Happy New Year, Happy Graduation: Tips to prepare for college

Happy New Year, Everyone!

For me, 2017 is the epitome of a new year and a new beginning. Come June, I will have graduated high school; come August I will be stepping onto campus as a freshman at Syracuse University.

Many members of the Class of 2017 are in my same position at various schools across the nation. How can you take advantage of every opportunity this year to make your freshman year your best? I’ve got a few tips.

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Take advantage of social media.

Once accepted into the college of your dreams, you usually are given the option of joining the official class of 2021 Facebook page for your school. I strongly recommend joining this. If you don’t have a Facebook, make one. There are often unofficial Facebook pages too that help you to meet people and find a roommate.

For Syracuse, these Facebook pages acted as avenues to further connect with future classmates. We exchange usernames for other social media platforms, and post bios hoping to find a roommate. Multiple class of 2021 Groupme group chats were created. From those groups, group chats in Groupme were created for the individual colleges. As a broadcast and digital journalism major, I joined the Newhouse group chat.

Through the facebook group and the Newhouse Groupme, I’ve been able to connect with future classmates, find friends, and search for a roommate. We even use Houseparty to video chat as a group.

Figure out the cost of attendance with financial aid and make a budget.

Getting into Syracuse University was a dream come true and a financial wake up call. My family and I factored in my financial aid and determined the actual cost of attendance for my next four years. Each school does things differently, but Syracuse made things simple and outlined the estimated cost of everything for each year I will be attending.

The next step I suggest is making a budget to save and avoid student loans as much as possible. I use the app, Mint to keep track of my spending. It connects to your bank account and I’m confident in it’s safety. Here’s an example of my budget that’s helping me to prepare for next year when I don’t have my parents to pay for everything.

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The first two categories are pretty self explanatory. For me, personal care — the third category — includes everything from makeup to medication.

Uncategorized are my non-necessity purchases. SU apparel, clothes, even atm withdrawals fall under this category.

Be independent.

Now is the time to start doing things for yourself as if you’re already in college. It’s better to start now when you have your family to fall back on when necessary than next year when they’re not there. Do your own laundry, schedule your own appointments, do all the adult things your mom or dad used to do for you.

Getting a head start in preparing for college can help distract you from the side effects of senioritis and help you to get ready for the next chapter in your life. Let me know in the comments what you think of these tips and if you have any to add!

XOXO Anna

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