You’ve finally done it. All your hard work has paid off.
You’ve been admitted to college after spending the better part of four years preparing for this moment. Now that the hard part is over and you’ve reached your goal, you’re probably wondering what’s next.
The transition from high school to college can bring about a mix of emotions, from excitement to anxiety. For many graduating seniors, you might feel at a loss wondering what to do while you eagerly await your first semester of college.
We feel you, so here are a few recommendations.
1. Consider Going to Summer School at a Local Community College
It’s understandable if you need a break from school, since you’ve spent the last 12 years just trying to get to where you currently are.
However, the summer is the perfect time to take care of some prerequisites that you’ll need for your college major. Many students opt to take basic courses like history, freshman composition, and math during the summer at a local community to get out of taking these basic courses during the college academic year. Summer school is also a great idea if your school only operates on a fall and spring schedule.
By taking summer courses, you can get ahead by taking credits that you’ll need for your first year.
Financially, it makes sense to take basic courses at a community college because they are normally cheaper than those at a four-year institution. Before deciding to take summer classes at the community college, first talk to an advisor at your university to ensure the courses you plan to take will transfer.
2. Check Up on Your Financial Aid and/or Scholarship Packages
If you have applied for financial aid or are expecting scholarship funds, do not take for granted that they’ll be there once you arrive on campus. Follow up with the financial aid office to ensure they have all the necessary documents in their possession.
If you’re receiving money from outside the college, then summer is the right time to follow up with whichever organization or foundation is in charge of awarding your scholarship or loan. Ask when the scholarship will be awarded or funds will be received, and be sure to know if the money will be applied annually or per semester. Finally, be sure that the amount awarded (through financial aid or another source) will cover things like tuition and room and board.
3. Get a Summer Job or Internship
In the same vein, you might want to consider finding a summer job to pay for expenses that will not be covered by scholarships, grants, or loans.
For example, not all scholarships and grants pay for books. Many students pay out of pocket for their books, which, in a given semester, can cost over $500.
Even if you don’t need to save money for college because you have a full scholarship or college savings account, it would still be a good idea to get a summer job or internship in the same field as your prospective major.
Many students spend the first two years of their college life relatively clueless about what they want to do later in life.
There’s nothing wrong with being undecided, but eventually you’ll need to select a major. By getting a summer job or internship in a field you might be interested in, you’ll be able to see if the work actually interests you.
Make room in your life now for your loved ones. Not only will you treasure the memories, but they’ll sustain you when college life gets tough.
It’s pretty common for students to pursue a field of study for all the wrong reasons. Don’t necessarily study a field because it’s what your parents want, or the job looks interesting on TV, or the median salary is high, or even because it inspires passion in you. The only way you’ll know whether the field is right for you is by diving in and working within it. Many careers seem appealing when you’re on the outside looking in, but you will only know the right choice after practically exploring the field. Hence, use your summer before going to college wisely, reducing the risk of wasting time after college working in a field you dislike.
Let’s say you take our advice and get a summer job, internship, or take a few prerequisites just to get them out of the way – don’t let commitment take up your entire summer.
You need to relax.
It’s good to travel, visit different places, and explore new ideas. It’s important to not burn out before college, since you have at least four years of learning left.
Before you sign up for calculus one and two at your local community college or commit to two different summer internships, remember that you need to have balance.
It’s great to get ahead, but you can’t get back the time you spent to earn those credits or make extra money. After all, you’ve worked so hard already, so why not take a break?
Which brings us to our last point…
5. Spend Time with Family and Friends
You may be dying to get away from your parents. There’s a possibility that you’ve already outgrown your high school friends and just can’t wait to start anew somewhere else. Perhaps you can’t wait to get out of your hometown and see the world.
But your friends and family are going to miss you. And you’ll find that when you go to college, you will miss them too. Take advantage of those few months you’ll have together before life gets crazy or hectic.
Do you have a sibling at home who looks up to you? Go on a trip with her. Do you have a best friend who will go to school hundreds of miles away? Hang out and relive the memories.
The old saying is true — sometimes you don’t miss someone until they’re gone. You won’t know how homesick you’ll be until it actually happens.
So make room in your life now for your loved ones. Not only will you treasure the memories, but they’ll sustain you when college life gets tough.
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