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There are tons of sites and blog posts dedicated to making sure that you have ticked every box on your way to getting into college. Lots of these same sites drop you like a bad prom date once you get your acceptance letter. These are some essential questions and a couple of answers that you need to consider after you have been accepted and are preparing to leave home for college.
Do I need to accept the college’s acceptance of me?
Yes! Please let the college that you plan to attend know that you are accepting their acceptance, thank you very much. Colleges send out acceptance letters to people all the time who decide for one reason or another not to come. These spots can then be filled by other students who want to attend. So make sure you have a spot, let your college know that it is your pick. They probably gave you instructions on how to do this in your acceptance letter.
Is college orientation mandatory?
Generally. And even if it isn’t, you should still go. College orientation is when you are going to start to learn your way around campus, get to meet people you will actually have around you on a daily basis, and get some good tips from the older students. Most colleges will also use the time to help freshmen register for classes, meet their advisors, visit their dorm, and do other essential first-time functions.
Do I have to pay for college all at once?
No. Unless you are related to Donald Trump or Elon Musk you probably can’t do this even if you wanted to. Most students pay with some combination of loans, scholarships, grants, and payment plans. Talk to your family and the office of financial aid at the college. Ask for help if you need it. These folks are there to help make this as affordable for you as they can. Don’t expect miracles, but they can make things happen.
Where can I get my medications while I am in college?
If you are on meds, you need to give some thought as to where you are going to get them once you head off to college. You will not be able to get them from anywhere on campus. A doctor at a student health center may be able to renew your prescription but you can’t actually get it filled there. You will likely need to use a local CVS or Walgreens. When I was in school and didn’t have access to a car, I got ninety-day supplies and had my parents ship them.
What if my bank doesn’t operate in the state where I am going to college?
Some banks are local to a specific area or state. If you leave that area for college, your bank may no longer have any reachable branches. With the rise of online banking, this is less of an issue, but it means you will be paying a $3 charge each time use an ATM that is out of the system to get cash. I would advise you to create a checking account with a bank that was built online like Ally. They usually partner with ATMs to waive the fee and have really good customer service.
Do I need a car at college?
No. You can get through all four years of college without having your vehicle. Some colleges do not allow their lower-classmen to have cars on campus. It may feel like the end of the world to be sent to college without a car but you have a 100% chance of making friends with someone who has their own ride. Don’t stress about it and just be glad you don’t have to pay for parking.
Is taking a random roommate a bad thing?
No. Lots of people take random roommates when they first go to college. You will hear horror stories occasionally but that is just how things go. You have just as much of a chance at having a rough time rooming with the girl you sorta know from your high school as you do taking a random roommate. Taking a randomly assigned roommate will force you to meet people and get out of your comfort zone when you first get on campus and you are the most homesick. Plus most folks have buddied up by their second year so only take luck of the draw as a freshman.
Why won’t my college talk to my parents?
You are considered an adult now. That means that by law, your college cannot tell your parents anything about your grades, your health, or your finances. This is true even if they are the ones paying for your college. Some kids like this as it means their folks aren’t going to know how they are doing in school unless they choose to tell them. It also means that any bills and money issues that pop up will need to be handled by you instead of them. If you are on good terms with your parents and are ok with them being able to get information from the school about you, there is a form the college will give you to sign that will allow them to release info. Make sure to put both of your parents on that paper. This is a personal choice and not mandatory.
Can I get learning disability help at college?
Yes. Colleges will have an office dedicated to helping students with learning disabilities get proper accommodations. You are going to need to have been medically diagnosed and have proof of that so the college can put it in their records system. From there they will work with you about alerting your professors, scheduling separate rooms for exams, and anything else that you may be eligible for to help make college a better learning environment for you. My advice is as soon as you can, reach out to someone and ask to be put in touch with an advisor who deals with this type of thing. They are usually very discrete and super helpful. I got help from them myself.
Everyone has their packing lists so they don’t forget things for college. Still, questions like these often get left out. These are the type of questions that transform your first few months at college from stressful to smooth as they can be. Spend some time thinking about your answers and set yourself up for success.