Heather Barber
March 2024

The Application is Sent, But the Journey is Just Beginning: Your Comprehensive Guide to Post-Application Preparation (Part II)

Congratulations! As you evaluate admission letters and dream big about your life after high school, don’t forget to dive into the transition steps in part 2 of this blog series.   Prepare for your college transition by getting out of your comfort zone.  We promise it will be worth it!  If you missed part 1 of this blog series, please go back and review it for a comprehensive guide to college transition steps.  The adventure is just beginning!  

Embrace Personal Growth:

While academics are undoubtedly central to your college experience, embracing personal growth and mastering essential life skills is equally crucial for success. Think of these skills as the tools you'll use to navigate the realities of independent living and thrive in your new environment.

  • Cooking: Ditch instant ramen and frozen dinners! Learning to cook basic meals not only saves money but also promotes healthy eating habits and opens doors to exploring diverse cuisines. Start with simple recipes, gradually build your repertoire, and enjoy the satisfaction of preparing delicious and nutritious meals for yourself.
  • Laundry: Don't let laundry piles become a source of stress! Mastering the art of laundry includes separating colors, using the right settings, and understanding different fabric care needs. Invest in laundry essentials like stain remover and a drying rack, and don't forget to clean the lint trap!
  • Budgeting: College life comes with various expenses beyond tuition. Develop a realistic budget that tracks your income (scholarships, allowances, part-time jobs) and expenses (rent, food, textbooks, entertainment). Utilize budgeting apps or spreadsheets, prioritize needs over wants, and learn to say "no" to impulse purchases.
  • Time Management: Juggling classes, social activities, and personal responsibilities can be overwhelming. Hone your time management skills by creating schedules, setting realistic goals, and prioritizing tasks effectively. Utilize tools like calendar apps, to-do lists, and Pomodoro timers to stay organized and avoid procrastination. If you know you struggle with constant texts and emails, consider having a paper calendar.
  • Basic Home Maintenance: Learn simple fixes like unclogging drains, changing light bulbs, and assembling furniture. These skills save money and prevent unnecessary service calls and for the most part, you can stroll over to YouTube and find a ton of videos on how to do these necessary things.
  • Technology Literacy: Become comfortable with various software programs and utilize online resources effectively. Understand that in this world of ChatGPT, educators know how frequently it is used, but if you rely on it, you’ll find yourself in trouble, because many educators have changed their approach to assessments to make sure you're the one learning. 
  • Communication and Conflict Resolution: Develop strong communication skills, learn to express yourself clearly and respectfully, and effectively navigate conflict situations. These skills are essential for building positive relationships and resolving misunderstandings.
  • The Power of Practice: Mastering life skills takes time and practice. Don't be afraid to make mistakes; view them as learning opportunities. Start small, gradually incorporate new skills into your routine, and celebrate your progress along the way. Remember, these skills not only empower you to navigate college life but also serve you well throughout your entire life.

Strengthen Your Network: Maintain open communication with family and friends about your college transition. Their support and encouragement are crucial during this exciting yet sometimes overwhelming time (The Jed Foundation). Also, don't hesitate to reach out to your school counselor or advisors if you have questions or concerns. They are there to guide you through the college application process and provide support, and remember having the wisdom to reach out for help when you need it is a sign of strength! (National Association for College Admission Counseling, NACAC).

Living with Roommates

College often marks the first time you share living quarters with people outside your immediate family. While this can be an exciting opportunity for connection and growth, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Here's how you can prepare for a smooth and enriching experience:

Embrace Open Communication: Before moving in, discuss common expectations and preferences regarding cleanliness, noise levels, guests, shared spaces, and basic housekeeping. Communication is key to preventing future frustration and fostering a comfortable environment. Understand that everyone has had a different living arrangement, from loud siblings to only children, and everyone will have to compromise a bit!

Practice Respectful Communication: Don't shy away from addressing issues directly and respectfully. Communicate your concerns calmly and openly, seeking solutions that work for everyone. 

