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Preparing for Campus Life Before College

Congratulations! You’ve accepted your admission offer to attend college and your journey to higher education is beginning! Now on to the not-so-fun part: the paperwork. Usually there is a slew of forms to fill out before the fall begins, or even before you can attend orientation. Your Money Mentor can help you create a list to make sure you complete everything, just make sure to text them and ask!

Immunizations and Other Medical Requirements

Colleges require you to receive several shots in preparation for your attendance in the fall. Even if you do not live on campus, these shots are necessary for your safety and for the safety of others around you. Most, if not all, colleges require:

  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Tuberculosis and PPD
  • Tetanus Booster or proof of getting one in the last ten years

Some colleges will require more than this because of health concerns that have risen on campus in prior years. Make sure to contact your college’s medical office to find out which forms to fill out and when to submit them. Some colleges will not allow you to attend orientation if you have not completed your immunization forms, so be aware of this deadline as well. Moreover, some colleges, like Rutgers-New Brunswick, require you to have medical insurance, and they will ask you to sign up for the college’s medical insurance if you do not already have one. Make sure to check with them and contact your Money Mentor for help if you feel overwhelmed!

immunization form example

Housing

If you have the option to live on campus, most colleges ask you to fill out a housing application or questionnaire. Each college has its own system for placing incoming freshmen in their dorms, and some will even have a housing requirement for first-year students. Most colleges operate on a first-come, first-served basis, which means that you need to apply early enough if you want your first pick. Some colleges allow you to pick your roommate(s) every year, while others reserve this luxury for upperclassmen, and others do not allow it at all. It is important to visit your college's housing website to find out all of this information and call/email them if you have any questions.

Special Interest Communities

Many colleges have set sections of dorms or even entire buildings dedicated to certain communities, like sororities, study abroad groups, or leadership organizations. Many of these groups have an application requirement, especially sororities and fraternities. If you know you want to join a special-interest community dorm before the fall, visit their website to find out more about the entrance process and whether it is available to first-year students.

Dining

Most campuses have dining halls, cafés, and even food trucks! Some colleges require either all students or only students living on campus to have meal plans. This paperwork must be submitted on time or you may not have easy access to food, especially if your college is in a rural or suburban environment and you won't have a car with you. Make sure of where you can use your meal swipes on campus and how many you can use per week. If you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, make sure to call and ask about the way food is prepared in the dining hall. Most dining halls have a wide variety of foods and can accommodate your needs, but you should check just to be safe. Some colleges may require you to fill out a form so that the dining staff can provide you with meals that fit your needs.