Getting Prepared for College while Enjoying Your Summer: A Guide for High School Graduates

Prepared for college

Written By Kurtis Vanderpool

I'm a Certified Life Coach working to help people live healthier, happier, and more helpful lives. Whether is deconstructing your faith, navigating a relationship, or just the difficulties of adulting, I have over 10 years experience coaching people to create lives they love!

May 27, 2024

Congratulations, you made it out of the 18-year sentence of school! Now, you’re probably feeling a mix of emotions including excitement about the summer, the freedom of graduation, and the sadness of high school being over and going separate ways from your friends, while also living in the excitement and anxiety of college looming ahead. I want you to know that amidst the struggle to get prepared for college and all the worries, it’s important to savor and make the most of your summer before diving into the next chapter of your life. You’ll hear this word a lot from me, but it’s important to find BALANCE between preparing for college and enjoying your well-deserved summer break. So here are some ways to make the most of your last summer before college

Embrace the Moment

Before diving into the hustle and bustle of college preparations, take a moment to pause and celebrate your achievements. Reflect on your high school journey, the memories you’ve made, and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. Whether it’s through a graduation party with friends and family or a quiet moment of self-reflection, acknowledge and cherish this significant milestone in your life. You have made it through so much and that’s something to celebrate!

Create a Bucket List

Make a list of all the things you want to do and experience before heading off to college. Whether it’s traveling to a new destination, trying out a new hobby, or spending quality time with loved ones, your summer is the perfect opportunity to check off those bucket list items. Once you have the full list, pick the 3 most important and realistic (very few of us can spend 3 months backpacking through Europe after all), and focus on doing those three things this summer. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous, be spontaneous, and make the most of every moment.

Get Organized and Prepared for College

As exciting as summer break is, it’s also an important time to start preparing for college. Take some time to get organized and tackle important tasks such as:

  1. Housing and Roommate Selection: If you’ll be living on campus, research your housing options and complete any necessary paperwork. Consider reaching out to potential roommates to introduce yourself and start building a rapport. If you are going “potluck” with a roommate (or even if you’re rooming with a friend), then it’s a good time to start getting realistic about the difficulties of living with another person who will inevitably drive you crazy. We’ll have a blog out later about healthy roommate relationships but for now, practice clear, kind, and patient communication with the people around you. This will be invaluable with your college roommates.
  2. Financial Aid and Scholarships: There are VERY FEW times in life where people are trying to just hand you free money! Make the most of it! Get all necessary financial aid forms and applications completed. Explore all scholarship opportunities and deadlines, and consider applying for additional funding to help offset college expenses. This can feel daunting and pointless and make you want to quit. To avoid scholarship burnout, just apply for one a day (but take one day off a week). Get it out of the way early in the day so it’s not looming over your head, and remember that it’s a numbers game. The more you apply for, the more you will get. The more you get, the more money you will have in your pocket. TRUST ME…future you will thank you. 
  3. Academic Advising and Course Registration: Familiarize yourself with your college’s academic advising resources and schedule an appointment to discuss your course options. There are always WAY MORE resources designed to help students succeed than students are typically aware of. Do online searches, flip through catalogs from your university, and ASK PEOPLE what resources you can take advantage of. I worked as a University Life Coach at a major 4-year university and 95% of students had no idea they could get free life coaching that I now charge hundreds of dollars for! 
  4. Orientation and Welcome Events: When you go for orientation, take advantage of every opportunity! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and connect with people. Unless you’re going to a very small school, you likely won’t see most of these people ever again so try not to worry about looking foolish or awkward. Go to events, get involved in the activities, make friends, and have fun! Your success and enjoyment of your college years are heavily influenced by how involved you get with friends and organizations on campus, so GO FOR IT!.

Stay Connected with Friends and Family

Amidst the excitement of preparing for college, don’t forget to make time for the people who matter most. Spend quality time with friends and family, whether it’s a weekend getaway, a backyard barbecue, or just a movie night at home. Part of succeeding in college is relying on your support network, so these moments are precious, and building memories with loved ones will help you deal with the challenges of transitioning to college life. 

Practice Self-Care

Amidst the flurry of college preparations and summer activities, it’s essential to prioritize self-care and well-being. Make time for activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul, whether it’s practicing yoga, exercising, or simply taking a few moments each day to unwind and relax. Taking care of yourself spiritually, emotionally, and physically is the best way to prepare for the sometimes jarring switch to life on your own in college. 

Set Realistic Expectations

As you get prepared for college, it’s natural to feel a mix of excitement and anxiety about the season ahead. Keep in mind that it’s okay to feel nervous or uncertain, and know that you’re not alone. Every single college student I have ever worked with (and it’s a lot) have talked about dealing with anxiety, loneliness, and fear of failure. You will go through it too. Never forget to reach out to friends, family, or a trusted mentor for support and guidance as you navigate this transition. It can be scary or embarrassing to ask for help, but your health and happiness depend on your willingness to reach out for help and apply what you learn. Always remember this, 

“A smart person knows the answer. A wise person knows where to find the answer.”


Leaving high school and getting prepared for college is one of the most exciting and terrifying times of your life. Live it up. Learn from every opportunity. Have FUN! There is much to do and it’s important to get it all done, but remember to balance work with play and play with work. If you can learn to create balance this summer, you’ll do just fine in college and grow toward the life you’ve always wanted.

As you embark on this incredible journey, why not get a head start with some personalized guidance? Join our College Success Coaching Program and let us help you navigate this transition smoothly. With expert advice and tailored support, you’ll not only survive but thrive in your college years. Congratulations again, my friend, and here’s to an unforgettable summer and an exciting journey ahead!

Live a Healthier, Happier Life
one change at a time.

Complete my LIFE ASSESSMENT guide and get started living a healthier, happier life today!



How to Become Happier - Kurtis Vanderpool Life Coach

Work with a Life Coach who gets it. Schedule a meeting with Kurtis today!

Live a Healthier, Happier Life
one change at a time.

Complete my LIFE ASSESSMENT guide and get started living a healthier, happier life today!


Work with a Life Coach who gets it. Schedule a meeting with Kurtis today!

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