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Starting off your freshman year of college is incredibly overwhelming. After all, you’re going to be on your own for the first time and will be meeting tons of new people.
So, we’ve put together our top 9 ways you can prepare for your freshman year of college. From financial tips and tricks to important skills you should know, we want to make sure you start your college career off on the right foot.
1. Be Sure to Choose the Right School
The first step of preparing for college is to find the right school for you. With so many colleges and universities across the country, you have a lot of choices.
Do you want to go to school in a city, suburb, or rural area? Do you want a large, medium or small-sized school? How close do you want to be to home? What schools offer programs that you are interested in? These are all great questions to ask yourself before making a final decision. Since you’re going to spend the next four years at this institution, you’ll want to make sure it is a good fit.
2. Schedule a Campus Tour
You probably already toured your college campus before applying. But, you also probably visited tons of other colleges in between. So, before starting your freshman year, you should try to schedule another campus tour to get familiar with the layout.
You can visit popular student hubs, check out the dorm rooms, and refresh your memory on the general layout of the campus.
3. Figure Out Your College Funding
An important part of the college planning process is understanding how you’re going to be able to pay your tuition. The first step in this process is to fill out the FAFSA form to see if you qualify for any federal student aid. For some people, federal student aid will cover the full cost or the majority of their tuition. However, that is not the case for all students.
After filling out the FAFSA, the next step is to find the best private student loan offers available. You should aim to find the most affordable private student loans through a trusted lender. You can also explore student loan refinancing options through a variety of online lenders post-graduation to get lower interest rates and better loan terms.
4. Keep an Eye Out for Scholarships
College is expensive, so getting help paying for it through scholarships is always a plus. Many students think that you can only get scholarships when you’re in high school, but many organizations offer scholarship funding to students of all ages.
So, throughout your college career, you should keep applying for new scholarships to help reduce the cost of your education overall.
5. Stay Organized
When you start college as a freshman, you’re likely going to be on your own for the first time. That means you need to be on top of your schoolwork without any helpful reminders from your parents.
Staying organized and honing in on your time management skills is key to a successful college career. You can do so by using time management programs, a weekly planner, or your college’s online assignment portal. Additionally, you can check out our tips for overcoming major learning challenges in college.
6. Get Involved in Student Organizations
Starting college in a brand new place can be really overwhelming and it may seem difficult to make new friends at first. The best way to practice your social skills and make new friends is to get involved with student organizations that you are passionate about.
Most schools will have a wide range of clubs and organizations to choose from. This can also be a great way to network with students and faculty within your major.
7. Create a Budget
Budgeting is a huge part of the college experience. Between time-consuming classes, homework, and studying, you may not be able to work many hours. So, finding creative ways to stretch your money is incredibly important.
It can be easy to fall victim to credit card offers and spend frivolously, but you should aim to avoid this whenever you can. Stick to a budget throughout your college career and try not to graduate with too much credit card debt. You’ll thank yourself later.
8. Learn How To Cook & Do Your Own Laundry
When you move away from home for the first time, there are some valuable skills that you should learn first. Cooking & laundry are two of the most important. These are great habits to get into when you’re on your own for the first time.
You can take advantage of your school’s on-campus laundry facilities and learn how to make a few dorm-room-friendly meals to save on time and money.
9. Find Your Textbooks Secondhand
One of the biggest ways to save money during college is to find your textbooks secondhand. College textbooks can be incredibly expensive – many students spend hundreds of dollars to buy them new. However, you can often find used copies secondhand from your school’s bookstore or online retailers. This tip can help you save tons of money in the long run.
The Bottom Line
Starting college can be really nerve-racking, especially for incoming freshmen. At the same time, you’ll be able to experience so many new things and learn a lot (even outside of the classroom). All in all, take advantage of these preparation tips to help make your transition from high school to college as seamless as possible. And, don’t forget – college is supposed to be a fun experience. Try not to stress about it too much.
Do you have any helpful tips for incoming college freshmen? Leave a comment below.