Celebrate Differences: Embrace your roommates' unique personalities and perspectives. View differences as opportunities to learn and expand your worldview. In addition, understand and respect your roommates' need for personal space and quiet time. Communicate your boundaries openly and be mindful of others' preferences.

Share Responsibilities Fairly: Divide chores like cleaning, cooking, and taking out the trash equitably. Discuss schedules and create a system that ensures everyone contributes fairly.

Roommates Can Be FUN!: Plan movie nights, cook meals together, or explore the local area as a group. Shared experiences help build rapport and create positive memories. Even if you value your alone time, make an effort to engage in friendly conversations and get to know your roommates better. Understand that your roommates might have different social needs. While some might crave constant interaction, others may prefer alone time. Respect their preferences and find a balance that works for everyone.

Remember: Living with roommates is a learning experience. There will be bumps along the road, but open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to compromise can create a positive and enriching living environment.

Build Your Community

Building Your Village:  As your college acceptance dreams inch closer to reality, remember that embarking on this exciting journey doesn't mean going it alone. Building a robust support network before you leave can make all the difference in navigating the inevitable challenges and triumphs that lie ahead.

Think beyond immediate family and close friends. Reach out to mentors, teachers, advisors, or even older siblings who have already navigated the college experience. Their insights and guidance can be invaluable when facing academic hurdles, social adjustments, or simply the bittersweet emotions of leaving home. Additionally, connect with future classmates online or through admitted student groups. Sharing anxieties, experiences, and excitement with peers who understand your journey fosters a sense of belonging and creates a built-in support system from day one. Everyone is new to college, and you can be a leader who connects people!

Don't underestimate the power of local community resources. Explore university-affiliated programs like peer mentoring, mental health services, religious institutions, or cultural organizations. Many colleges connect students with local businesses or community centers, offering opportunities for volunteering, internships, or simply finding familiar faces in a new environment.

Remember, a strong support network doesn't just offer practical help; it provides emotional anchors and fosters a sense of belonging. By reaching out, building connections, and actively engaging with your support system, you equip yourself with the emotional resilience and social confidence needed to thrive in your college journey. So, before you take that exciting leap, invest in building your "village" of support – it's an investment in your well-being and success.

Treasure the Journey, Embrace the Present:

As you embark on this exciting journey of college preparation and anticipation, don't forget to cherish the special moments with your friends and family. Remember those who have supported you along the way, express your gratitude and savor the laughter, shared experiences, and memories you create together. College may beckon with exciting promises, but the present holds its own unique joys that deserve your full attention.

Embrace the simple pleasures and connections that enrich your life now. Share a meal with loved ones, take walks in nature, remember to look at the snow capped mountains, or have meaningful conversations. These seemingly ordinary moments will become cherished memories you carry with you throughout your college journey and beyond.

Looking forward to the future is essential, but don't let it overshadow the beauty and significance of the present. Immerse yourself in the experiences of today, appreciate the people who surround you, and remember that happiness and fulfillment often lie in the small, precious moments that make up your journey.

With a balanced perspective, a grateful heart, and an open mind, you're well-equipped to embrace the exciting challenges and opportunities that await you in college and beyond. Remember, the journey begins now, and its richness depends on the present moment you live fully and appreciate wholeheartedly.

So, take a deep breath, savor the excitement, and prepare to embark on this journey with an open heart, an eager mind, and the firm belief that you’ve got this!


National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC): https://www.nacacnet.org  

College Board: https://www.collegeboard.org 

Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): https://www.bls.gov/ooh 

College Scorecard: https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/ 

American Psychological Association (APA): https://www.apa.org/ 

The Jed Foundation: https://www.jedfoundation.org/

The Princeton Review: https://www.princetonreview.com/ 

College Confidential: https://www.collegeconfidential.com/ 

Common App: https://commonapp.org/ 

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