Getting Ready for College - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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July 19, 2022

Getting Ready for College

You’ve made the step to go to college, plan on attending in the fall and now you’re wondering what comes next. Well, I can’t provide you with some crazy profound words of wisdom that will propel you towards inevitable success in college, but I can give you some useful preparatory advice. Before starting college, it is easy for one to get caught up in embracing the last months of summer. You just graduated from high school, you should. Nonetheless, there does come a point where the harsh slap of reality hits you and the start of college comes out of nowhere. I am here to gently nudge you awake before this happens by supplying you with a check list of things to do before you attend college in the fall.

  1. Gain Stability for Your Finances

At this point, you probably are working some long hard hours throughout the summer to gain some extra cash. This is a good idea because, believe it or not, being a full-time student can be a full-time job. Storing up a few bucks would be good idea at this point. But after you fill up your gas tank, knowing where to store your last remaining dollars can be puzzling (sorrowful joke about gas prices intended). Making sure you place whatever cash you have in your own checking account is important. After having this established, you will have access to a debit card that could help you in a pinch if you don’t have cash on hand during a future transaction. Whether finding a job on or off campus, having a set bank account in your name is important for direct deposit transactions to take place as well. Save yourself some time and get this done beforehand.

Side note, creating a saving’s account wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean saving up a portion of your paycheck isn’t possible. Create a savings account, deposit what you can into it, and let it grow.

  1. Attend Summer Orientation

If you have questions regarding the start of classes, Geneva provides incoming students with the opportunity to attend a handful of events before the fall semester. Summer orientation is a useful tool to have for both students and parents. The transition to college life comes with many unknowns ranging from details regarding move-in, financial aid, class schedules, etc. Summer orientation is an optional event, however the information you will gather while there will be very useful. If you want my advice, you should strongly consider attending.

  1. Plan Schedule, Buying Books, Contact Room Mate

Whether you like it or not, the time has come for you to be an adult. You must now schedule your own classes, buy your own school materials, and start connecting with the person you will be living with for the foreseeable future. At this point in the game, you should already have signed up for classes, but we often forget to write the details down. Laying your daily schedule out in advance and writing down the correlated course number and location of that class is helpful. Also, while buying your books and school materials seems like an obvious thing to do, believe it or not, I have run into countless people who forget to get this done. Inevitably, these same people then start running across campus, scrambling to get the necessary books and supplies during the first weeks of school. It’s like waking up early in the morning without finding time to make coffee. Will you survive? Yes… but barely. Just make sure you have what you need. Don’t cause yourself extra stress by being unprepared.

  1. Bring the Documents

Shopping with my mom as a kid was either a blast or a complete nightmare. I truthfully attended the occasion in order to conveniently slip in my opinions on what we should buy, hoping my mom will fall pray to my very bias suggestions. At the end of the ordeal, the checkout line is where we would end up. More often than not, my mom would forget something and say, “Wait here, I’ll be right back.” As the cashier would ring up all the customers in front of me, my anxiety would peak. Despite my many glances towards the back of the store, my mom would still be out of sight. I would watch as our full cart of groceries quickly disappeared. With each beep, the items dwindled. The cashier would then give me that pathetic look of sympathy as she stated the bill. With my mom still absent, I knew very well that I didn’t have that kind of cash. What should I do? Can I stall the cashier? Would crying evoke some crazy act of benevolence in one of my co-customers to front me some money? No, I knew what I had to do. In that moment, I would do the most logical thing… awkwardly stand there and smile.

Funny story but is it applicable to this checklist item? I think so. The point is, at college you are going to run into many different situations, possible doctors’ appointments, job interviews, etc., and they are going to ask you for specific documents to present in person. You don’t have to stand there waiting for your mom to get back to you from home to send them through the mail. Waiting for those specific documents for whatever reason is awkward and unnecessary. Now away from home, it is a good idea to be responsible for those confidential records and to bring them with you. I am not pulling this point out of thin air. Many times, I have run into friends on campus who forgot things such as their social security card, birth certificate and insurance cards. It caused some serious inconveniences. Don’t wait on your parents to send these, take it on yourself and safely tuck those in your suitcase for college.

  1. Say the “See You Soons”

You’re not leaving forever, but you are leaving for college. Walking at high school graduation is exciting and sometimes a sad thing as well with the prospect of ending a chapter of your life. However, the most melancholy moment will be when you walk out the door to head out to college. With the summer before you, don’t waste time. Hang out with friends as much as you can, make memories, enjoy the season of graduation while looking on toward the start of something new. Moving on is a beautiful thing, but don’t move on just yet. Be sure to cherish the remaining time at home, making sure that come August the sad “goodbyes” are replaced with hopeful “see you soons.”

When preparing for college, there is really never going to be that perfect formulaic solution that can tell you how you will be best prepared for when school starts. Inevitably, you will have to be flexible and up for sudden changes. Nonetheless, in my experience, having the above things nailed down has really helped me have a smoother transition into the school semesters. Take the tips or leave them, but summer will come to an end faster than you realize. So, I suggest you grab them now and get a move on.

- Abigail Forton ‘22

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Photo by Krišjānis Kazaks on Unsplash