The Memorial Day weekend is behind us and the summer season is officially here. For you high school seniors, it may seem like the last several months have been an endless cycle of deadlines, test dates and heavy contemplation. Breathe a deep sigh of relief. Finals are over and Commencement ceremonies have launched you into the next step: College.

Now what? The summer before college can be a bit of a snooze, particularly after the chaos that’s come to define senior year. While it’s probably tempting to pat yourself on the back, put the books down, and hit the pool, there are a number of steps you can take to make the college transition go that much more smoothly – without taking up too much of your pool time.

–          Find yourself trolling Facebook and seeing the same five posts from the same five people? Consider “friending” your future college roommate. Getting a sense of the person you’ll be sharing very close quarters with can reduce a lot of anxiety, help determine what you have in common, and give you an opportunity to set some ground rules for cohabitation. Skype can be a great tool, too!

–          Work! Working even just a few hours a week and being smart about saving can be monumentally helpful come fall. It can even make the difference between having to work and not having to work during your first semester – a time when most of you would probably prefer to get out and experience all the things that made you choose your particular college in the first place –  rather than wait tables, make lattes, fold t-shirts, and the like.

–          Buy a laptop if you haven’t already. Don’t feel obligated to get the most state-of-the-art machine on the market, but you do want to make sure you to purchase something modern enough to make note-taking, word processing, studying, and keeping up with friends and family as seamless and efficient as possible. Check your college’s website for specific computer hardware and software specifications, especially if you’re planning to major in a tech-heavy subject, such as engineering or graphic design.

–          Attend a summer orientation! Getting “oriented” is one of the single best ways to reduce anxiety once you arrive on campus. Remember the first day of your freshman year of high school? Consider the fears you had about finding your classrooms on time and navigating the lunchroom, but imagine them on a much larger scale. Pick up a campus map, too, and make it your new best friend.

–          Get your ducks in a row. Whether you’ve been cruising around in a car in dire need of servicing, avoiding your doctor’s office like the Plague, or pouring all of your hard-earned money into a piggy bank, the time has come to schedule that tune-up, get a physical (be sure to include a meningitis vaccination), or finally open a checking account.

Check back tomorrow for additional tips on how to make the most of the final summer before you take off for college!



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