World Education Services
September is fast approaching, and it’s not too early to start preparing for your new semester. Having a successful start to your first week at college requires plenty of preparation beforehand. Here are 10 things you should do before starting your new school year:
- Stay up to date with school requirements: Universities typically require students to send immunization results and other documents before the year begins. Universities also have policies about when to pay tuition, select courses, finalize aid packages, set up school accounts, and secure health insurance. Make sure to verify with your institution’s website, your advisor, and other relevant contacts regarding these important logistics.
- Plan your arrival: You need to book your flight and figure out how you will travel to campus. It is best to arrive well before classes start so you can get situated and learn where everything is. Leave yourself enough time to work out these details.
- Familiarize yourself with school resources and services: Your student fees go toward campus facilities and offices for your use. Know what your school offers and how/when you should use them.
- Research potential majors and careers: You should choose a major that will qualify you for your future occupation. If you don’t know what job you want, think about what your passions are and the work you’d like to do on a daily basis; research courses and programs that will bring you closer to those things.
- Start crafting a safety net: Everyone has to deal with unexpected situations. Decide who you will contact in an emergency, how you will maintain your health, where you will go if you run out of money, and what insurance you’ll use for situations that are out of your control.
- Look into your professors and coursework: If you already know your fall schedule, find course syllabi to prepare in advance. Keep in mind that you need to buy, rent, or borrow the appropriate books in a timely manner.
- Talk to international students or alumni from your university: Although everyone has different experiences, current or former international students could offer valuable insights as to what you should know before arriving in the U.S. and what they wish they had known in your position.
- Learn all you can about American culture and the English language: American culture and speech are very unique, and it may take time adjusting to them. Do your best to learn about American norms and practices that may differ from those in your home country so you can mitigate culture shock as much as possible.
- Start packing early: You may not have to pack as much as you think. You can purchase many products for a low price once you arrive on campus. Try to pack items that you can only obtain in your home country that would otherwise be too costly to buy in America.
- Prepare yourself for an exciting and challenging year ahead: Adjusting to a new country and workload may be overwhelming. Know this in advance and prepare to learn from every challenge while savoring the impending whirlwind of excitement and activity.
Justine D'Souza works as a Credential Examiner for the Evaluations Department at WES. She holds a B.A. in French with minors in International Business and Political Economy, Organizational Leadership, and Planning and Public Policy. She has experience teaching in both the U.S. and France and has been passionate about international education since her youth.