Before College

College: The Summer Before To-Do List


Getting ready for college? Here are 11 important steps you need to take to prepare plus a free printable!
1. Clean out your closet
College closets are small. On top of that, you have to share a closet if you don’t have your own room. You’re not going to be able to take everything. In fact, you’ll only be able to take about 25% of your wardrobe. Aside from needing to downsize, you probably won’t wear the same things in college as you did in high school.

  • Throw away any clothing that has holes, rips, tears or is missing buttons/zippers
  • Make 3 piles: take, storage, get rid of/donate

You should only take the clothes you need for the current season. You can always get your mom and dad to send you something you need or you can go home and get it when necessary. If you’re going to another country, you can buy clothes there.

There are a lot of different options for the clothes you don’t want anymore. You can sell them, donate them or even take them to a consignment shop like Plato’s Closet. If you really want to be creative, organize a clothing swap! You can invite your friends and others via Facebook. Here’s how it works: everyone who comes brings clothes and accessories they no longer want/use. Then each person takes what they like and ends up with “new” clothes. I remember doing this in 8th grade. I invited a bunch of friends over and held a clothing swap. It was a ton of fun.

Once you’ve cleaned out your closet, you may want to buy some new clothes. It’s important to replace the clothing you’ve rid of. Replace you’re jeans that had holes with new ones. Get new shoes and underwear. Remember: quality over quantity!

2. Craft a killer resume

Now that you’re going to college, it’s time to start building your resume. Also, invest in a new email. Employers and professors will not be impressed with or . If you have a blog or website, you could use or setup a free Once you’ve created a more professional email account, it’s time to begin crafting your resume. It’s important to create one before college, that way you can add information to it without using valuable time to make one after you’ve got all your classes to worry about.

This summer is a great time to do some community service that’ll leave you feeling great and will look amazing on your resume. It might not be ideal, but take a job at a local fast food joint or intern at a family member’s office. Any experience looks better than none.

Make sure to craft a cover letter too. Some things to include on your resume:

  • education
  • work experience
  • community service
  • awards (scholarships, school related, community, etc)
  • clubs
  • extracurricular
  • skills (Microsoft office, editing, programming, singing, etc)

Need a little more guidance? Check out Her Campus’ article on building your first resume!

3. Learn how to do laundry

If you’re going to be living in a dorm, knowing how to do laundry is a necessity. You’re mom, dad, grandma, whoever is not going to be there to wash your clothes for you. Also, there’s no shame in asking mom or grandma to show you how. It’ll make her day!

University Language has a great guide on how to do laundry in college. Meanwhile, here are some tips:

  • wash clothes and towels/linens separately
  • wash whites with whites or lights
  • don’t put bras in the dryer or they will shrink
  • if it’s silk or something delicate, check the tags! It’s very important to check the washing instructions. You could accidentally shrink a brand new shirt if you don’t pay attention.
  • save those quarters! Doing your laundry is NOT free.
  • have 2 sets of sheets. Having an extra set for wash day/week is important.
  • warm washes clothes best, cold prevents clothes from shrinking

4. Check for summer assignments

Where you go to school, what your classes are, and who your professors are will determine whether or not you have summer assignments. Colleges and universities typically do not assign summer work but some professors may “recommend” reading a chapter in your textbook or doing research on a particular topic. These assignments should be completed.

Not only will you better understand what your professor is talking about during the first week of classes but he or she will most like be impressed that you completed the assignments. It’s better to start with a foot in the door! If your school’s website doesn’t list assignments, you should contact your professors to be sure. Just watch your email for the Syllabus.

5. Pack and/or buy everything you need

If you don’t know when your move in day is, you need to find out. Mine is August 15. A lot of schools move in around that time. You should be able to find out by visiting your school’s websites and looking at the academic and/or event calendar. If you are unable to find it online, call or email your school and find out.

6. Clean up your social media

Although college isn’t quite adulthood, it is a step up from high school. Untag all those unflattering Facebook pictures and delete anything you wouldn’t want your parents or employers seeing on instagram or twitter. In fact, you may want to completely create a new, more professional twitter account. When you apply for a job or internship, your social media accounts will be checked. College is a time not only to learn but to make new friends and it’s likely that your new networks will stalk you on social media to get an idea of who you are. Do you want to give them a bad impression? Think before you post! Pro Tip: You can always set your accounts to private.

7.  Create a LinkedIn

LinkedIn is “the world’s largest professional network”. It’s a great way to showcase your skills and connect with old friends and teachers, all of who can help you land a job or internship!

You can connect with people who can give recommendations and family. LinkedIn allows you to create a virtual resume that employers can see. It’s a valuable resource. You can add your education, skills and certifications!

Click here to view my LinkedIn

8. Apply for a debit and/or credit card

Most students have a debit card and checking account before high school ends. But its okay if you don’t. Now that you’re entering college, it’s time to open a bank account. You won’t be able to rely off your parents forever. When you do need some money from mom and dad, they can easily transfer money from their account to yours if you use the same bank. With a bank account you can:

  • shop online
  • pay bills online
  • fill up your gas tank without going inside
  • avoid carrying (losing) cash
  • deposit your checks or use direct deposit
  • accumulate interest

If you’ve already got a bank account and debit card setup, great! You should think about getting a credit card. When used correctly, a credit card can reap many benefits, for example:

  • earn travel rewards like free airplane tickets just by doing everyday shopping
  • build your credit (helps when you buy a car or house, borrow a loan, and even when you get a job!)
  • use it during emergency (like if your car breaks down)

Although a credit card is a big responsibility, it can be a easy one when used responsibly. It can help you instead of hurt you.

9. Memorize your social security number and your student ID

For the rest of your life, you will need to know your social security number. You’ll need it for school, to file taxes, to get a job. You never know when you could need it so it’s important to know and 100% safer than carrying around your card. Your card can be stolen, your memory cannot!
It’s also important to memorize your student ID. You will need this to login to the computers at your school, to access your account and more! Look at it a couple times a day. Take a picture and save it on your phone for easy access. Add it to the notes section. It’s just as important as your social security number while you’re in college!

10. Read up on college slang

If you’re not sure what a RA or Highlighter Party is, you should probably check out Her Campus’ college lingo dictionary or you’re going to be very confused when the cute guy in your English 1101 class invites you over for Kegs and Eggs.

11. Think about clubs, organizations and rushing

New school year means new opportunities. College is when you get to be a totally different person and leave the past behind. You should check out you college’s website and find out what kind of clubs and organizations your school has. Make a list of all the ones you’re interested in so you can be sure to check them out the first week.
If you’re thinking about rushing, going through the process to join a sorority or fraternity, you should take few steps first:

  • read up on the pros and cons of rushing/joining a sorority or fraternity from at least 3 different sources
  • if you know someone involved in Greek life, send them a message or email asking about their experience
  • if you decide you’re interested in rushing, find out what Greek organizations are available at your school
  • do research on the organizations
  • if you want to rush make a list of your top 3 (your favorites)
  • keep an open mind. They might be your #1 but you might not make their list

Click here for the printable version! 

How are you preparing for college this summer? Let me know in the comments!

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