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Countdown To College


What college freshmen need to do this summer

By Lee Bierer
Lee Bierer
Lee Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte.

“What to do while you’re expecting”… to become a college freshman? This is the big summer of transition for soon-to-be first-year students. By the way, “first-years” is the preferred new term for college freshmen.

Here are some thoughts on prepping for college life:

Join your college’s Facebook page and sign up for emails from the Office of Student Life and the Admissions Office.

Figure out room and board. Send in your housing contract and decide which meal plan makes the most sense for you; most freshmen go with the most meals but rarely use them all.

Set up your own bank account and work with your parents to create a realistic budget. Once you know your meal plan you can figure out how much money you’ll need in “flex” dollars for pick-up meals, snacks, etc. Set expectations and discuss financial responsibility.

Go to your orientation program. Sign up as soon as you can. There’s likely to be a variety of outdoorsy bonding activities as add-ons. These are usually a very popular way for students to get to know one another before classes start.

Contact your roommate. Whether you allowed the college to match you or you and your roommate selected one another through social media, get together in person if possible. If you can’t make arrangements to see one another, then Skype and decide who is bringing what to school; microwave, television, rug, etc.

Start eating healthy. If you adopt good eating habits now, hopefully you won’t gain the famous “freshman 15.”

Sign up for your classes and purchase your textbooks. There’s a variety of great websites for used textbooks. The college bookstore is not typically the most cost-effective option.

Research student activities and clubs. Spend a little time on the college website and identify a handful of organizations that interest you.

Shortly after classes start there will be a club sign-up event, and it can be overwhelming. Student activities are where most students find their closest friends, because of their common interests. Don’t over-commit or your inbox will be flooded with emails, but this is a good time to try something new.

Buy only what you know you’ll need. Remember you are not headed to the hinterlands; there are stores near the campus. You are better off coming with less and purchasing what you’re certain you’ll use once you are there.

Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte.
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