So, you’ve gotten your acceptance letters, and maybe by this point, you’ve already decided which school you’re going to commit to. (If you haven’t that’s perfectly fine too; take a look at last week’s tip for some advice.) Now what? If you’re going to college for the Fall 2019 semester, you still have a few months between now and then. To some of you, this might either seem like a really long wait or it might seem too close for comfort. Both reactions are completely understandable and very valid. But while dealing with those emotions and coming to terms with them, there are some steps you have to take between now and then to make sure your transition is as smooth as possible. First and foremost, if you’re still a senior in high school, you still have that to finish. Remember, just because you’ve gotten an acceptance doesn’t mean your admission is guaranteed. Most schools still ask for a final transcript and do look it over. So, a major drop in grades or a possible disciplinary action could affect your school’s decision. You’ve made it this far and even though senioritis is very real, don’t risk your future by completely disregarding school for the last few months. You’ve worked too hard for that. You also have your final national examinations, and though it might seem irrelevant to some at this point. It’s still important that you try your best. Your school might or might not ask for those grades (depending on where you applied) and even if they didn’t, it’s the culmination of all your education up to this point so a good grade wouldn’t hurt. It’d also make you and your parents proud. And one thing that you might take into consideration is that just in case something happens between now and enrollment, you still want to make sure you do well. In the hopefully unlikely chance that everything doesn’t work out, you can still enroll in top universities back home. And one more thing, as to your last few months in high school. Have fun!! Hang out with your friends, converse with your classmates and faculty. Make the most out of your last few months. They can be very bittersweet so make sure you make some memories. As unbelievable as it might seem, you’re going to miss some of it.
Next, make sure you’ve submitted everything for your applications. Some schools might ask for further documents for financial aid or ask you for documentation regarding vaccines and medical records. The earlier you get those out of the way, the more time you have to enjoy your summer.
And make sure to get started on arranging for your visa documents as early as possible. If you’re going to be on a student visa, make sure you’ve submitted everything that you need for your I-20 and get started on your visa application. There are multiple forms to fill out and most likely an interview to go through before getting that final stamp on your passport. Prep for your interview and make sure you have everything ready and you’ll be fine. Again, the sooner you get this out of the way, the less you have to worry about.
And buy your plane tickets. The earlier you buy them, the cheaper they are. But remember to check your school’s housing policies. Some schools only allow you to move into the dorms at a certain date and if you’re going to your school directly from your home country, this is something that you have to put into consideration.
And if your school offers any pre-orientation programs for international students, take advantage of that. Very important information is often given during these orientations that are especially tailored for international students. It also allows you to interact with students from other countries which is a great bonding experience. But if this is not available, check if there are any other programs available for first years that you can apply to that you might be interested in. This might let you move into your dorm a few days before the rest of the students. The university’s website also often contains important information about what you might be required to do either before or after arrival on campus. And you can also ask students that you know who’ve spent a year or more abroad for any tips/advice that they might be able to offer you. This is especially helpful if you know someone who is attending the university that you plan to enroll in. If you need any help with contacts at the school you’re going to, you can reach out to us and if we know anyone, we’ll try our best to connect you.
And finally, it’s your last summer! Relax! Eat (Trust me you’ll miss your home cuisine; It might even be a good idea to stock up on some snacks or if you can cook, some ingredients so that when you crave food from home, you can make some here. Just make sure you have access to a kitchen or somewhere that you can cook). And Sleep!! (The truth is: transitioning into a new country and a new academic system isn’t always very smooth. So, you might have some nights where you have to cut down on sleep in order to finish a homework or study for a test so save up on as much sleep as you can before your summer’s over.) And from personal experience, enjoy the weather!!! (Depending on what country or state you go to, the weather might not be as nice as back home. If you’re going to a state that has long winters or is very cold, you’re going to miss the warmth of the sun so get your tan on! And enjoy it while it lasts!) . Enjoy all the time you have with your family and friends. It might be a little while before you see them again so make sure to make the most of your time together.
After all this, all you have left to do is pack and get ready for your Freshman year!!!!!
The Author is a rising junior at Columbia University studying Political Science.