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July 25, 2016

How to prepare for college over the summer

Photo of school supplies sticking out of backpack.

Is your high school graduate headed off to college this fall? You may have noticed that he or she is beginning to shop for dorm supplies, or making a list of things that need to be accomplished before heading off to school. Although your child won’t be moving into the dorm for several weeks, it’s not too early to begin preparing for the transition to college. Here are a few simple tips to help make the first year away from home a success!

Join online communities

The easiest first step is for students to join online communities, such as Facebook groups and email lists for college graduating classes or clubs. By joining these online communities, your student can learn more about the college he or she is attending and engage with classmates before fall classes begin.

For those going away to college in-state, here are a few groups to check out:

While these forums can be helpful, take the information shared on social media with a grain of salt. There will always be a difference between what you see online, and what takes place in real life. Be sure to join with an open mind.

Investigate major requirements

Incoming freshmen may not be sure what they would like to major in. After all, they’re just beginning their college careers. Students enrolled in a four-year college may not have to select a major right away, and freshman are often encouraged to complete their general education requirements and a few intro classes to help them find their field of interest. Urge your student to do some research before enrolling in classes.

Extracurricular activities

To achieve a well-balanced college life, students are encouraged to explore the many sports teams, groups and clubs that exist on a college campus. Studies are enriched with activities like business clubs, ROTC, or hula halaus. The colleges in Hawaii have a diverse array of organizations and clubs, here are a few to check out:

Do the reading

Colleges or individual courses often require summer reading. First classes and group activities often revolve around the reading material – so encourage your student to take time to complete the reading and make a strong first impression on professors and classmates.

Contact roommate(s)

It’s easy to make the first day of college a little easier with a friend. College freshman should text or Facebook message their future roommates to break the ice. Moving in and setting up a dorm room or apartment will be less awkward and more enjoyable if they already know one another.

Plan what you’re bringing to college

When packing for college, remember to take care of the basics and worry about customizing your space with decorations or photos later. For those attending college on the mainland, avoid shipping goods and pack what you have in an extra suitcase. All basic items may be purchased near your school at a Target, Walmart or Costco and can save your family money.

Basics items to pack or buy might include:

  • Extra-long twin sheet set, comforter and pillow
  • Desk lamp
  • Clothes hangers
  • Laundry bag/basket
  • Towels
  • Laptop and notebooks

These items are usually banned from dorm rooms:

  • Air conditioners
  • Candles/Incense
  • Cooking appliances with any type of heating element or open flame, such as rice cookers and coffee makers
  • Weapons

Sign up for Amazon Student

Amazon Student offers great deals for those attending college. An Amazon Student account comes with free two-day shipping and exclusive discounts on laptops. Amazon also provides deals on new, used or rental textbooks. Simply use an .edu email and its free for the first six months. After the initial free period, the student membership will cost $50 per year.

Declutter your room

Before packing up and moving out, incoming freshman should take time to declutter their bedroom. By laying out clothes on the floor, it’s easier to decide what to take to school, what to keep for visits home, and what to donate. Throw away old papers and projects, and only keep favorite books and mementos. Returning home during school breaks to a clean, decluttered room makes visits more enjoyable and relaxing for students and parents alike.

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