How to Mentally Prepare for College

Once you have gone through the entire process of actually applying and choosing your college, you have to get ready for it. This is probably the biggest change in your life so far and it can be hard to wrap your head around.

You may have been so concerned about getting into college and getting enough scholarships that you haven’t even thought about the actual act of going to college. You have to pack up all your belongings and move out from your parent’s house for the first time ever.

The first year of college is always the hardest and most stressful because you are getting used to things, buying all new things, and overall just trying to figure out what college is about.

You may get homesick being away from your family and old high school friends so be prepared. I was lucky when I left for college because I went to The Ohio State University which was close to where my parents lived. I also had my older brother already going there so when I moved to Ohio State I moved in with my brother. I did not really get homesick.

The best thing that you can do is spend your summer after high school preparing so that. Your freshman year can go as smoothly as possible.

You will really appreciate all the hard work and preparation you put into the entire college application and preparation process once you get to college all on your own.

The best feeling though is getting to this new place with all of the new people and realizing that you did this. You worked hard enough to get yourself where you are.

Go on Visits to the College

There are so many different visits that you can go on once you actually get accepted. You obviously don’t want to go on the general tour more than one time because you will just be seeing the same things.

Do some research into your specific university to see if they offer a tour date for accepted students or if you can go on a tour specific to your major or program.

I went on a tour specific to my major over the summer before my freshman year of college and it caused me to switch my major before I even got to school. Things like this can really help prepare you mentally and get all aspects of college ready for you.

You want to be as familiar as you can with the campus and the place that you will be moving to in a few months. Especially if your campus is big, this gives you time to start figuring some of it out.

Save Up Money

If money is something that you are worried about, then you should definitely be saving up money the summer before college. Don’t go blowing your graduation money the minute you get it because that amount of money can really go a long way when you’re in college.

You most likely won’t be paying for food because you’ll have a food plan already paid for and if you don’t have a car on campus you will not be spending money on gas. You are going to need money just to be able to live and have fun.

Things you may want to do or need include:

  • Going out for drinks with friends
  • Eating out instead of always eating cafeteria food
  • You may want to buy a university sweatshirt or shirt
  • Tickets to sporting events or other campus events
  • Miscellaneous dorm items you may need

You also don’t know how long it is going to take you to find a job, so you want to have as much money saved up as possible.

 I had to use my graduation money to buy my laptop for school and it took a large chunk of money out of my savings. I was out of money a lot sooner because of that and I wish I could have been able to save up more money.

The items above you will still need to buy and if you don’t have a lot of people helping you buy these things then you will have to spend your money, that’s okay. You would rather be prepared and just struggling a little bit with money and finding a job than to not have anything that you need once you get to campus.

Start Buying Things at the Beginning of Summer

A good way to not feel overwhelmed is to start preparing early in the summer. This means that you can start buying things and making lists here and there instead of going crazy and trying to think of everything you need right before you go to school.

You will have to buy all new stuff for your dorm room which is actually a lot more than you think.

Here is a list to start you on the path.

  • Alarm clock – if you have Alexa or Google that can be used to wake you up for class
  • Clothing – this is obvious everyone needs clothes. If you are going to a university with winter weather make sure you have enough winter clothes
  • Bed sheets – bring your own bed items
  • Hangers for clothes – the college will not provide this for you
  • A laptop computer and a small desk printer
  • Laundry basket
  • Laundry detergent
  • Wall decorations for the room
  • Lamps for your desk
  • Pens, pencils, tape, erasers, paper, stapler, staples, scissors, etc
  • Television
  • Storage crates that can be stacked
  • Shower stuff like flip flops, shower tote, bathrobe and towels
  • Bring some utensils and snacks for your room if this is allowed in the dorm
  • ID, paperwork for school, etc
  • Medications you may need
  • Fan
  • Under bed storage totes
  • Small trash can
  • Stamps and envelopes
  • Surge protector
  • Cell phone and camera unless you use your phone
  • Area rug
  • Toiletries like nail clippers, dental floss, toothbrush, comb, tweezers, razors, shaving cream, medical first aid kit, etc
  • Umbrella
  • Backpack
  • Sports equipment

There are just so many small things to think about that you will need that it is a lot easier if you start preparing and buying earlier rather than later.

You may also just think of things you might need by listening to other people or looking online. Just do yourself a favor and don’t overwhelm yourself right before you leave.

You will already be nervous and stressed and the last thing that you need is to try to remember every single thing you will need to buy and take to college. This is also how you forget to get things that you need.

Spend Time with Friends and Family

Instead of worrying about leaving your friends, family, significant others, etc., just spend time with them. You are leaving either way so you might as well take advantage of the time that you have with them now and spend time with them.

Don’t spend this time sad and worried about leaving wither because that defeats the purpose. Just think at the moment and enjoy your time with them now. If you are meant to stay with a significant other or stay friends with someone you will. No matter how far away you are from someone if each of you wants to make an effort to keep the relationship you will.

Just remember that your friends can come to stay with you and you can always go home at the same time or stay at another college for the weekend. Everything will work out and you are probably about to have the best year of your life.

I remember visiting my friend who went to Ohio University for their first year of school. We had a great time that weekend. Staying connected is not always easy but is very doable.

Just enjoy the time you have with your friends and family and don’t worry too much because you will see them on breaks and probably all of the next summer.

Start Looking for Roommates

If your roommate is a topic that you are worried about, then the best thing that you can do to relieve the stress in that area is to find one before you sign your housing contract. If you are totally fine with going with someone random then do it! But if you aren’t, there are so many different ways that you can find a roommate.

We are lucky enough to live in a generation where we can find all of this and all of these people online.

Our parents and grandparents just had to go random every time unless they already knew someone going.

There are many Facebook groups where you can find others who are going to the same school as you and in the same grade as you. You can find someone on there and request to meet up.

You can look at their social media as well to make sure that they are a real person and that you would get along with them. If you do meet with them, make sure that you are meeting in a public place and that there isn’t anything you feel weird about.

A lot of my friends from school met their roommates on Facebook and ended up being super good friends with them. It is pretty nice that you can almost handpick a roommate that you think you will get along with best.

Research Different College Checklists

If you are having trouble figuring out what exact things to bring, then you should really look up at the checklist we have listed earlier in the post.

You can also ask friends that are currently away at college what type of things would be needed at college which could really help a lot.

Don’t be afraid to use the internet or your peers for help.

Research Clubs and Organizations

If you are really thinking ahead, you can also look up and do some research about the types of things that you know you want to be a part of once you get there.

This will help you know when you can start joining clubs and organizations and how you go about doing it. It may also make you feel a little bit better knowing that there is a place where you fit in at this university.

The clubs at most universities are endless. You can see if your school has any of these clubs chess club, religious clubs, sports, sorority, fraternity, jogging, singing, dancing, cooking, outdoor, mountain biking, etc.


Overall there are many things that you can do to mentally prepare yourself for college but no matter how prepared you are, it is a big change. All that you can do is try your hardest and prepare well.

Starting to prepare early can really help your mindset and help you get excited and ready for school. This is the most exciting time of your life so far so don’t be so worried that you don’t enjoy every part of it.

Recent Posts