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We know you’re busy, so we're here to take the guesswork out of financial aid, college applications, and how to survive college life.

First of all, congratulations on graduating from high school! This is a huge accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself. Second, you have most likely already decided on what you are going to do after high school. If college is the next step, then you've come to the right place. Since this is your last summer before college, here is some advice to keep on track.

Submit your final paperwork

After you have graduated, you will want to take a final inventory of your admissions packet and paperwork submitted to the college you're attending. The majority of your paperwork to the college should have already been submitted, but make sure you don't forget about:

●      Final transcripts

○      Your final semester grades matter, even if you have already been accepted into college. Especially for scholarships, make sure to maintain a high grade point average because you may be able to receive some unexpected funding.

●      AP scores

○      If you've taken any AP classes the final semester of your senior year, make sure that your scores are sent over to the college. Most schools will do this for you, but it is always best to be sure for yourself than to assume someone is doing it for you.

●      SAT and/or ACT scores

○      Especially if you have retaken the SAT or ACT test, you'll want to be sure that your best scores got sent over to the college. You may be able to get more scholarships to help pay for room and board and tuition.

Complete the admissions process

Over the summer you will have some things you need to complete before starting classes in the Fall. Make sure that you have:

●      Taken any required subject placement tests

○      Your college will likely require you to take subject placement tests depending on your skill level. Make sure that you have taken these tests early just in case you need to retake any of them to get into the classes of your choice.

●      Contacted and accepted your financial aid package

○      After you've graduated there may be more opportunities to get funding from unclaimed scholarships. Speak with financial aid about the money you're receiving and any other opportunities.

●      Decided on lodging

○      If you haven't decided where you're staying yet in college, now is the time. Some colleges will require that freshmen stay on campus in the dorms, and if so you'll want to be sure you filled out your roommate survey or requested a room of your own.

Sign up and go through orientation

Sign up for a summer orientation session and attend when you are able. Colleges typically schedule orientations throughout the summer, and you'll want to go fairly early. This is also a good time to schedule a meeting with professors, activity advisors, current students, and anyone else who can help you get acclimated with the school.

Set goals

When you set goals, make sure that they are attainable. Don't set goals for after you graduate just yet. Keep the end of the tunnel in sight, but focus on your first semester and first year classes before you get ahead of yourself. Focusing only on the end gain will only serve to stress you out.

Explore the campus

Summer is a good time to explore the campus you are going to be attending and check out some of the activities they offer and other amenities. See what club sports they offer, sororities and fraternities on campus, pools, gyms, and exercise opportunities, and don't forget about the library.

Enjoy your last summer before starting college

Finally, be sure that you enjoy your summer, it may be the last time you are able to connect with friends who are attending colleges in different cities and family who won't live close anymore. Life can't all be about work, and besides, you'll be working your butt off for at least the next four years, so take some time to enjoy yourself.