The summer before college is bound to be one of your most memorable—and one of your busiest. It should be spent with loved ones; it should be full of adventure. It should also be used to carefully plan the next four years of your life.
When starting your summer, you should consider where you stand. Are you burnt out or are you energized?
This is the time to find out and act on what your priorities are. If you are feeling burnt out, take a break. Spend quality time with family and friends, try new activities and old activities you love. Take a break, you have earned it! But stay focused towards your goals.
In between fun activities, find some time to prepare for your freshman year.
Some things to consider when preparing for freshman year of college are:
- Use the time for academic enrichment. Summer is a valuable time to gain an advantage academically as you enter your freshman year of college. Review old material and research which classes are required for freshman year of your major. This will boost your confidence and increase your ability to engage in class discussions more effectively. You may even be able to find the syllabi for your intro classes online, and get a head start on some of the first weeks’ reading!
- Research the campus activities and alumni accomplishments to gain a deeper understanding of pathways available at your university. This information is available on university websites and can be accessed through the search engine.
- Research your major department and professors whose interests and courses align with yours. Familiarize yourself with your major department staff, its programs, other activities such as seminars and resources available to students. This way you will know who to ask if you need any help and find student organizations. Then, you can interact with these organizations during orientation and start building connections.
- If you are moving to a new location, get acquainted with the area. Research or tour, if possible, and find places of interest such as restaurants, parks, shopping malls and other recreational activities in the area. If you can’t make it to the town or city you’ll spend the next four years in, you can always save places as “Want to go” in Google Maps! For extra preparation, locate local hospitals and other essential services such as grocery stores. Visiting a new place with family or friends can bring a sense of comfort and community, easing you into your home for the next four years.
- After you attend orientation, review or plan your graduation timeline based on information provided by the orientation staff. This is a crucial step in developing a strong foundation for the next four years. Building a pathway to graduation is about organization and this starts on orientation day. With a strong graduation plan, you will graduate in a timely manner with a vision of your next steps.
- Of course, spend time with family and friends. College is a new and exciting experience but it is also rigorous academically. You may find yourself in a situation where you must prioritize your academics over social activities. It is important to visit with loved ones and spend quality time to build memories to hold you over through such times.
If this is your summer before college, have fun and also make it count. You’ll thank yourself later!