Our Guide to Preparing for College!
Preparation is really your best friend when it comes to getting ready for the big launch: heading off to college! It is never too early to get organized, prepared, and to budget for the many expenses that will be heading your way in this big life transition. Whether you’re a parent of a graduate, or a graduate yourself, this blog will help you feel confident and ready.
- Get yourself a big calendar! Yes, one of those annoyingly large grids, or a tabletop paper pad will work great. Enter in every deadline you have for financial aid, scholarships, early admission, essay deadlines, and when you need references from teachers or employers. Add in dates for your senior project or senior boards, and of course your senior photos! Seeing everything all at once will help you better estimate the time you need to complete them, and also make sure you don’t miss a huge deadline.
- Color code everything: Your senior year and the summer before you leave for college will be filled with more papers than you can imagine! Create color coded folders or a filing system on your computer (we recommend Trello if you want to do this all digitally) so that important applications and essays don’t get lost in the shuffle. For example, if you have papers that all relate to financial aid or FAFSA, color code them with purple sticky notes and in a purple folder. That way, you know where to search when you need an item from that stack.
- Begin making a budget and saving: Senior year is filled with tons and tons of expenses, so we know there’s not a lot of extra income laying around! But, making a list of things you’ll need to purchase before you leave for college can help you budget accordingly. Some examples for your list would be: textbooks, laundry hamper, hangers and storage, sheets and towels, school and paper supplies, things you may need for your laptop or tablet, chargers, cell phone plan, food and a mini fridge, any school outfits or uniforms for sports. Estimate high, and divide these incidental expenses by the amount of months you have left until you leave. This will help you hit monthly goals that you can deposit into an account or save up in cash.
- Purge the things you don’t need anymore: Instead of leaving behind bins of old clothes, things you don’t want to keep, or old papers/schoolwork, try to purge it before you go. You’ll have less clutter to come home to, and you can even have a yard sale to earn some extra money. You can also take items to consignment stores if you need a little extra cash as well.
- Don’t forget to have fun! Amid the hustle and bustle of your senior year, it can be easy to become exhausted, sick, or frustrated with all you have to do. It is also the last time you may have with friends and family before college takes so much of your time, so be sure to soak it in!