Monday, July 23, 2012

Preparing for College

Most of you should have already taken placement testing, gone to NSO, and have scheduled classes.  Now what?  Your whole senior year of highschool has been devoted to preparing for college, and it's almost here.  If you are like me, you probably have a checklist that you've been going over and over again.  With move-in being almost a month away, here are some items to add to your checklist.  (If you haven't already.)

  • Make sure your housing is squared away.
           Be sure to log on to myHousing to make sure your contract has been received and that you've been assigned.  (We are still making assignments, so don't fret if you don't see yours up yet.)  You will be receiving a move-in guide in the mail that is going to tell you everything you want to know and more about move-in.  Included in that guide is a letter telling you how to fill out the Chronic Illness form.  After you fill that out, you will be able to see your move-in time and date on myHousing.  It is incredibly important that you are able to make it to your appointment, as all your Fall Welcome events are based off of your move-in date.  If you can't make your appointment, you can fill out an Early Arrival Application form, or you can move in anytime after 7pm the day of your appointment.  If you have any conflict with your move-in time, call us at (414)-229-4065.
  • Email your roomies.
          If you have your housing assignment, you are able to see your roommate and suitemate.  (If you don't see a roommate listed, don't worry.  Some people are still being assigned and you will likely receive a roommate before the semester begins.)  There is an feature on myHousing that allows you to message them.  Check up with them and say hi.  Talking to your roommates/suitemates will help you all be more comfortable with eachother before the fall semester begins.  You can also discuss with your roommate who is going to bring what, and things like that.  In the beginning of the semester, you all will meet with your RA and make a roommate agreement.  In that agreement, you will set ground rules on things like borrowing, noise, guests, etc.  It's not a bad idea to talk with your roommate now about these different things.  I will give you one precaution though:  Have an open mind.  Like I said in my post about my roommate, it's easy to judge people based on their Facebook profile and make assumptions about things that are said (or read) out of context.  Even if you are a little uneasy about your future roommate, give them the opportunity to get to know them in person.
  • Go shopping!
          Remember all of those graduation gifts and cards?  Time to put them to work!  Take inventory of everything you have from home that you are planning on bringing to school, and make a list of what you need.  Shopping to furnish your new room can get expensive, so be sure to shop around to find the best prices.  Before you buy anything though, read over our list of things to bring and things to leave at home.  (Your parents also got a handout of things to bring at orientation.)  If you bring a prohibited item, your RA will ask you to send it home right away.  As a side note, don't feel like you have to buy everything now.  Milwaukee has many, many stores nearby; if you forget something, it's pretty easy to pick it up at Wal-Mart or Target.
  • Make sure your financial aid is in order.
          Your PAWs account will be new best friend these next few years, so get familiar with it.  You should be able to see a section that has your charges and financial aid.  When you click on your financial aid, you should be able to see everything you were awarded.  Just because you were awarded it doesn't mean that you are getting it.  You have to click "Accept."  If you are accepting loans, you will then be prompted to complete a master promissory note.  A master promissory note is a document saying that you agree to pay back the money that you have borrowed.  If you are accepting grants and scholarships, look into what the aid covers.  Some scholarships and grants only cover tuition.  On the side of your PAWs homepage, there is a box that says "To Do."  If you have anything you need to complete for your financial aid, you will find it there along with instructions and links.
  • Think about books.
          Go to the UWM Bookstore and click on the classes and sections that you are signed up for.  If your professor knows what book they would like to use for the course, it'll be listed there.  Not all professors post the required text on the site, though.  You may have to wait until you get your syllabus to know exactly what books you need.  Feel free to shop around for books, but make sure you have the right edition.  When searching for the text, be sure to input the ISBN.  That's a number assigned to each individual edition of each book that is internationally recognize.  It's important to get the correct book.  If you have edition 15 of your math book and the rest of the class is on edition 16, your homework likely won't match up.  Don't stress out too much about books, though.  You don't need your books on the first day of class; most professors know that students may wait to purchase a book.  Otherwise, look for emails from your professor on your UWM email account.
  • Start hunting for a job.
          If you want a job on campus, now's a good time to start looking.  Check out this post for more information on how to get a job on campus.
  •  READ!
          Read your common read, Percepolis, your move-in guide, and all letters and emails sent from the university.  Also, many authors have written books just for first-year students to help them adjust to college.  I read The Naked Roommate by Harlan Cohen before college and it helped out a ton.  Not to mention, Harlan is coming to UWM for Fall-Welcome!  

You are going to be on campus before you know it, so make sure you are checking things off your list! Be sure to also check out this site for more college prep.  See you at Fall Welcome!

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