Tips to help students get ready for college experience

August is almost here, and students will heading to col­lege soon.

Harlan Cohen, author of the New York Times best-selling college guide, "The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues you Might Run Into in College," says there is plenty that stu­dents can do this summer to ease the transition to college.

Harlan’s "Summer To-Do List for College-Bound Stu­dents" includes:

  • Check in with your new roommate: Unless you want to have two microwaves and two lava lamps in your dorm room, talk with your room­mate and figure out who is bringing what.

Also, avoid judging them based solely on their social network profile – pick up the phone and chat.

  • Start packing: Over-packing is a rookie mistake. To help keep things in per­spective, set up three box­es or duffel bags – one for things that are unquestion­ably necessary, one for what might be needed in the near future and one for what you need later. Rule of thumb is one carload full is enough.
  • Find your place on cam­pus: This can be done during the summer. Orientation programs are a good time to get acquainted with the ac­tivities and resources avail­able. Start with what inter­ested you the most in high school – academic, social, athletic, philanthropic – and go from there.
  • Get the right people in your corner: Every student should have five people in their corner on campus. In­troduce yourself via email and make an appointment or plan to attend a meeting when you get to school. Your support system can include a wide range of people, from professors to spiritual lead­ers.
  • Talk to your parents: Work out a plan for when you’re going to talk once you get to campus (or plan on having issues). Set up a schedule for when they’ll visit you and when you’ll come home.

Cohen also shares his top five tips for making sure your child doesn’t get lost or out of control in college:

  • Don’t be the roomate from hell: Set the ground rules to talk about problems before they become a prob­lem.
  • Be smart about being stupid: Students who create a world of options always have options. Not all stu­dents get wasted.
  • Celebrate bad grades sooner rather than later: Get help before you need it. There’s nothing to celebrate in December.
  • The cure for homesick­ness is never at home: Two-thirds of students will get homesick. Plan for it and minimize it.
  • Lean on your personal financial adviser: If you’re overwhelmed financially, let the pros handle it.
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