booked and you have a way of getting to your new home from the airport.
  9. Colleges sometimes inform you who your dorm-mate will be. Meet this person if they live in your city, or video chat if you live in different cities. If you don’t click and have a chance of swapping for someone else, you’ll want to do that before the semester starts to avoid awkwardness.
  10. Don’t forget to buy some crucial dorm accessories if you’re living on campus. The checklist for this includes:
    - Desk lamp
    - Laundry bag
    - Shower caddy (because you might be using a shared bathing space)
    - Umbrella (if your a guy be prepared for the ladies)
    - Backpack

    You can buy these when you arrive, but you may want to not add to your already large to-do list and buy them ahead of time.

  11. Have a going-away party. Even if you’re the type who thinks throwing yourself a going-away party is narcissistic or arrogant, or are uncomfortable because it makes you the center of attention, it will give friends, family members and acquaintances a chance to say goodbye in person. You may see them when you visit but it’s good for everyone, including yourself, to celebrate the closing of a life chapter (and opening of a new one) together formally.
  12. Everything you like about your hometown: indulge in it. Eat at your favorite restaurants. Walk around your favorite parts. Drive down your favorite streets. Shop at your favorite stores. Hike your favorite hills. Bike your favorite trails. Swim your favorite pools. Rock out at your favorite venues. See your favorite local comedians perform. Hang out with your favorite people. It may be Thanksgiving before you can again.

If you can check everything off of this list, then you will likely be ready to start at your new college and begin your new life.

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