Countdown to College: 5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for College Life

Written by James Madison High School on Wednesday, 26 August 2015. Posted in College Bound

Countdown to College: 5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for College Life

The countdown to your first day at college has begun! As each day brings you closer, it may feel like you were born ready for everything college has to offer. But the reality is that you will be exposed to many new experiences, especially if you earned your high school diploma online. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Buy textbooks. Many colleges will let you know your course schedule in the summer before you begin. If they provide you with a syllabus, you will also know what textbooks you will need! This is a great way to get a jump on your studies and be ahead of the curve once September rolls along. You have a few options, when it comes to getting textbooks. Buying new textbooks is the most expensive option, but if it's your preference, try to sell them back at the end of the semester. Used textbooks will have some wear and tear, so pay attention to the rating system used to describe their quality. Finally, renting can be a terrific option whether it's directly from the school or a textbook rental website like

Do assigned reading. Check out the syllabus for each course to see what you will be expected to read so you can get a head start. While you might not want to get too far ahead, the reality is that you often have to read texts several times to be able to complete your assignments.

Brush up on your time management skills. You may have skated by in the past by cramming before exams, but in college, you need to do all of the assigned work. If you earned your high school diploma online, you probably already have a good handle on time management, but a little refresher can't hurt. Make it a habit to jot down a daily schedule for yourself with all of the goals you want to accomplish that day. Even if it's just running errands and household chores, making this part of your routine will help you in the long run. This will translate well when you get to college and you need to budget your time and get work done for multiple classes.

Create a budget. Whether you will be paying for all of your expenses or getting financial help from your parents or a loan, a budget is a necessity.

  • Figure out how much money you have to work with, including sources such as financial aid, scholarships, student loans, and work-study.
  • List all of your potential expenses, including those for emergencies.
  • Decide whether to get a debit or credit card

Learn how to do laundry. If you've never done a load of laundry, this is the time to figure out how to do it! Ask a parent or a friend to walk you through the steps, including separating clothes by color, measuring detergent, and knowing what different settings on the washing machine do. It might sound silly, but college is often many people's first time living away from home. By practicing in the summer before you go off to college, you will avoid having to wear whites accidentally turned pink during the semester.

College is a milestone. Whether you earned your high school diploma online or in a traditional setting, the more prepared you are for college ahead of time, the easier the transition will be. Make sure you take these steps so you are prepared for college come fall!

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James Madison High School

James Madison High School

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