Today’s post is by campus correspondent Annabella W. Find out how you can become a ULS campus correspondent, too!
Starting your freshman year in college in the US can be hectic, exciting and stressful all at the same time and in the flood of emotions, many students fail to prepare for their first year of college by neglecting to do a few important things before the first day.
Here’s a list of things to do before you start college that will help make you a little more prepared for your new life:
1. Get your student ID
Many students come in during the week before school starts to get their student IDs. These are extremely important to have while you are on campus as you’ll most likely need them to get in and out of buildings, including the dorms, and to swipe for meals at the dining hall.
Come in before the first day, if you can, because the room may be flooded with other freshmen who decided to wait until the first day of classes. (Your student ID can also get you discounts such as cheaper movie tickets and reduced museum admission prices and you’ll want to take advantage of those ASAP!)
2. Register for classes
This is one of the most important tips on this list. Do not wait until the week before school starts to register for your classes. Don’t laugh — I saw multiple students asking how to register for classes four days before the first day!
Don’t be that person — the first week of college will be stressful enough and registering late guarantees that your preferred classes will be full. Then you’ll be stuck with 8 a.m. classes. (Trust me, no one wants an 8 a.m. class! I’m learning that the hard way.)
3. Go through your schedule on campus (before the first day!)
I cannot stress this college tip enough. College buildings can be very confusing, and the last thing you want to do is show up 15 minutes late because you couldn’t find your class. Some classrooms will be hard to find, so set aside a day to go through your schedule and locate all your classes.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask where classrooms are. Every college has a place where first-year students can go for help. My Psychology classroom at RCNJ (Ramapo College of New Jersey) was listed as “Temporary Classroom 004.” I had no idea what that meant, so I went to the First-Year Guidance Center and asked. It turns out that my class is being held in a trailer. So remember to ask questions if you have no idea where your class is!
4. Get a parking pass
Every school has a different parking and campus security system. Remember, though, that campus police can be quite strict about whether or not you are parking in the right area. If you have a car, apply for a parking pass before the first week of school, because they take a while to be sent to your house. Remember to check what your designated parking area is — you don’t want to have someone waiting for you with a parking ticket after class!
5. Get your textbooks
I made the mistake of waiting until my first day of class to buy textbooks. Professors like to assign reading and homework right away, so don’t wait to purchase your books!
Don’t buy your books from the campus bookstore, though. Order them online through Chegg.com, Amazon.com, or a similar website. Campus bookstores sell the books for insane prices, and you can find your books on Amazon for less than half the bookstore price.
I hope these tips will help you prepare for your upcoming college experience! Good luck and have fun.
[Editor’s note: Purchasing textbooks before your first day works better for some subjects than others. Courses that tend to have stricter, more rigid syllabi — i.e. mathematics or sciences — lend themselves better to early textbook purchasing than English or history courses, whose syllabi may change depending on how fast the class moves through the material. Use your judgment, and ask a professor beforehand what he/she suggests.]