Summer Prep for New College Freshmen

Congratulations high school graduates! Summer fun is calling your name, but preparing for the upcoming school year is key. Strategically planning for your freshman year will help you put your best foot forward. Being proactive will give you confidence as you begin your college experience. Review the items below before you head to campus!

  • Financial aid check-in. Make sure you’re on top of your financial aid. Contact your college financial aid office to make sure all required paperwork has been submitted, if there are specific deadlines you need to be aware of, and if you have any other questions or concerns. Haven’t completed the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)? You can still apply! Watch our FAFSA Tutorial Video (also in Spanish) for tips and how to get started, then go to to complete your form.
  • Gather supplies. Already have your college schedule and syllabus? Great! Use them as a guide to purchase supplies. It may be a good idea to purchase textbooks after your first class as some professors may make changes or provide additional information about what you’ll actually need. Don’t immediately go to the college bookstore and buy new textbooks. Search online for good deals on used textbooks or consider renting them. Remember to return rented textbooks by the deadline so you don’t have to pay full price.
  • Develop a routine. It’ll take discipline to balance coursework, study time, social life and other responsibilities when you begin college. Talk to friends and family who’ve been to college and ask about their time management challenges. Practice prioritizing this summer so commitments don’t get away from you and that you’re prepared to tackle your busy freshman schedule. Consider using your cellphone’s calendar app or get an actual planner to see what works best for you.
  • Connect with others. Use social media to connect with future roommates or other students who will attend your college in the fall. Communicate with others who have similar interests. Not only can these connections create lasting friendships, but connecting with students before school starts can make the first few weeks on campus more enjoyable and less stressful.
  • Apply for scholarships. Have you already received your financial aid offer? If so, you know how much money you and your family may be required to pay out of pocket for college. If you still need funding to cover the costs, keep looking for free money and apply for scholarships throughout the summer and each year you’re in school. Check out our publication, Are You Looking for Money?, to get tips on submitting successful scholarship applications. Find current scholarship opportunities at and
  • Explore careers. Summer is a good time to explore career interests. Don’t worry if you haven’t decided upon a career yet or if you enter college with an undecided major. It’s not uncommon, and your first year of college will often help determine the path you’ll pursue. It’s a good idea to research popular careers in your areas of interest. To take career interest surveys, learn about various occupations, starting salaries, job outlook, and to view videos detailing possible careers, visit

Need more college prep tips? Be sure to check out our publication Your Transition to College to better understand the differences between high school and college. We also offer a College Freshman Checklist to help you stay on track once you get to campus.