Taking the Steps to a Successful Summer Transition to College

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Once your high school diploma is in hand, it’s time to turn your focus toward starting college in the fall. Take these steps over the summer:


Make a Budget

Review your Award Letter and pay close attention to the Cost of Attendance, which includes tuition, school fees and room and board. Depending on the school, your award letter might or might not include books, supplies, travel and personal expenses. If these costs aren’t included, be sure to account for them.

Make a Payment Timeline

When is your deposit (your official decision of where you’ll attend school) due? Your first tuition payment? Housing deposit? If you need to, make a calendar to keep track.

Request a Final Transcript

Your college might require a final official transcript to ensure that you have graduated. Request one through your high school.

Register For and Attend Orientation

Orientation allows you to meet your classmates and learn about support services on campus. At some schools, orientation is required. Even if it’s not, you’ll get a smoother start if you attend. Some schools offer orientation for parents as well.

Get Required Immunizations

Your school will probably send you a list of required vaccinations. Among the most common are vaccines for meningitis, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis and HPV. If necessary, visit your family doctor or local clinic for vaccinations.

Complete housing forms

If you plan to live on campus, make sure you know the deadline for filling out all the required housing forms and applications.

Register for Classes

If you know your major, start taking basic courses in that department. If you’re not sure of a major, try out some subjects that interest you, but remember to include core courses like math and composition, too. Try to spread out your classes so no one day of the week is too jam-packed. If you plan to work part-time, ask your advisor for help creating a schedule that balances employment and academics.

Arrange Transportation

If you’re driving to school, think about whether you might need multiple trips to accommodate all your belongings. If you’re not going to keep a car on campus, you’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you.
For more tips and advice for planning for, getting to and succeeding in college, check out Iowa College Aid’s Your Course to College.