At this point, you have put in your deposits and committed to your school of choice. Now, there are a few more things to tend to:
1- Make sure you have an id and password to your college account. Check your account with them and make sure you have accepted all grants and scholarships, make sure you've told them if you want to accept any loans that were offered, and make a note on your calendar regarding when your payment for fall semester is due (typically no later than mid-August).
2- Add the parents to your account as approved recipients of any financial information/bills. Each school will have some way that the parents can be added to the account as someone approved to access the billing system and/or talk with people in the finance dept about the student's account.
3- Look for a roommate- While you hear occasional stories of people getting a randomly assigned roommate and it works out great, there are more horror stories than good ones. A bad roomie can mess up your whole freshman experience. Go on the Facebook page of the incoming class of your school (almost all have them) or go on the school's own online meet-up site for finding a roommate.
Ask things like:
- Do you like to stay up late or go to bed early?
- Do you want our room to be the social hub, where people come to hang out, or do you want to keep it quieter for studying?
- Honestly- Do you drink? Do you smoke anything? Do you want to do it in the room?
- Do you plan or expect to have overnight visitors, especially people you're dating?
- What funny habits do you have that I need to know about?
- Do you plan to rush a frat or sorority?
- What kind of clubs do you plan to get into? (You can get an insightful impression of someone by what they plan to join)
- What tv shows do you like to watch?
4- Find out what medical and insurance information the school needs on you- All schools will require proof of medical insurance and your immunization records. Find out what your school needs and provide it by their deadline.
5- Pick your dorm- Many colleges have substance-free dorms, which I highly recommend. It doesn't mean that everyone living there is taking a vow to be substance free but at least they're promising not to do it in the dorm, where it can become problematic for roommates. Ask about the security protocols in place for each one. Choose dorms that have a central lobby with a desk attendant over dorms where the dorm door opens directly out to the outside.
6- Sign up for registration and orientation- Make this a priority! When you go, be ready to:
- pick your classes,
- get your official ID,
- sign up for your meal plan of choice
- find out about the routine for moving in on the first day,
- learn about the Student Services resources for tutoring and support if you start to struggle,
- sign up for some clubs and organizations of interest,
- get your book list for your classes (rent if possible),
- see if you can take a look at your future room. Find out what furniture is provided and if they will offer to loft the beds
- meet your advisor if possible
- get a laptop if you don't already have one. When you look around campuses, you'll notice about 80% have Macs. Insure it.
- register your laptop and other valuables with campus security (they'll give you a barcode sticker to stick on the bottom)
- find out about what transportation is available for students who fly back and forth (Is there a college airport shuttle during the holidays?)
- decide if you want to have a bike on campus- get a good lock
- find out if you can have a car on campus and how to get a parking sticker
7- Discuss with your parents how you'll handle money for the coming year- Get a student checking account and a debit card. Discuss whether the parents will deposit a certain sum into the account for monthly incidentals. (This is what we do for our kids, to encourage them to pay attention to budgeting and planning.) Or, will the parents instead let the student have a credit card that is tied to the parents' account?
8- Send a thank you note (or at least an email) to the people who wrote your rec letters and tell them of your decision and thank them for being part of your process.
9- Make some great memories over the summer with your family. Students, your parents have poured 18 years of hopes, dreams, worry, sacrifice and time into trying to give you everything that would help you have a remarkable and happy life. THANK THEM. They are your greatest advocate in this world.