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  • Writer's pictureNikki Koppel

Top 7 Ways to Be College Ready

Congratulations, your college applications are in! You’re following up to ensure your recommendations are being submitted and your FAFSA is filed.

Now, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. Whether you’ve already heard from some schools, or are waiting to hear – there is more to do to get ready for college. So, while you’re battling a well deserved case of senioritis, I encourage you to allocate some time to continue to prepare for independence at school.

So, what does that mean?

Below you’ll find seven competencies that you may possess already, but if you don’t, you can use this time to start working towards acquiring these very essential college readiness skills.

1. TIME MANAGEMENT When it comes to managing your time, you are on your own while away at school. With your new found freedom, comes responsibilities. Daily to-do lists, phone alarms and warnings, scheduling appointments and putting events into your calendar as soon as you finalize them will be helpful and set you up for both academic and personal success.

2. STRESS MANAGEMENT Most schools today have centers for well-being and even classes to support students in developing coping mechanisms to manage their stress. These coping skills can include: regular exercise, adequate rest, healthy nutrition and overall self-care, which involve a balance of relaxation and good personal hygiene practices. In short, arriving at school with this understanding will help create balance and resilience when facing the ambiguities and fluid nature of college life.

3. STUDY SKILLS Even if you’ve taken college level classes in high school, academic demands at college will impact you differently. You need solid study skills. Everything from knowing how to read a textbook, highlighting important details, taking notes and asking for accommodations by registering with Student Accessibility Services (if you had them in high school) will continue to be helpful.


It is important to have knowledge of how to independently handle money and adhere to a budget while away at school. Experience using an ATM, reading a bank statement and learning to make responsible decisions regarding how your money is spent, will be crucial skills to have and will support your future financial literacy and independence.


Once at school, it will be up to you to speak up for yourself and to learn to communicate in a pleasant, but assertive manner. If you’ve never lived with other peers away from home, self advocacy will be required when communicating your needs and wants with roommates, study groups, and various college personnel. You want to establish healthy boundaries and not be taken advantage of.


Colleges and universities have established student support centers for academics and general well-being practices. Knowing where to go for help and understanding that taking advantage of these resources is a sign of strength - not a sign of weakness, will support your success on a variety of levels. Whether you seek out mental health counseling or a subject area tutor, asking for help when you begin feeling like you need it, is the right time to take action.


College and university campuses represent an opportunity for you to find your people. You may not end up becoming “friends” with your roommates, but just getting along is meaningful enough. Everybody there is struggling with the same desires to make friends and do well. Joining clubs and activities with other students that have similar interests will play a vital role in your ability to feel confident and happy while away at school. Be patient with yourself and those around you and remember, you are part of a community. You will get out what you put in.

Make the most of your experience away at school. Give some thought to your current strengths and assess areas that could use improvement. On a campus, everything you need is easy to access. Be prepared to be surprised.

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