Once dorm life has gotten old, and you're really done with getting woken up at 2 am the night before your final exams, a fun next step can be renting a house or apartment together with some friends. Expect to have both wonderful times and awful times together, because you actually will have both. Try to figure out enough of a chore / task schedule so that nobody ends up stuck with all the housework.
But remember to schedule fun things with your roommates as well: a household trip out to the beach or the mountains, a dinner together once or twice a week, or whatever works for all of you. Living with roommates can (and will) have its difficult moments, but it's a learning experience that is absolutely worthwhile. It can teach you as much about life as any academic course.
If your parents help you move into your dorm room, it may be tempting to fill their car with piles of belongings. It's easy to picture how you'll make use of this special pillow, that set of books, the perfect study lamp, and so on. Stores work hard to sell heaps of new furnishings to college students.
And it's true that dorm rooms can feel a bit cold and impersonal when you first arrive. But it's important to remember that you're not actually moving in; your dorm room is not your new home.
In June, after finals, you'll be stuck with having to somehow deal with the rug and the extra lamp and all the pillows and books and so on. Many times the dumpsters on college campuses are crammed with perfectly good things that students end up throwing out in June, as they suddenly realize they can't fit more than a fraction of it into an airplane or into a friend's car. So, go easy on the volume of what you acquire, and you'll save yourself a lot of work at the end of the year.
In order for your college application to stand out from the crowd, you have to be fully, deeply yourself - and then communicate that self effectively through your application. Give yourself time in high school to reflect on who you want to grow up to be, and why, and what you love the most. Move past the mall and past popular culture, and explore whatever piece of the world is unfamiliar to you. Get to know people who are outside the comfy circle of your own family, friends, and schoolmates.
It's important to get good grades, but plenty of people accomplish that; it's more important in the eyes of admissions offices that you be a thoughtful individual, with your own strong interests and drive.
Even if you've missed the deadline, don't be afraid to send your application to the College of your choice. It only takes a few students within the first two weeks to withdraw and you might just find yourself taking a spot in the classroom.
Afraid of making the wrong choice when applying to college? Not sure of your unique skills and talents? Give the institute of your choice a call and make an appointment with a career resource counsellor or registrar. Your conversation will provide insight into your personality and long-term goals, enabling you to make the best possible career/education choice.
In the excitement of those first days of class, you might overlook the student handbook. Don't! It provides valuable information about various school policies (harrassment, computer usage, dress codes, etc.), and everything else from tips on study techniques to important holidays to remember.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|