College is starting in less than a month and whether you are an incoming freshman or a returning undergraduate, there are a few things to remember before the semester begins. The transition from summer into the school routine can be tough, but it is better to have everything organized and prepared beforehand and to eliminate stress that can be caused by rushing to get everything finished at the last minute. Assignments come the first week, so be prepared mentally and physically.
1. Finances: How are you paying for school? Are your loans or credit cards secured? Have you secured your scholarships? Do you have your financial aid for your school finished? If not, this would be the first priority.
FAFSA: Federal Student Aid
2. Living Arrangements: Are you living on campus, off campus or at home? If you are living on campus you have to make sure that you are in a location that is close to where your classes are or where transportation is available. Make sure that you have all of your necessities, including your meal plans arranged. Make sure all of your electricity outlets work, heating/air, cable is installed and there are no plumbing problems (if you are in an apartment)!
Here is a checklist provided by CollegePrep101:
  • Television
  • DVD player
  • NetFlix membership
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator (or a micro-fridge combo unit)
  • Cell phone with good service/coverage where your college is
  • Digital camera to capture all your new friends and fun
  • I-Pod/MP3 player/Stereo with a docking station
  • Computer (preferably a laptop), with peripherals
  • Three prong extension cords
  • Power strip/surge protector
  • Sports equipment (football, volleyball, basketball, and any other type of ball)
  • Desk Lamp
  • Alarm Clock (maybe two)
  • Laundry bag or basket
  • Laundry soap
  • Stain Remover/stain stick
  • Knowledge of how to do laundry or money to pay someone else to do it
  • One or more rolls of quarters (for laundry, the coke machine, tolls, etc.)
  • Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover
  • Sewing kit (needles and threads, safety pins, two-sided tape, etc.)
  • Eating utensils (preferably plastic)
  • Cups and plates – plastic or Styrofoam (washing dishes in a community bathroom isn’t fun)
  • Twin XL Bedding – Most dorm beds measure 39 x 80 – so you will need extra long twin sheets, mattress pads and featherbeds. Blankets tend to be longer but for comforters an extra long twin is helpful to avoid cold toes twin XL comforters range from 66 x 90 to 68 x 92.
  • Anything to decorate your room and make you feel at home
  • Iron and small ironing board
  • PDA/organizer/planner
  • Backpack
  • College clothes (leave the high school T-shirts and letter jackets at home)
  • Bike and a (good) bike lock
  • Fan (campus housing may have poor air circulation)
  • Bath towels, soap, robe, etc.
  • Personal hygiene items (toothpaste, deodorant, etc…)
  • Shower shoes, flip flops
  • Shower caddy for toiletries (if you have a community bathroom)
  • Small can-opener and bottle opener
  • First aid kit, including Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, ace bandage, etc.
  • Tylenol or other pain reliever
  • Umbrella
  • Raincoat
  • Rain shoes/boots
  • Pictures of family, friends and/or pets
  • Your insurance card/health insurance information
  • Phonebook from your hometown (so you can call and order flowers for your Mom on her birthday, etc.)
  • Insurance agent contact information
  • Friends and family contact list
  • Swimsuit(s)
  • Workout and/or sports clothes
  • “Dress” clothes (guys, this means at least a blazer and one or more ties)
  • “Grubby” clothes (who knows if you’ll go clean up along the highway, paint someone’s house or need to play football in the mud)
  • Confidence
  • Positive attitude
  • Textbooks – You don’t have to buy them from your school. Affordable college textbooks are available online. Savvy college students have realized they can now rent college textbooks instead of buying, in order to save money on books.
3. Know your location and surroundings: You want to memorize your schedule and take a walk through of where your classes are beforehand. Most college campuses will have maps on their website to print off of the campus and also directory maps outside on campus, look over these maps. Find the most important locations: campus security, health services, student information commons, financial aid department, the bookstore, library, cafeteria, gym, showers and laundry room. Find out the nearest grocery store, clothing stores, cafe, hospital and pharmacy. Take a walk outside of campus to become familiar with your surrounds and map out the fastest routes to your classes. Do not walk alone or at night, make sure you have a go to person and/or emergency contacts on hand. Don’t leave your cell phone behind!
4. Know the public transportation routes, shuttle bus schedules, or signup for a carpool group to get where you need to be. Do not be late!
5. Organization: Have all of your books and supplies ready for the first week of class, you will be getting assignments that first week! Make sure you have a planner; you will be swamped with things to remember. Find a study area: the library, study hall, a bookstore or cafe will do. Make sure that you have a laptop. Most schools offer free Wi-Fi, but just in case find a network provider. Find a study group where you can meet new people. Make sure you get at least one contact from each of your classes. More than likely, professors will not care about you missing that assignment. It is still due that day, even if you were not in class.
6. Talk with your professors/find a mentor. Find someone that you can go to for advice about school. It can be a counselor, professor or coach. If you need help ask or join a study group. Keep in close communication with your professors, if you are not going to be in class, email them. Or if it a large college, make sure you ask that contact from class beforehand about taking notes and getting assignments for you.
7. Get enough sleep: The average young adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep, but most college students really only get 5-7 hours.
·         Develop a consistent bedtime or wakeup time, but not both.
·         Don’t eat or exercise in the last few hours before you go to bed.
·         Don’t drink much in the hour before you sleep, and use the bathroom right before you go to bed.   This reduces the likelihood of waking up to use the toilet.
·         Don’t get in the habit of reading, watching TV, listening to music, or doing anything that engages your mind when you’re in bed.
·         Learn how to clear your mind. Take time for down time before bed.
·         Abstain from alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and medicines that can affect your sleep. Continue abstaining from the use of these products for the duration of the test. (Consult your doctor before abstaining from prescribed medicines).
Avoid taking naps.
8. Take care of yourself: exercise and eat right. It is important to rest to keep your immune system up. There are a lot of germs going around and when flu season comes you want to make sure that you’re protected. If you prefer, get a flu shot, most schools offer them on campus. Carry hand sanitizer. Wipe down any public computers. Always eat breakfast, keep hydrated- drink lots of water and try to exercise in the morning to get your energy up, it will help keep you focused in class. Avoid caffeine (this may be impossible), but take a daily vitamin instead.
9. Time management: Set priorities. You might be the type to be involved in as many activities as possible, but first feel out your classes. The class syllabus will show your assignments for the semester. Make sure that your academics come first. The planner comes in handy, write out all the information that is in your syllabi into your planner: exams, papers and projects due. If you are working or plan on getting a job, have one secured before school so you can rearrange the work schedule ahead of time. Add in your social events, games and club events as well.
10. Don’t wait until the last minute to do your work, you eventually will get it done, but the stress and lack of sleep will drain you. You want to feel good about getting your assignment finished, not just be relieved that it is. If you need an extension ask a week ahead of time. Studying cannot wait until the night before and if you haven’t been keeping up with readings you are in for an all nighter and that is not good when you have an exam the next day. Find partners in class to help with the study guides and questions from quizzes.