That’s it, you’ve been accepted! Now there are just a few more things to consider to ensure you are prepared to set off for life as a college student in the United States.
Important Things to Consider
Register for Classes
Now that you’ve been accepted and have prepared everything to attend your chosen institution, it’s time to check out the class schedule they sent you and make some tough decisions. Research each class, the professor, and course expectations to see what’s right for you. Most schools will have specific “tracks” you need to follow to make sure you can get into each class that’s needed for your degree. Contact your advisor if you have any questions.
Buy Core Textbooks
Buy the core textbooks for your classes ahead of time when possible. One of the best places to buy cheaper textbooks is on Amazon. Check the edition you need and see if a second-hand one is available for a lower price.
While doing some core reading is great preparation, don’t buy everything on your reading list until after your first class. Your professor will give you a better idea of how often you will use the book and if sharing with a fellow student would be feasible, or if photocopies or digital copies of specific book chapters can suffice. If you don’t want to carry all your textbooks in your luggage with you, consider buying a tablet or Amazon Kindle so you can buy the digital version, which is often cheaper.
Sign up for Freshman Orientation
Check the date of orientation, sign up and mark it on your calendar. Get a map of the college campus, either printed or on your phone, so you can find your way to the orientation zone. Also, check out the schedule for the day to see which activities and tours you’re most interested in so you can organize your day. Do the same for your freshman week, thinking ahead about the events you want to attend but leaving space for some spontaneity throughout the week. Just keep in mind that some items during orientation are mandatory.
Check out Banking Options
When studying away from home, it’s important to know how you’re going to access your funds. You might want to open a local bank account and transfer funds. Alternatively, consider the best bank accounts, debit cards and credit cards for international students. Often, banks have student-specific accounts, offering better rates, discounts and additional offers for students. Check which US banks connect with your home banking institutions to make international transfers and payments abroad easier. A good place to start your search is the bank on your college campus.
Make Friends Before You Even Arrive
Universities often provide forums to connect students across departments and colleges. Join your college forum or online groups, such as those on Facebook, to connect with other students who are going to be starting your program at the same time as you. This will help you get to know your peers before your first day. If you’re given your roommate before you arrive contact them via social media or ask for their college email address.
Check School Regulations
Before packing, check the local climate you can expect throughout the year, the school regulations of things you can and can’t take into student accommodation, and online checklists of student essentials. Have a look at where your local Walmart, Target or Ikea is in the area you’re going to be staying so you know what you should take and what you can buy when you arrive. Additionally, pack in advance so you have time to buy anything you need before leaving. Take a few things you think you might miss, whether this be photos or local foods, think ahead!
Visit your Doctor
Make sure you have all the relevant medication and prescription receipts you need to travel abroad and get have general check ups taken care of (including dental and vision tests). Ask for a copy of your vaccinations and any other relevant medical information, such as past illnesses or allergies
Additional Preparation to Think About
Enjoy Time with your Friends and Family
Moving away can be daunting for anyone. Spend the days before you go enjoying your time with friends and family. Eat at your favorite local restaurants, or do some of your favorite things that you can only do in your hometown.
Write your Resume
This might be the last time in while that you have free time. It’s the perfect time to take a day and focus on writing a good resume. This will help prepare you to apply for work, volunteer positions or an internship instead of leaving it until the last minute. Don’t let this task make you more stressed, instead think of it as early preparation, something you can build upon as your knowledge and experience grows. Additionally, a good online networking option to explore is LinkedIn. Setting up a LinkedIn page early on will help you with establish a means of networking with individuals around the world during college.
Keep Up-to-Date with Current Affairs
If you don’t already follow the news then now would be a good time to start. It’s a good idea to have a basic knowledge of both US politics, current affairs in general and the state you’re studying in. Try and catch the headlines and follow sections related to the subjects you’re going to be focusing on.
Your 1 Month Checklist:
- Register for classes
- Buy core textbooks
- Sign up for orientation
- Check banking options
- Connect with other students
- Pack with school regulations in mind
- Visit your doctor
- Write your resume
- Enjoy your vacation before college
Check out our application timeline for 1 Month Before you study in the US to learn what your next steps should be, or download our Complete College Application Checklist.