Are you heading to college this fall for the first time? Or are you a parent of a student scrambling for tips, looking for a few ideas to help your teen be ready for the big moment?
The more you (or your teen!) are prepared to live independently, the better off you’ll be. With that in mind, here are several questions that will help you prepare for going away to college for the first time. Instead of a checklist, this is a “thinking list”; only you can determine what you truly need to start the year strong, right?
If you answer “no” or “not sure,” to any of these questions, highlight them and makes notes as items to tackle during the summer.
(By the way, some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. Purchases made through these links are at no extra cost to you. It’s a way to both suggest items that may help you, as well as to offset costs of maintaining this website. Also, clicking on the links will take you to products that may help you better get ideas for your own packing list! My fave pick is in the Getting to Campus section. You gotta check it out!)
Here’s the questions! Let’s get planning!
Prepare for Dorm Life
- Can you do your own laundry?
- Can you change the sheets on a bed? (Seriously, you’d be surprised how many haven’t done this at your age.)
- Do you know how to operate a microwave?
- Do you know how to store food properly, how to reheat it, and when to toss it?
- Do you know how to change the ink in your printer?
- Can you set up all of your electronic equipment by yourself? (Setting up the printer, dorm wireless, etc.)
- Do you know what a “Roommate Bill of Rights” is? (Psst… this one is worth a search…)
- Do you understand basic hygiene practices, and how to best stay healthy when sickness works its way through campus?
Prepare for Course Work
- Do you know how you will keep track of your schedule and assignments?
(The rest of these questions are better suited for orientation and once on campus.)
Take Charge of Your Health
- Do you know where to go on campus in case of sickness or injury? (Yes, this is something to figure out at home before heading out. When on campus, make sure to identify the location.)
- Do you understand how health insurance works at your college and what you need to bring with you?
- Do you know where to go if you need a prescription (re)filled? (You may need prescriptions transferred before you leave for college.)
- Do you understand how to use necessary medications, as well as food and drink to avoid while taking them?
- Do you understand the school’s rules about using and storing medications while on property?
- Do you know how to access mental health resources on campus?
- Do you need to set up a bank account for college? (Banking is a biggie. For some, you’ll take care of this when on campus. For others, you may be able to do this ahead of time.)
- Will you need a last minute haircut, and if so, do you need to schedule that now?
- Do you need to have any sort of physical or other appointments with your doctor(s) before leaving for campus?
Buying and Packing
- Do you have a list from the school of suggested items to bring?
- Have you made a list of the basic things you’ll need on top of that?
- Are there any items you need to order before you leave for school? (Think refrigerator or fridge/microwave combo unit.)
- Do you know what types of appliances, power stripes, etc., are allowed in the dorm? (Certain types of fridge/microwave combos may not be allowed.)
- Do you know how much storage you will have in your dorm room? (Are you a heavy packer? Then know this storage trick before you pack.)
- Did you remember to check the rules of your dorm to see which items need to stay at home?
Getting to Campus
Granted, this one is more for the parental units.
- If this is an overnight trip for whoever is moving you in, have they made adequate hotel reservations yet?
- If a rental car is necessary, have they reserved it yet?
- Do they know they can not stay in your dorm room overnight? (Okay, this one sounds odd, but there is truth to it. We’ve heard stories of parents who actually did this! Check this desk sign out – might make a great gift for them…)
Game Face On! Bonus Advice:
If you are nervous about leaving for school, consider yourself normal! (Unless, like us, you find the term “normal” overrated. In that case sub in your own word.)
There is power in the words you choose, including those used in self-talk. You may find editing your self-talk will help lessen pre-college jitters.
Here’s what I mean.
You’ve worked hard for this moment. Yes, the next for years may seem daunting, but you’ve got this! Put your mind to work for you, not against you. Consider these four sentences and choose the one that makes you feel best:
- I am worried about passing my classes.
- I will not worry about passing my classes.
- I will study and do my work to the best of my ability.
- I earned this spot in college. I’ve got this!
All four get at the same idea: passing class. The last two give you more strength to accomplish that goal. Let’s try one more:
- I’m going to get lost on campus.
- I will not get lost on campus.
- Most people get lost in new places. That’s okay. I’ll find my way around in no time!
Do see how the words we choose make all the difference? It may feel funny at first, but give it a try! You are starting a new, exciting phase of life! You’ve got this! Why not grab a white board and write and revise your own self-affirmations for the better?
Still have a question or concern about heading off to college? Or simply want to add your helpful own advice? Comment below!
Have several questions or concerns and want to talk? We can do that! I offer budget friendly consultations. If you are 18 and older and would like to have a consultation, contact me via email: me [at] authorjulieclark [dot] com, and we can take it from there! And, yep, I can talk with you about heading to college with Asperger’s, too!
And… CONGRATULATIONS on heading to college this fall!