Adjusting To College Life, How To Plan Ahead

You did everything to prepare for college…

You purchased all your dorm supplies in advance, coordinated with your roommate, and have all your on-campus housing and financial aid paperwork complete…so what could possibly go wrong, right?

Well, no matter how prepared you might feel, adjusting to college life once you arrive on campus will take some getting used to.

Here a few things you can do the make the transition from high school to college a little easier:

  • Research Your New School & The Surrounding Area

Take some time over the summer to read about the school you’ll be attending this fall and the town or city it’s located in. Browse through all the admissions material you received in the mail one last time; there could be some information in there that will clue you in on how students spend their free time at school – i.e. sports schedules or a list of clubs and organizations.

Anything you can do to familiarize yourself with the school ahead of time will make you feel more prepared once you arrive on campus.

The internet is also a good resource. Once you’ve taken some time to thoroughly browse through the school’s website, gather some facts about the town and surrounding area. After all, this will be your new hometown for the next four years, so the two of you might as well get acquainted!

Moving away from home can be exciting, but scary, so try to keep a positive attitude. Having as much knowledge as possible about the school and surrounding area will likely ease your anxiety and make the experience of moving on campus more enjoyable.

  • Connect With High School Classmates

If you have classmates from high school who will be attending the same college as you, you might want to connect with them over the summer to exchange contact information before you guys get to campus .

Meeting up with someone from your “home turf” might help you get through the first couple weeks while the both of you are still trying to make new friends and get adjusted to college life.

  • Take Advantage of New Freshmen Programs

Most colleges offer various programs for newly admitted students during the spring or summer. Check to see if the college you plan to attend offers any programs for new freshmen. This is a great way to meet people and get acclimated to campus before move-in day.

Also, you might even be able to schedule an overnight visit with a current student during this same time period. I talk more about overnight campus visits in my post, “What To Expect During Overnight Campus Visits,” so read that post if you’re interested in learning more.

  • One Final Campus Visit

In my opinion, you can never go on too many campus visits – especially if you don’t live really far away from the school you plan to attend. I visited the college I graduated from at least 4 times before I officially moved on campus. (Okay, that might have been a little excessive, but I’m sure you get the point!)

It’s never a bad idea to make one final trip to your college over the summer with your family or friends. The more you visit, the more comfortable you’ll be come move-in day.

Even though the campus will likely be pretty empty if you visit over the summer, you can still familiarize yourself with all of the main buildings and any of the other locations that you might have read about online or in the college brochures.

  • Live Really Far Away? Try To Arrive Early!

If you live pretty far away and can’t justify the costs necessary to visit your college one last time before move-in day, try to see if you can move-in a day or two early. This will allow you enough time to get somewhat adjusted to your surroundings before all the other freshmen start bombarding campus.

It’ll also be nice to explore campus for a few days with your family before they head back home and it will also likely make saying goodbye a lot easier.

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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