Graduating from high school and transitioning to college can be an overwhelming and challenging time for students. Whether you’re moving to a new state or attending a local college near your home, there are a few things you should consider, such as preparing yourself mentally, learning how to become financially responsible, and establishing a new routine to help make the transition smoother.
4 Tips to Help High School Students Prepare for College
So, how do you get ready for your freshman year? Let’s dive deeper into the essential ways to help you best prepare before heading off to college.
- Mentally Prepare Yourself
Embarking on a new adventure may seem daunting, but preparing yourself mentally for the good and the bad times is important. Remember, freshman year is unique for everyone, so it’s okay to feel anxious and emotional when leaving your friends and family. College is a time for people to learn new things, meet new people, open their eyes to new perspectives, and, most importantly, learn how to be independent. Try to be as positive as possible. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, find helpful ways to effectively manage your stress ahead of time.
This might be taking deep breaths, going for a walk, talking with someone you trust about your feelings, or taking a break from social media. Learning how to manage stress and anxiety will be an extremely crucial tool to learn, especially for the future if you experience financial stress at some point.
- Establish Financial Responsibility
Budgeting and managing your money smartly may be challenging at first. Learning how to become financially responsible will help you currently and in the future when you have bills, mortgages, and other expenses to pay for. Getting a part-time job when you attend college is a great way to make money and start saving. Be sure to create or update your resume beforehand to be prepared for an opportunity. If you don’t have much work experience to add to your resume, that’s okay. You can include clubs you participated in, sports teams you’ve played on, or babysitting gigs you’ve done over the years.
You most likely have a savings and checking account already, but be sure to find alternatives to a bank accessible near your future college if possible. It’s noteworthy to mention that if you plan to open a credit card, be sure to find a reliable one with a low credit limit to learn good financial habits early on. This will allow you to responsibly start building your credit score to have a solid foundation when you graduate. Your credit score is a huge factor when renting an apartment, taking out a loan, or buying a home. A credit score can range from 300 to 850. For example, a good credit score to buy a house ranges from 670 to 739. Your credit score number shows your history of handling your debt, which is why being clever with a credit card is crucial.
College is expensive, so you’ll most likely have a hefty amount of student loans to pay back after you graduate. By paying back your loans when the time comes and any credit card debt you might have each month, you’ll only be helping improve your credit score. Becoming financially responsible will take time, but as long as you’re wise when spending your money, you’ll be ahead of the game once you graduate.
- Adapt a Routine
College is all about consistency, so establishing a new routine for yourself is one of the most important things to help prepare for college. Waking up early, eating breakfast, and getting yourself ready for the day are great habits to get used to. You’ll also need to learn how to manage your time wisely. In college, 3 or 4 assignments are due on the same day. Not only will you focus on school, but having a social life is also essential.
Trying to juggle class, homework, mental health, and social life can sometimes feel impossible. Try creating a schedule and keeping track of everything on a calendar to help you stay on top of everything. Sticking to a daily routine is a great way to help balance your workload while still prioritizing time to hang out with friends. Learning how to manage your time between school, work, and friends is critical to reaching your academic goals.
- Get Involved
One of the most exciting aspects of college is the opportunity to meet new people and get involved in new activities. Some clubs take every shape and size, so these extracurriculars are something you can start thinking about ahead of time. Whether you’re looking for a club that’s academically oriented, athletic, or social, there’s something for every interest. Getting involved early can clarify your future career path, act as a way to make friends, or simply serve as a stress reliever.
Putting yourself out there can be challenging, but remember to stay confident! Everyone is still finding their way when they enter freshman year of college and meet people for the first time. Taking the leap and going to a club fair, talking to people in class, organizing study groups, or looking for work-study opportunities will help your transition tremendously.
Attending college will be one of the most memorable experiences in your life. Although things might seem scary and overwhelming now, you’ll get in a rhythm sooner or later, and everything will start to feel normal again.
How GradGuard Can Help
If you’re having doubts about this next step due to mental health struggles or a battle with chronic illness, we’re here to help you invest in tuition insurance to protect your investment in college and provide peace of mind.
By working with almost 500 colleges and universities nationwide, GradGuard can offer students and their families affordable protection up to 100% of the cost of college, including:
- Tuition costs
- Student housing
- Academic fees
Each policy also includes Student Life Assistance, which can help families through the logistics accompanying an unexpected student withdrawal. GradGuard’s mission is all about helping more students graduate. With tuition insurance, students forced to withdraw for a covered medical reason can be given the rare opportunity for a do-over.