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Summer Homework: Getting ready for college

summertodo

The hard work is done. The college application process is over. Summer’s almost here. It’s time for relaxing, quality time with the family and — oh yeah — serious high anxiety.

Hard as it is to believe, many experience an emotional letdown in the weeks after high school and start of college. You’ve worked so hard and been focused for so long that it’s easy to start breathing heavily after you finally exhale.

Take another breath. It’s going to be OK. Now make another list of things you need to do before you head off on this grand adventure. Here are five tips to get you started:

Keep reading. It sounds counter-intuitive. You’ve read so much to get good grades to get into college. College is all about reading. So read more? Yep. Your brain is a muscle. College is to high school what Denver is to Death Valley: It’s a higher elevation, so you need to acclimate yourself to longer reading assignments.

Get a job. Even if you think you know that college is expensive, you don’t really know until it’s Friday night, you have big weekend plans and you’re staring at an ATM bank balance of $9.04. Between fees and entertainment and late-night snacks that Mom and Dad suddenly don’t pay for, college requires significant disposable income.

Clean up Twitter. Remember applying for college and removing those embarrassing photos from Instagram? Do it again. This time, it’s not because admissions officers are peeping your Facebook. It’s because future friends are. And do you really want them to know you liked “Bad Grandpa”?

Spend time with parents. You will miss them. No matter what you think. Plan special nights with them together and individually. Make memories and take mental snapshots. Because homesickness is as inevitable freshman year as Taco Night at the dorm cafeteria.

Begin to reach out. Contact your roommate. Discuss who is bringing what. Start researching cheap textbooks. Start dreaming. Nothing awesome began with tiny dreams.

Because soon, you will chart your own path. And whatever you do, follow your passion, an approach that guides Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities.

Academically rigorous, the schools offer small class sizes. Their faculty are experts in their field and forge lifetime bonds with students who value communities over crowds.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.