How to Prepare for College

You have spent years studying and preparing, toured countless colleges and universities, got accepted to your top choice school, and submitted your enrollment deposit. Congratulations: you are headed for higher education! Now what? 

Whether you will be sitting in lecture halls or learning remotely come September, the EmpowHERto team wants you to feel confident during this next stage of life. See below for some tips you can implement this summer (when you are not lounging by the pool).

Preparing for college can be a smooth process if you make a plan ahead of time.

Housing & social life

Living on campus can be more expensive than living off-campus, but it usually offers a strong sense of community, support from staff, and basic furniture. Start packing early so you are not scrambling the week before move-in day. Try curating a versatile wardrobe you love to wear and only bring items you know you will use; you can always head to the campus store for additional supplies. Most campuses have a move-in checklist you can refer to. 

Whether or not you are subscribed to a meal plan, learn how to prepare a few easy, healthy, and fast recipes and snacks. Many campuses will have an on-site kitchen at your residence where you can prepare basic meals. A smoothie or burrito bowl for lunch will keep you alert and focused, and snacking on homemade trail mix in the middle of finals week is healthier than buying a candy bar.

Use social media to introduce yourself to your roommate and future classmates before arriving on campus. Start thinking about how you want to navigate the roommate relationship. Will you have a cleaning schedule? Maybe set some ground rules? If you are prone to homesickness, have a plan (like weekly phone calls with your family) in place to rely on. College is a great place to establish independence, but your parents will probably appreciate your checking in now and then. Also, research clubs and activities offered at your school, and figure out how you are going to take advantage of this amazing network! 

Finances 

Higher education can be costly, so it is important to create a financial strategy. Trust us, your post-grad self will thank you for being responsible! Give yourself a weekly budget by establishing how much money is coming in (income) and going out (expenses). Make sure to set aside money for food, laundry, textbooks, nights out, and miscellaneous items.

If you are paying for some or all of your education yourself (after any grants or scholarships), explore your options. Evaluate less expensive schools, investigate job opportunities on and off-campus, or potentially take a semester off to minimize your debt. If you choose to take out student loans, understand how they work, and determine if you will really be able to pay them back.

Academics

Chances are you will no longer have teachers and parents reminding you to get work done, so continue practicing good study habits. See if you can access the required reading lists early, and continue to learn about the subjects you are interested in. 

To make sure you are prioritizing classes and studying, time block your schedule and include self-care, time with friends, work, and anything else you have going on. It is okay if you are not perfect at this right away. Effective time management is a soft skill you can cultivate throughout your life.

From all of us at EmpowHERto, we hope you enjoy your summer and have the best experience at college or university! Connect with us on IG @empowHERto and check out more tips and resources. While you are there, let us know where you are headed next year and what you are most excited about. Good luck!

EmpowHERto

Founded in 2015, EmpowHERto is a Toronto-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping 14-21 year-old women and girls reach their fullest potential.

EmpowHERto is as strong as the community that holds it up. Together, we can do more than we can do alone. Let’s bring our abilities and passions together to affect real change.

partner@empowherto.org

Toronto, Ontario