High school is over. Time to chill out and have a lazy summer, right? Wrong!

Here are a few thoughts and strategies to combat summer melt and ensure you arrive on campus ready to start your college adventure.Teenaged girl trying to stay cool in the hot summer weather

Nervous? That’s okay!

It’s normal to feel nervous about the next chapter in your life. Remember, you’ve earned this: you’ve made it through high school, and you know the importance of continuing your education. Think about your “why”… why are you embarking on this journey? For you, for your future, and for your family and loved ones. This is your journey. As for your fellow soon-to-be college students… they’re just like you, starting brand new and probably nervous – just like you. Embrace this moment… you’ve got this!

Check your email

It might sound silly, but email is important: it is the main method that colleges use to communicate with incoming students. Some common emails you may receive from your college over the summer include:

  • The Admissions Office needing you to send your final high school transcript to them.
  • The Financial Aid Office needing you to complete the Verification process. Learn more here.
  • The Financial Aid Office needing you to sign for your loans at StudentLoans.gov.
  • The Health Center needing documentation regarding your vaccinations.

Check your online student portal account

Similarly, many colleges now utilize an online portal account. This requires a login of some sort (As a side note, you typically can activate your account once your initial application for admission is approved or you are admitted). Colleges will post messages, such as requests for missing paperwork, on this account. You will also eventually use this account to register for classes.

Set some goals for your college experience

Goals, both short-term and long-term, will help you maximize your college experience. Use your downtime before the fall semester starts to put something on paper or a vision board. Here are some goals you might consider including:

  • Freshmen year: certain GPA goal, fitness goal (aka “avoid the freshmen 15 and instead get buff!”)
  • Study Abroad: think about countries you might want to study abroad in at some point during college
  • Internship: if you know what you want to major in, are there companies that have internship programs for you to keep in mind for later (usually junior/senior year of college)? What do they look for in applicants?

Job Shadow, Internship, or other relevant experiences

You might already have a major picked out; perhaps you’re still undecided. Regardless, research how you might set up a job shadow with a professional who does something you’re interested in. Job shadowing will give you the opportunity to pick their brains and see what a day in their life is truly like. This will help save you time (and tuition dollars) as you start identifying what you truly want to study in college. Remember, you may be pressed for time in the fall and spring; utilize your free time in the summer. If you can’t set up a job shadow, think about ways to volunteer or intern with an organization related to your major to gain some relevant experience.

Attend your new-student orientation event

Orientation events will help you get comfortable with your college and are a great opportunity for you to ask last-minute questions. Additionally, they will give you information and resources to help you adjust to campus life in the fall. For more about what goes into an Orientation Day, check out this blog.

Read some books!

Set a reading goal for your summer: three books, five books, whatever! Reading is important because it helps keep your mind sharp. This summer is also your chance to get some fun reading in before college starts and you have required reading (which isn’t always so fun). Remember, in college you will need to read and study more, so you may not have as much time for leisurely (fun) reading. Check out this blog for book suggestions.

Last but not least, do have some rest & relaxation time!

Decompress. Play video games. Travel. Hang out at the pool. Do something that will help you recharge your batteries so that you can hit the ground running in the fall. You’re about to start one of the best adventures of your life. You’ve got this!