5 Things You Should Do Before Applying to College

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Going to college can be both exciting and scary, but there are ways to make the process of applying less intimidating. You’ll want to enter college prepared for anything, and you can start by being very prepared to apply to college. Here are five things you should do before you even apply.

Decide How You’ll Pay for College

College isn’t free or cheap, so first, you’ll need to make sure you can afford it. Start researching the financial aspects of each college you think you might apply to. Most schools have scholarships or financial assistance that can make a huge difference. You can also determine how much college is going to cost each year and talk with your family about how much your savings will cover. You can decide if you’d like to take out loans to cover the rest, or if you plan to work through college.

The details of the finances will be determined after you’re admitted to a school, but you want to make sure you have a solid plan before you even apply. Make sure you know the costs that you’ll be responsible for, whether you’re paying upfront or taking out student loans. Also, make sure you open a bank account before you go to college. You’ll need your bank account now that you’re an adult.

Make a List of Schools and Programs

Before you apply to many schools, you have to decide where you’re planning to apply. There are many different ways to choose a school. You might want to only look at schools close to home so you can commute and save money on housing. You might be considering a specific program that only a few schools offer. To decide where you’d like to apply, think about your wants and needs. You’ll want your future school to meet as many of these criteria as possible. You should also visit as many of these schools as you possibly can. Taking a tour of the campus and talking with current students will help you get a better understanding of if you’ll be a good fit. 

Prepare to Share a Room

For most people, college is the first time they will have a roommate. This can be a big change, but it doesn’t need to be stressful. Make a plan for how you will work with your new roommate and discuss your living situation as soon as you meet. Discuss when you each go to bed and wake up and what you expect out of a roommate.

You can also do quick and easy backgroundchecks on your new roommate and any of his or her family members. This information can help you get a good idea of who you’ll be living with and what he or she will be like. This information can also ease your fears and help you get to know who you’ll be spending a year living with.

Figure Out Your Health

Most likely, you’re going to be living away from home for the first time, which means you’ll be in charge of your health. When you get to your new school, you can familiarize yourself with the health office and find any specialists in the area you might need, like a local allergist or dentist.

You’ll also need to know what type of health insurance you have since you will be in charge of paying copays when you visit a local doctor or specialist. Short term health insurance is a great option for college students. What is short term health insurance? This type of insurance is temporary and can be canceled anytime. If you need to find your health insurance while at college, consider short term coverage.


Before you even apply to college, make sure your application will stand out from everyone else’s. Volunteering can set your application apart. After you’ve decided what degree you’re pursuing, see if you can find volunteer experience in that field. If you’re hoping to become a veterinarian, volunteer at a local animal shelter. If you want to be a teacher, ask an elementary school teacher if you can spend a day shadowing him or her. Your volunteer experience will show that you’re passionate about your chosen industry and will set your application apart.

If you take these steps, you’ll feel prepared for applying to college as well as attending. You’ll enter college feeling confident and ready to start the next phase of your life.