So You’ve Decided on a College. What Now?

Congratulations on choosing a college! You’ve put in so much work to get to this point: filling out applications, writing essays, visiting campuses, and deciding what school will be the best fit for you. Take a moment to celebrating all that you’ve accomplished!

Okay, great. Now that you’ve celebrated, what happens next? We’ve outlined a few important steps here.

How will the college know that I’ve decided to attend?

Once you’ve decided on a college, the first step is to make an enrollment deposit (usually through a link on the website). This notifies the school that you will be attending, and it triggers the next steps of the enrollment process (housing applications, choosing classes, etc.). Some schools may offer deposit waivers for students with financial need. It’s also a good idea to notify the other schools you were accepted to that you will not be attending.

How to do I register for on-campus housing?

Filling out your housing application is one of the first steps that needs your attention! Housing preferences are often first-come first-serve; that is one of the main reasons that depositing to a college earlier can be advantageous. Most colleges will have a housing survey that you will take indicating your interests, level of cleanliness, time you like to get up, and more! I cannot stress this enough: BE HONEST in your application! Roommates are a given for your first year of college (at least) so put some effort into your housing application and let your college know who you are!

How and when do I choose my classes?

The process for enrolling in your classes will vary widely between colleges. Some schools may host registration days in the summer where you’ll come to campus, meet with your academic advisor, and choose your classes with their help. For many schools, this process will happen entirely online. Whatever the process is for your school, makes sure you pay attention to deadlines. Many college courses fill up quickly, and you want to have your first pick!

What’s the deal with textbooks?

Textbooks get a bad rep for being expensive, but there are tons of ways to cut down the cost. Grab your list of textbooks from your university (pay attention to details such as the specific edition), then check out the bookstore website, Amazon, or Chegg and snag the best deal (used books are ideal!). Pro-tip: Most people never look are their textbooks again after the class is done so there’s no need to hang onto them. Sell them back to get some cash for your next set of books!

How do I apply for work study?

Work study (working an on-campus job) can be an important way to help fund your college education. Some schools grant work study hours to every student, though it’s more common that work study will only be made available to students with demonstrated financial need (we get that info from your FAFSA). If you’re approved for work study, there will be an application process over the summer so you’ll be prepared to start when you arrive on campus in the fall.

How do I pack for college?

Packing for college can seem like a daunting task. If you’re getting ready to move into a residence hall on campus, find out what furniture is provided (typically a bed, dresser, and desk). It’s important to be efficient with your space and not overpack. (Do you really need to bring that giant teddy bear you won at Six Flags? Probably not.) If you’re going to college far away from home, there are some great resources to help you out, such as Bed Bath and Beyond’s free Pack & Hold Service.

Do I have to do this summer reading assignment?

Some colleges may have some required summer reading for incoming first-year students. If this applies to you, make sure you do it! It’s worth the small time commitment over the summer to start college off on the right foot, and being prepared will make a good first impression on your professors.

The more prepared you are when you start your first semester of college, the better off you’ll be. Ask for advice from older siblings or friends, call the school if you have questions, be aware of deadlines, and, most importantly, enjoy the process!