CAA Advice: What to Do Before Attending College

  By now, most high school seniors are beginning their last summer break before college. CAA suggests that these rising college freshmen take advantage of this summer to have fun but also to prepare for their first day of college.   First things first, make sure that your finances are settled with the college. Even if you have paid your enrollment and housing deposit, there may be other steps you must take to receive the funding that was awarded to you. If you haven’t yet, contact the financial aid office at the college you’re attending to ask if there is anything else you need to do. You should know how your funding will be distributed and what outstanding balance you may have.   Next, schedule your freshman orientation. This is not something you want to miss out on! Some orientations last a couple of days, where incoming freshmen become more acquainted with the school and other students. This is a really fun opportunity and a great way to make new friends! Orientation is also probably when you will meet with an advisor and register for your first semester classes. CAA suggests that you also discuss your four-year graduation plan with that advisor. If you are unable to attend orientation, make sure you set an appointment with an advisor before you register for classes.   Something you may also do during orientation is receive your housing assignment. So, before then, make sure you complete any required housing application so they can set you up in the best-fit dorm. To get that best-fit dorm, you should be completely honest in the application about who you are and what you like. Remember, you may not be able to change your housing assignment before the school year ends.   Speaking of housing, CAA advises that you create a college packing list. Know for sure all of the items you can take, and contact your school for that information as needed. Once you are aware of any prohibited items, create a detailed packing list and mark things off as you pack them away. Consider what you can and cannot live without from home. If CAA clients need help creating this list, you’re in luck! We’ve created one for you; just give us a call for help.   Finally, get your shots and plan a budget with your parents. Most colleges will require that you have certain vaccinations done before you begin school, especially if you are living in the dorms. Proof of your shots may be required with your housing application, so make sure you read all communications from your college carefully!   CAA also recommends that you create a monthly budget with your parents and do your best to not overspend. This budget should include your books and supplies for the semester, food or meal plan, transportation costs, and any other personal expenses. Your freshman year will likely be one of the most expensive because you’ll probably have to purchase a lot to get started. Ask around campus during your first semester to find out how other students are saving money. CAA also recommends that you avoid taking a credit card your first year until you get the hang of college life and learn the necessities for living on a college campus.   Clients of CAA are welcome to talk through these final plans before college at any time. We wish all incoming college freshmen the best of luck. Have fun this summer and congratulations on all you have accomplished!