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Countdown to College: A Summer To-Do List

This next stage—embarking on your college journey—is a significant one. Preparing yourself now can only minimize your anxiety later.

Andrea Deck, Varsity Tutors’ Contributor

May 07, 2014

Countdown to College: A Summer To-Do List
Congratulations – graduation is right around the corner, and soon you’ll begin your college career. This is a busy time, with numerous tasks to complete before you depart for your new school. However, do not forget to celebrate with family and friends, enjoy the summer months, and of course, relax. While you do, here are several small items to accomplish:

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To Do Today: Thank Those Who Wrote You Recommendations
You likely did not earn this college acceptance totally on your own—many people helped you achieve your goal. Thank each individual personally before you start school. When you find yourself in need of another recommendation for graduate school or a scholarship, you may wish to ask them for a second letter. A heartfelt ‘thank you’ can maintain a relationship well into the future, and you never know when that will prove useful!

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To Do Tomorrow: Sort out Your Digital World
As soon as you are able, set up your university email account. Join Facebook groups that apply to you (such as one for incoming freshmen), and follow the important Instagram and Twitter handles, if applicable.

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Also keep in mind that you will wish to remain in touch with family and friends. How will you do so? Email? Facebook? This is a wonderful opportunity to iron out the details.
To Do All Summer: Read
Many professors in freshman seminars choose to begin their courses with a discussion of what you read for pleasure over the summer. For your sake, and your future professor’s sake, do, in fact, lift a book before September arrives. Resist the temptation to ignore all things educational.
To Do When You Can: Plan With Your Roommate
The college experience partially depends upon your living situation—or, more specifically, your roommate. Most freshmen will room with at least one person. As soon as you receive paperwork from Residence Life, complete it. Email your roommate promptly to introduce yourself. This is typically the first person you will meet on campus, and you have a lot of details to go over before move-in day. After all, no one needs three hair dryers. Try to be flexible and friendly. Establish boundaries now—how late in the evening do you expect to be awake, for instance—rather than waiting for the semester to begin.
To Do Now: Have Fun
Successfully applying to college and graduating high school are impressive milestones. Celebrate this transition in your life with your family and friends, and remember: it is important to maintain strong relationships “back home,” especially come the homesickness of freshman year. This next stage—embarking on your college journey—is a significant one. Preparing yourself now can only minimize your anxiety later. Enjoy your summer, too—the hard work begins again soon!

Andrea Deck is a professional GRE tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. She is a graduate student at Columbia University in the class of 2015.

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