Getting ready for the first semester away from home can be exciting for soon-to-be college freshmen, but it can also be overwhelming.
Between registering for classes, getting financial aid lined up and picking out the perfect dorm room décor, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve made this checklist to help ensure that your incoming freshman’s transition to college is as smooth as possible.
Take care of the important things firstBefore you get carried away with picking out the posters for your dorm room walls, there’s some important business you freshman should attend to.
- Know their goals and consult their advisor - Give some thought to educational, professional and lifestyle goals. This will help your academic advisor plan the best program and path.
- Get connected to the school email and web portal
- Figure out their finances - In order to receive financial aid such as grants, loans or work study, you’ll need to fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
- Take charge of their important documents - Make sure your freshman has the essential documents they'll need for school and adult life, including social security card, a copy of their birth certificate, insurance card, driver’s license and any important financial aid documents.
- Get to know their roommate - Don’t wait for move-in day to get acquainted with your dorm-mate. Simply reaching out on social media can be a great way to connect before the semester starts and plan how you’re going to furnish and organize your shared space.
Buy school supplies and dorm room essentials (and maybe a few luxuries too)Once the important business has been taken care of, it’s time to acquire everything you need for a perfect freshman year.
- Upgrade your technology - Consider what kinds of devices will work best for your freshman's academic needs, study habits and personal preferences. Will you need specific software for your field of study?
- Books and ebooks - College textbooks can be pricey, so it never hurts to start figuring out what you’ll need and budgeting for them early. Purchasing ebook versions of textbooks, when available, can also be a great way to save money (and paper!)
- Apps and Subscriptions - Subscribe to services that will make your student's life more organized and more enjoyable, such as music and movie streaming services and cloud storage.
- Basic school supplies - While a lot (if not all) of their course materials may be online, it doesn’t hurt to stock up on some basic school supplies like pens, paper, highlighters and sticky notes.
- Deck out the dorm room - When shopping for your dorm room, make sure you get all of the essentials like bedding, toiletries and first aid and OTC medications. But you should also consider items that will make your dorm feel like your home away from home. Some pleasant décor, an easy-to-care-for plant, things that remind your student of their hometown, and even a microwave and mini-fridge can significantly improve their comfort level.