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How to get ready to go to college

Smiling graduates of Lewis & Clark College


Complete all the paperwork and prepare for the transition to college.

Fill out forms

Colleges will send information that you need to fill out by certain deadlines. This may include:

  • accepting financial aid and loan paperwork
  • housing and meal plan forms if you’re living on campus
  • registering for orientation and/or classes

Take tests

Some colleges have placement tests to determine what level courses you can take. Try to take them as soon as possible so the material is still fresh.

Send final transcripts and scores

Let your high school know where you will attend college so they can send your final transcript. If you took college credit in high school you may need to order transcripts from the college(s) as well.

AP scores will be available online in July. You can send scores to a different college than you indicated on the test for a fee.

Say thank you

Send your appreciation to anyone who has supported you in getting to college. This may include scholarship providers, counselors, teachers, and family.

Attend orientation

Orientation may be during the summer or right before classes start. Don’t miss it! This may be when you register for classes and take placement tests if you haven’t already. You can also learn your way around the campus and meet other first-year students.

Learn how to be successful in college

College is different than high school in many ways. Discover how to succeed in college. Explore who’s available to help you on campus and know what to expect from college classes.

Get ready to be independent

Make plans to support your physical and mental health needs. Make sure you’ve got health insurance through the school, your parents, or your own policy.

Make a list of what you need to bring or buy for college. If you will live on campus, connect with your roommate(s) to coordinate supplies.

Figure out your banking and financial needs.

  • Set up a checking account at a bank or credit union near campus.
  • Decide the best way to track expenses and your budget.
  • Learn more about student loans and credit cards before applying.