You’ve earned your high school degree. It’s time to close that chapter and get ready for the next: college. Summer break looms and with it the opportunity to get things accomplished and prepare for the college experience that awaits.
As incoming freshmen, there’s so much to think about and so many things to do before going to college. It’s helpful to create a “summer before college bucket list,” to help you figure out what you need to get done the summer before college.
Practical to-dos aren’t always fun, but they help keep things moving smoothly so you have time to enjoy the items on your fun to-do list. Let’s get started.
1. Have a Yard Sale
Now’s a great time to get rid of items you no longer need or use. After all, you need to make room for all the new stuff you’ll accumulate as a college student. If you’re moving to campus, you’ll likely be sharing a cozy ... ahem, tiny ... room with someone else, so you need to look at your “stuff” while bearing that in mind.
A yard sale, whether in your front yard or through a Facebook garage sale community, gives you the opportunity to pocket some cash and pares down the items to take with you or put in your parent’s attic.
2. Say Goodbye to High School
As you prepare to close this chapter and begin a new one, thank teachers, school staff and mentors, especially any who wrote you a recommendation for your college applications. This can be done in person or by sending thank you notes. Don’t forget to thank your spiritual mentors and pastors, as well. You may even make plans to keep in contact with them in the future.
3. Take Care of Medical and Dental
It’s time to get a routine physical, eye exam, dental cleaning, OBGYN and other checkups completed. Submit required forms to the college, research if you’ll need to get your own health insurance coverage and make sure you’re up-to-date with your school’s vaccination requirements.
4. Find a Doctor Near Campus
If you require ongoing care, locate a doctor near your campus. The college health center may be able to provide the care you need. Ask your current doctor for recommendations.
5. Schedule a Meeting with Your Academic Advisor
Reach out to your academic advisor as soon as possible. Ask about coursework that meets your credit requirements as well as your personal interests. Find out the earliest you can register to get the classes you want.
6. Register for Classes
In your first semester or two, you won’t be able to choose many electives. Instead, you're automatically placed in mandatory classes, or you're invited to a summer orientation to finalize class selections. The earlier you take care of this process, the more likely you'll get the classes you want to attend in the time slots you want.
7. Purchase Textbooks
After your classes are nailed down, it’s time to purchase textbooks. Reach out to your professors and find out what books you'll need. Check out online discount and used book outlets such as Chegg. You’ll get a good price on textbooks, and you’ll avoid the lines.
8. Open a Bank Account Near Campus
9. Set Up a Budget
Get your parent’s help to work out a budget you can live by.
10. Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts
Now is a good time to go through all your social media accounts and ask yourself, would someone would want to hire you? Date you? Mentor you? Would they find any of your posts questionable or objectionable?
Do you want someone to see your accounts and think of you as a person in high school, or as someone more mature? Something to think about.
You’re transitioning into a time when your social media presence may impact opportunities available to you. You don’t want to leave anything from your past or post anything in the future that is embarrassing, illegal or questionable.
11. Update Your Technology and Gadgets
Make sure your computer meets the standards and requirements of your coursework. For example, someone earning an IT degree needs more computing power than someone earning an English degree. In our increasingly plugged-in world, however, everyone is likely to benefit from cleaning up their computers — removing old apps, bloatware and downloaded videos that are clogging your storage and dragging down your speed. Alternatively, you may want to start from scratch with a brand-new laptop. They make great graduation gifts.
12. Download College-Helpful Apps
- Staying connected with family and loved ones
- Studying more efficiently
- Staying organized
- Meeting deadlines
- Making schedules and managing your time
13. Find a Job
If you want or need to work, you should begin looking for a summer job in your hometown as soon as possible, even before summer break is underway.
The closer it gets to the fall semester's start, the more you'll be competing for jobs in your new location as well.
14. Apply for Scholarships
Don’t put off applying for scholarships. Many may still be available.
15. Submit/Finalize Paperwork
Make sure your college paperwork is completed and submitted, such as:
- Housing forms
- Financial aid and loan applications
- Orientation and class registration
- Placement exam signups
16. Attend Orientation
Orientation can be fun as well as beneficial. It’ll also make you more comfortable with the changes you'll face when the semester begins.
Now that you’ve taken care of those things that need to be done, it’s time to do the things that are more fun!
17. Spend Time with Your Family
Spend lots of time with your family. Make memories. Take pictures. You’ll miss them when you make the big move. Create fun memories to look back on and to be reminded of how much you love each other ... even that pesky little brother or sister.
18. Spend Time with Your Hometown Friends
Spend time with your high school friends because it may be a while until you see them again. Believe it or not, it may even be years before you see some of them. It’s time to make a few more good memories, so pick a favorite spot or activity and invite your favorite people to join you.
19. Reach Out to Your New Roommate
Reach out to your new roommate. You’ll want to know a little about them before you find yourself living in that cozy dorm room with them. When it comes to roommates, you may or may not click initially. 'Love thy neighbor' - and roommate - and everything will go a lot more smoothly. You may find your roommate becomes your new best friend.
20. Tour New Town and Campus
If possible, spend some time exploring the new town and campus you'll soon call home. It’ll be fun to see all the new places you’ll want to visit and explore in the near future. It’ll give you something to look forward to as well.
Time to go shopping to buy new clothes, gear for your dorm room and school supplies. Don’t go overboard, however. Save some shopping for after you move. This gives you a chance to explore the stores in the town to which you're moving.
22. Check Out Campus Clubs and Organizations
Campus clubs and organizations provide fun ways to fill your schedule, give you an outlet for your energy and give you an opportunity to meet others who share the same interests as you.
23. Cross Items off Your Bucket Lists
In a couple of short months, you’re going to be very busy with your new life. Take a look at your current bucket lists and determine if there are any items you want to accomplish before you begin your new life in the fall.
24. Try New Fitness Activities
Now is a good time to explore new fitness activities that reduce stress. These will be useful when coping with the challenges of college.
25. Read a Book
Before hitting the maybe not-so-fun books in the fall, find a cozy spot and read a couple of books just for fun right now.
26. Create a Summer Playlist
Put together a playlist of all your favorite music from your high school days. Pick songs that bring fun and favorite memories to mind. Play it now and in the future when you're feeling nostalgic.
Take one last trip with family or friends. Did someone say, “road trip!?” Enjoy yourself, relax and make memories!
28. Visit Favorite Spots
Carve out time to visit some of your favorite hometown spots. Enjoy your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant. Go hiking on a much-loved trail. Visit local landmarks you’ve been meaning to check out. Go sit on your favorite park bench. Go do your favorites!
29. Enjoy a Hobby
Take up a new hobby or totally immerse yourself in one you already enjoy. You won’t have as much time to devote to hobbies once school starts in the fall.
30. Re-invent Yourself
As you embark on this journey, you might want to reinvent yourself. Don’t go overboard, but consider making a few changes. Change your hairstyle. Try new makeup. Get a makeover. Start working out. Shake up your wardrobe. When you show up for class the first day, no one will question your new look. They’ll just accept it as you. Who do you want to be?
Relax, Enjoy and Get Ready for School
Your top priority this summer should be to relax and enjoy. Savor every single moment.