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The High School Grad's Summer Guide to Preparing for College

May is an exciting time for many high school seniors, because it's almost time to graduate! I remember how I felt last year when I was leaving my high school for the University of Minnesota. It's hard to believe that it was only one summer ago! I was sad to leave my friends and the school that I knew so well, but I knew that I was moving on to bigger and better things. Based on my experiences, I want to share with you some tips for this summer to help you prepare for the transition from high school.

Take lots of pictures!
In the time that I've been in Minneapolis, I haven't visited home often. The time that passes between visits varies for every college student, but I'm glad I've been able to stay in contact with my friends and family at home. The summer before leaving for college, we made a lot of great memories together that were captured in the photos hung all over my room for my new friends to see. Have fun this summer and create those memories yourself!

Create a budget
College is a big financial commitment. Aside from tuition, you will have to be far more responsible with your money than ever before. Trust me, it's really easy to spend money on things you don't really need. Create a budget before you even get to school, and stick to it! Also, take advantage of the many discounted or free events on campus to enjoy. Our Student Unions & Activities website has a special Deals & Discounts page so you can stick to your budget and still have fun!

Get a summer job
If you don't already have one, get a summer job and save all the money you earn rather than spend it. It will definitely come in handy in the future. Also, start thinking about becoming a student employee at the U of M. Most on-campus jobs work around the schedule of the student, because school always comes first. You can start searching for jobs as early as this summer, on the Student Employment Programs website. This is where I found my job, and I love it!

Visit campus
If you're about to become a freshman in college, you are probably scheduling your freshman orientation for this summer. I encourage you to embrace this experience and get to know your campus. Spending time on your campus in the summer really makes it a lot easier to navigate when you're here in the fall. The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has three campuses across Minneapolis and St. Paul, and there's a lot to explore.

Get to know your roommate
Later this summer when you find out who your roommate is, try to connect with him or her early. You can do this through Facebook, texting, or even visiting each other. I have friends who got to know their roommate very well before living with him or her, so they were able to feel more comfortable on move-in day.

Make a call to your future school
Contact your financial aid office and your admissions counselor to make sure you have everything in place. Don't forget to send in your final high school transcript, and make copies of any financial aid awards you receive. This type of organization is the key to the logistics of a smooth transition.

I'm sure there is much more advice to give, but the best way to learn is through experiencing the exciting college transition for yourself. I really loved high school, but I love college as well! The difference between the two is huge, but I have found the best within both experiences, and I know you will too. I can't wait to start my second year at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities!

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