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Get the inside scoop

You’ll be making decisions that shape your freshman year long before you arrive on campus. Use your social media and networking skills to connect with current students (HINT: the admissions office will probably be glad to help), and find out what you can about the best dorms, most popular professors and most exciting extracurricular activities. Maybe there are tricks for getting into overenrolled classes, or certain prerequisites you should be sure to get out of your way as soon as possible. Every school has its secrets – do what you can to uncover them now.

Think about your goals

Once you arrive on campus, there will be a million options in front of you competing for your attention. So do some thinking now about what you want to get out of your freshman year – and your whole college experience. When you were picking your school, what made you the most excited? Is there a professor you want to make sure to study with? Certain kinds of courses you want to explore? Maybe you can’t wait to try a new extracurricular, participate in campus activism or land a certain kind of internship. Of course, college is a time of change, so your priorities may shift after you arrive. But doing some thinking ahead of time is a great way to keep from getting overwhelmed by all the possibilities.

Take a good look at you

By now, you know what aspects of high school presented you with the biggest academic and organizational challenges. Did you find yourself staying up all night finishing papers at the last minute? Were your class materials too disorganized to study effectively? Whatever issues you had in high school may hit you harder in college. So do some thinking ahead of time about how you’re going to stay ahead of the game. What strategies worked for you in the past? If your challenges are organizational, what technology and apps can you use? And find out what resources there are on campus for students who could use some extra help.

Take responsibility

One of the amazing things about freshman year is the independence of living on your own, meeting new friends and making your own choices. But with great freedom comes great responsibility. Now’s a good time to think through exactly what parts of your day-to-day life your parents have always taken care of. Are you used to waking up to a piping hot breakfast every day? Now might be the time to learn how to fry an egg. Does your mom always help you stay on top of deadlines and exam dates? Now is the time to plan out how you’re going to keep track of your own study schedule. Planning ahead for new responsibilities will help you kick off your college experience without a hitch.

Counting the days until orientation?

Take a look at our insider guide on what to expect freshman year.

Not sure what to pack?

Bring our checklist with you when you when you hit the stores.

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