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30 Tips to Get Ready For College

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

Do you have our popular free download - the 30 Days to Get Ready For College Calendar? We've added a few more details to help your student get ready for their next step. Read them below!

1. Find an organizational system for papers & binders that works for you

How do you keep track of important documents such as class syllabuses? Each student is different, so try different tools and find what works for you!

2. Talk to your roommate about who is bringing shared items for your room

Who is bringing the fridge? (or does your college lease them to students?) Is anyone taking a microwave? Make sure to communicate with your roommate to coordinate important shared items.

3. Identify your ideal environment to do homework

Where do you work best? Do you do your best work at the kitchen table, or at your desk? Do you mind some background noise, or need complete silence? Find out now to be prepared to find someplace similar in college!

4. Practice using a debit or credit card

Some students will be using a credit or debit card for the first time when they get to college. Talk about spending limits and practice using a card at a store or online before school starts.

5. Practice waking yourself up in the morning

Can you wake up in the morning without someone dragging you out of bed? You’ll need to be able to get up on your own in college. Try using an alarm on your phone, an alarm clock, or both!

6. Look into white noise apps or headphones to eliminate noise while you sleep

College dorms can be a noisy place. Make sure you have a plan of how to fall asleep if your first class is at 8am but your neighbors are burning the midnight oil.

7. Check your college email daily for important information

Make it a habit to check your email daily, even if you aren’t expecting anything. You can also set up notifications on your phone to remember or alert you to new emails.

8. Practice leaving a tip at a restaurant or food delivery

College students will make their food choices more independently at school than at home. They should know ahead of time how to leave a tip as well as the appropriate amount to leave whether ordering in or out.

9. Identify 3 coping strategies you use if things get hard

College is not easy; but you will get through it! Think about what you do now to cope with stress or anxiety. Talk to your friends, family, or medical professionals for ideas of coping strategies if you aren’t sure or look online for tips like in this article.

10. Think about a small lock box to securely store important items or medication

You can find small lock boxes in all kinds of colors and sizes. It’s a good solution to keep important items safe.

11. Think about your privacy expectations at college. Make a plan for privacy.

Many college students will be sharing a space with another person for the first time. Think about your expectations for privacy such as making phone calls, changing clothes, and having overnight guests.

12. Know your social security number

You may be required to write your social security number on forms in college such as loan applications, student health insurance, bursar payments, etc. It’s important to start remembering your personal information now.

13. Talk about money management while at college - what is your budget?

It can be easy to spend more than you plan to when at college. Students spend money on take out food, shopping, and going out with their friends. Plan a budget for each month and a way to track how much you’ve spent so far.

14. Role play conversations with a professor asking them for help

Speaking with professors can feel intimidating at first. Remember that helping students learn is their job! Here are 5 tips on how to become more comfortable talking to professors.

15. Find a system to organize your homework assignments

How will you remember to turn in assignments? It can become difficult or overwhelming to keep it all in your head. Write down your assignments in a planner or use an app on your phone.

16. Talk with physicians and mental health professionals about your college transition plan

The transition to college can be tough. Talk with a doctor about how any medical conditions will be handled while at college and discuss with a therapist about personal coping strategies.

17. Buy multiples of important charging cords for your devices

Make a list of all of the devices you need to charge such as your phone, laptop, smart watch, or video game systems. You’ll want to have backup in case one of your chargers gets lost, or you leave it somewhere.

18. Practice doing laundry

How much detergent should you use? Warm or cold water? Start doing your own laundry now, it’s not only good practice, but it’s easier to ask questions now at home rather than later at school.

Keep this information in a place such as your wallet, drawer, or lockbox. Additionally, it’s important to know whether or not you'll be covered by your family’s health insurance plan while you're at college or will be using your campus’ student health policy.

20. If you have a disability, contact the Accessibility Office after acceptance to register with the office.

Students will want to register before the semester starts in order to be prepared on day one for classes. This blog article has information on the steps of how to request disability support in college.

21. Make a plan to get exercise

Most college campuses offer a gym or fitness center, and may offer places to play sports such as courts or fields. Find out what facilities your college has. You can also plan to take walks around campus; it’s better with friends!

22. Identify your distractions and make a plan to reduce them at college

Do you find yourself playing video games to avoid homework, or get preoccupied reading your newsfeed when you should be reading your textbook? Once you’ve identified these distractions, make a plan so you can make the most of your education!

23. Know the name of your academic advisor

Your academic advisor is a great resource! Make sure you know their name, as well as their office location. Visit them to find out more about classes offered and majors to choose from.

24. Connect with your college's social media channels

You can usually find this information on your college’s website. Keep up to date with events, clubs, and connect with other students at your school!

25. Know your Orientation Day/Time

New students will get a chance to get to know each other as well as the campus on orientation. Make sure you know your orientation’s day and time as well as other information, such as if it’s an overnight visit.

26. Find your college's tutoring/writing center

Students should do this, even if they don’t know if they’ll use it right away. After you find its physical location, check if they have a page on your school’s website. They may offer more services than you thought!

27. Make a communication plan with family (when, how often, etc.)

Is your family okay with just a text, or would they like to hear from you over the phone? Find out how as well as how often your family expects to hear from you.

28. Look into your college’s clubs and activities

What do you like to do in your free time? What are you passionate about? Chances are, someone else has similar interests as you! Check your college’s website for information on how to get involved on campus.

29. Contact your roommate

It can be intimidating to reach out to someone you’ve never met. However, the sooner you connect with your roommate, the more time you’ll have to get to know each other before moving in.

30. Complete the Sharing the Transition to College Workbook

If you’re looking for a practical and engaging way to prepare for college, check out the Fast Forward College Coaching workbook! It contains over 80 activities, exercises, and real-world scenarios for college bound students.


1. Are you cautiously optimistic about your student's college success?

2. Do you want a safety net of support for your new college student?

3. Do you want a professional that will provide updates and communication with you each week during the semester?

If so, reach out to us to schedule a free phone call with Jennifer Sullivan.

Our team of EF coaches have Masters Degree and will meet with your student 1x week (up to 3x week) to help with time management, reading course syllabi, checking email (you know your student needs help with this one!), making weekly lists of homework assignments, asking for help, etc. We are the experts in supporting new college students.

Give us a call (860) 629-0090 or send us an email - find out why parents tell us that Fast Forward College Coaching's support is "lifechanging" for their college student.

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