Preparation for college comes in many different forms
College Packing Checklist
The checklist below will help make sure you get to your dorm or apartment with all the necessary items so you can spend moving night unpacking instead of running to the store for things you forgot.
Clothes, pills Bedding & Linens
Clothes are likely the items you’ll remember because they are confined to one central location, capsule making them easy to pack. It’s the little things like shoes and accessories that you have to worry about — along with the bedding and linens that will make your semester comfortable.
- Athletic shoes
- Dress shoes
- Extra sheets and pillowcases
- Laundry soap
- Fabric softeners
- Under-bed shoe storage
The onset of technology in classrooms means college students need to be connected at all times. Many of your homework assignments and lesson plans will be available online, case so make sure to have a quality laptop and plenty of related tools at your disposal.
- Power cables
- Printer ink
- Flash drive or external hard drive
- Surge protector
- Required software
Room & Desk
Your best friend in maintaining quality grades in college will be organization. Keeping your room and desk area tidy will help you stay on track and ahead of schedule on assignments.
- Dry erase board or bulletin board
- Pins, markers, magnets, erasers
- Pens, pencils and office supplies
- Extra batteries
- Radio or television
Choosing a Major
Business administration or law enforcement? Teaching or technology? Nursing or web developer? Choosing a college major is one of the most important — and challenging — tasks for the new student. And doing so before you start your first college class can play a major role in keeping you on schedule for graduating.
A college major is a specific field in which you will specialize. Most students will go through two years of general studies before taking on industry-specific coursework, but knowing which route you’d like to take can help you get involved in related clubs or organizations.
As a high school student, your guidance counselor likely prompted you to complete a skills assessment test. These types of tests ask you questions about your personality, and give you a list of career options for which you may be suited. You also can take these tests on your own online. Share your test results with your guidance counselor or collegiate advisor to discuss major options. You may just open up some doors you never knew existed.
Make a Choice
It is important that you commit to a major early in your college career to take the right credits for graduation, especially if your alternate strategy is sitting out a semester. Many students end up changing their majors, but you can at least stay on track by staying enrolled full-time.
Sometimes the choice is made for you. If you specialize in a field such as nursing or engineering, that’s what you’ll major in because you’re learning a specific trade.
Other majors prepare you to enter a range of careers after graduation. For example, a health science major can use their degree to become a physical trainer, athletic consultant or owner of their own workout facility. An accounting major can choose to become a full-fledged CPA, a bookkeeper or financial manager.
You are rarely pigeonholed into one specific career role because of the major you choose. And, remember, if you choose to change majors that it’s important to stay focused on the ultimate task: graduating.
Tips for Adult Learners
Many perceived barriers can stand in the way of the adult learner, including fear of failing, time constraints or anxiety about returning to school. With the right mindset, these concerns can be short-lived.
There are many resources available to help with the educational process. And by the time your first class gets under way, your focus will turn to the task at hand.
Use Your Advisors
If you’re returning to school as a non-traditional student, odds are you have some specific career goals in mind. Maybe you’re taking extra classes to become better qualified for an internal promotion.
Maybe you’re looking to pursue a passion and make a complete career change. Whatever your goals, your college advisor is here to help.
They have likely helped many professionals just like you in their journey to furthering their education. They can walk you through the course schedule and give you tips on how to find success as an adult learner.
Map Out Your Schedule
Adult learners typically have more responsibilities than traditional college students: more financial obligations, children to provide for and even full-time jobs, in some cases.
These extra stresses make for a tight squeeze on your time — time that is valuable in finishing homework and studying for tests. You may find yourself participating less frequently in social activities and blocking off late weeknights. This may seem like a burden at first, but it’s important to place education as a priority if it’s something you truly want to pursue.
Fortunately, many colleges offer classes on timelines that fit with schedules of adult learners. Classes that take place at night, during the weekend or online can help make your new educational experience more convenient.
Take the time to build a master schedule in a calendar or on a dry erase board. And don’t forget to continuously update it with important deadlines. This can help you map out an effective schedule to keep your responsibilities under control.
Navigating High School
If you’re waiting until after your senior year of high school to get ready for college, you’re going to be behind the curve. Now more than ever before, it is important to start preparing from your freshman year forward. The proof is out there. It’s possible for high school students to concurrently graduate with their diploma and an associate degree.
What student wouldn’t want a two-year head start on their college career?
Even high school may not be soon enough to start making your college plans. Many schools begin preparing their eighth-graders for high school by building coursework plans and schedules. If you’re the parent of an eighth-grader, check in with your school’s principal to see what is offered in terms of early preparation.
Freshman and Sophomore Years
It’s never too early to become involved in community activities. Volunteering at your local food pantry or helping non-profit organizations plan for an upcoming event make great additions to your resume. They also open your eyes to new responsibilities and help you make new connections.
In terms of coursework, opt for elective classes that match your interests. If you plan to work as a chef or restaurant owner, take home economics classes whenever they’re offered.
And don’t be afraid to venture into new and unfamiliar subject matter. Getting out of your comfort zone can help expand your educational horizons.
One of the most crucial tests you’ll take as a high school junior is the ACT test. According to ACT, Inc., many of our high school students are ill-prepared for the test.
Only a quarter of the 1.8 million graduates who took the ACT college entrance exam in 2013 met readiness benchmarks in all four core subjects, according to annual reports by the corporation. Those four subjects are English, math, science and reading.
That 25 percent mark was down from 2012’s 31 percent measurement. As a student, or parent of a student, you should be alarmed by these numbers. You also should choose to do something about it.
If you’re in your third year of high school, you should have plenty of the core subjects in class by now. One of the first steps to preparing for the ACT test is to know if you have a shortcoming in one of the subjects. Extra tutoring and problem-solving exercises can go a long way in readying you for test time.
Senior year is not all about visiting campuses and having a summer job. Students should be concerned with partaking in career-related internships that could get their foot in the door with a target company.
Before senior year starts, look at past ACT or SAT scores to find where you could improve. Taking courses in theses areas can help bolster your knowledge and prepare you for college classes.