How to Prepare for College Over the Summer

Jul 9, 2024 | Blog, Featured

As you close the chapter on high school and look toward college, the summer months can be a crucial time to prepare for college. At Grace Christian University, we believe that thoughtful preparation can help ease the transition and set you up for success. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to make the most of your summer before starting college. 

1. Set clear goals.

Identify your priorities.

Before diving into summer activities, take a moment to identify your priorities. What do you want to accomplish before starting college? Whether it’s academic preparation, earning some extra money, traveling to new places, or simply relaxing, setting clear goals will help you stay focused and make the most of your time.

Create a plan.

Once you’ve identified your priorities, create a plan. Break down your goals into manageable tasks and set deadlines. This approach will help you stay organized and ensure that you’re making steady progress throughout the summer.

2. Strengthen your academic skills.

Review Core Subjects

Summer is a great time to brush up on core subjects like math, science, and English. Reviewing these subjects will help you feel more confident and prepared for college-level coursework. Consider using online resources, textbooks, or even enrolling in a summer class to keep your skills sharp. Brainscape and Cram offer thousands of premade flashcards, while tools like Quizlet even provide quizzes and study modules. CK-12 and Photomath can assist with your science and math homework and help you figure out how to solve complex equations.

Guys Studying

Develop study habits.

College requires a higher level of self-discipline and effective study habits. Use the summer to develop and refine these habits. Practice setting aside regular study time, taking notes, and managing your time effectively. These skills will be invaluable once the semester begins.

Study and read.

Your education should not be neglected over the summer months. It’s important to keep your brain active and continue to read. This also helps with the transition back to your academics.

3. Gain real-world experience

Find a job or internship.

Working a summer job or internship can provide valuable experience and help you develop important skills. Look for opportunities that align with your career interests or provide a chance to learn something new. Additionally, earning some extra money can help ease the financial burden of college expenses.


Volunteering is another excellent way to gain experience and make a positive impact in your community. Seek out volunteer opportunities that match your interests and allow you to develop new skills. Volunteering can also be a great way to meet new people and build your network.

4. Prepare for the college transition.

Attend orientation programs.

Many colleges, including Grace Christian University, offer orientation events before classes start. These events are designed to help you get acquainted with the campus, meet other students, and learn about important resources. Make sure to mark these events on your calendar so you don’t miss them. 

Plan your move.

If you’re moving away from home for college, use the summer to plan your move. Make a list of items you’ll need for your dorm room or apartment and start gathering supplies. Check out our packing list and consider talking to current college students to get advice on what to bring and what to leave behind. 

Get Organized

There’s no reason for students not to relax and enjoy their summer. But some of it should be spent preparing for the upcoming semester. It’s important to spend your time wisely to help decrease anxiety. Students should invest in a planner to stay organized. The planner will be extremely helpful to determine when things should be completed and will be useful for the academic year.

5. Get to Know Your College

Research Campus Resources

Familiarize yourself with the resources available on your college campus. This might include academic advising, tutoring services, libraries, and recreational facilities. Knowing where to find support can make a big difference when you need it.

Connect with Future Classmates

Use social media and college forums to connect with your future classmates. Joining groups or attending virtual meetups can help you make friends and build a support network before you even arrive on campus.

Register for classes.

Get your enrollment process started as soon as possible. Take the time in the summer to meet with your advisor and discuss your courses. Registering early helps you get into the classes you want before they fill up.

Buy Textbooks

Right after you register for classes, get in contact with your professors to get a list of textbooks you will need for your courses. The earlier you buy your books, the better chance you have to buy them at a discounted price and make sure they don’t sell out. You can buy textbooks used, rented, or at a discount!

6. Take care of yourself.

Focus on physical health

Maintaining good physical health is essential as you prepare for college. Use the summer to establish healthy habits like regular exercise, balanced eating, and sufficient sleep. These habits will help you stay energized and focused throughout your college experience.

Prioritize mental well-being.

The transition to college can be stressful, so it’s important to prioritize your mental well-being. Practice stress-management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or journaling. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider talking to a counselor or mental health professional.

Apply for scholarships and financial aid.

If you have not already done so, it is time to apply for government financial aid assistance (FAFSA). Use this time to check out Grace Christian University’s financial aid department for additional scholarships.

7. Enjoy the summer and have fun.

Make time for relaxation.

While preparing for college is important, don’t forget to enjoy your summer. Make time for relaxation and fun activities that you love. Whether it’s spending time with friends and family, going on a vacation, or pursuing a hobby, make sure to balance work and fun activities.

Student Hangout

Create lasting memories.

This summer is a unique time in your life, so take advantage of it. Plan outings with friends, explore new places, and create lasting memories. These experiences will not only provide a well-deserved break but also leave you refreshed and ready to start your college journey with enthusiasm.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for college over the summer is about more than just checking items off a to-do list. It’s about making the most of this exciting time in your life. By setting clear goals, strengthening your academic skills, gaining real-world experience, and taking care of yourself, you’ll be well-prepared to start college with confidence and enthusiasm.

At Grace Christian University, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Whether you’re attending orientation, seeking academic advising, or simply looking for a community of like-minded individuals, our caring community is ready to welcome you. We believe that, with the right preparation and mindset, you can make a successful transition to college and thrive in your new environment.

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