The Final Summer

How to Pregame for Your First Year at College

UChicago+website

Shé Edwards

UChicago has several pages on its website dedicated to keeping incoming students on track.

We’re nearing the end of the school year—for many of us, our last time finishing off a year at Bronx Science. After being caught up in college acceptances and finals, I’m sure our seniors can’t wait to relax for the summer and start a new chapter next year. However, there are still plenty of tasks to complete beforehand, especially those who are going away for college and need to know the basics before they’re on their own.

One of the most important things now is keeping up with communications with your college. For many the applicant portal—the main way you were kept updated during the college process—is obsolete and you have been given (or created) an email for your college. Between now and the beginning of the year you’ll likely get a series of messages to keep you updated on important dates and documents you need to submit to be prepared for the upcoming year. Many colleges have pages on their website with this information and some other form of database or portal for students to keep track of their information. Make sure to stay updated—you may have been accepted but you don’t want any last-minute interruptions because of missing documents or info. It’s best to use all the resources your college has to offer for preparation.

Next up is general adult stuff—like legal documents. If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to ask your parents for your important identification documents, i.e. your birth certificate and social security card. Your passport is also useful proof of identification, even if you don’t plan to leave the states anytime soon. To the many seniors who’ve turned 18 this year (or who are turning 18 before their trip), many advise getting a driver’s license. While you can usually do without one in NYC, it could be useful later if you’re not sure where you may be living or what you may be doing in the future—some jobs may even have a driver’s license and/or access to reliable transportation listed as a requirement. It serves as a common form of identification to keep on you, but if you don’t plan on getting a driver’s licence, you can obtain a state-issued I.D. for that purpose. Speaking of job requirements, now would be a good time to get your resumé in order. Have a strong cover letter, all your contact info, and make sure to include your skills, experience, any formal education, and achievements. It’s recommended that you only list skills that you actually have and are confident in. Thankfully, you can still update your résumé , so if there are any skills you need to brush up on, you have the time.

On the more fun end of the spectrum is preparing for the campus. Get an idea of what activities you want to participate in, what kind of people you want to meet, and how you’ll organize your life around classes and commute (if there is one). If you’re dorming, now is the time to look up what is going to be provided for you in terms of appliances and furniture, along with what you’re allowed to bring and how you’ll obtain it. There are many websites made specifically for college students seeking to rent appliances that dorms often allow, such as mini-fridges. Some stores (mostly those that sell furniture) even have special promotions just for college students with mostly dorm-oriented decor, bedding, furniture, and bath items. Get together a checklist and get to work!

College is going to be a unique experience for everyone, so be sure to kick it off right. Get your documents and student info in order, and make sure you always have a general idea of what comes next. While it is relieving that the application process is over, this is only the beginning—now the real changes start. Get your game plan ready—know how you’re going to travel and what you’re going to bring. Know what classes you want to take. If you can, get a feel for the campus. Most importantly, this is a big milestone and it’s been an arduous process, so be sure to take some time for yourself and be proud of how far you’ve come. We did it!

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