You’re all moved into your dorm room and it’s time to say goodbye to your parents. It’s tough to see them go, but at the same time, you’re filled with excitement about your newfound independence. Luckily, you have a few days to learn more about college life before classes begin. Check out these five important tips for making the most out of your first week in college:

1. Go to New Student Orientation Events

New student orientation is specifically designed to help you learn more about campus and meet new people. It may seem intimidating at first, but jump right in and make the most out of the fun events available for new students. Expect the schedule to include a mix of social activities and educational opportunities that will help you learn more about campus resources.

2. Buy Your Books and School Supplies

In addition to having fun, use your first week as a mental jumpstart for your classes. Check out your class schedule online and make a list of the books and any other required supplies. Most classes won’t use a textbook during the first week, so you still have time to order books online. Make a trip to the store to get anything else you need.

3. Find Your Classes

College campuses have a large footprint, so use your first few days to get the lay of the land. Ask your roommate and walk around campus to each of your classrooms. If you know where everything is, you’ll be less stressed on the first day of classes. Check out the fitness center, library, and student union to learn all about what is offered for students.

4. Make New Friends

Force yourself to reach outside of your comfort zone during your first week of college. It’s important to make new friends and get involved right away in campus life. Start with your roommate. Go to the cafeteria or attend an orientation event together. You can also hang out in your dorm’s floor lounge and meet new people who live nearby. Go to a student activities fair and pick out a campus organization that interests you. If you get involved right away, you’ll make new friends that will last a lifetime.

5. Have a Great Time!

Your time in college is likely to be among the best years of your life. Seize every opportunity to learn and grow, but be sure to fit in time to relax and have fun. Remain healthy and balanced by incorporating exercise and recreation into your daily routine. College is your opportunity to plan out every moment of your day based upon what you need and want to do. Make the most of your first week of college, it will set the tone for the rest of your college career!

For you, joining a fraternity or sorority is a no-brainer. You’ve always known you’d go Greek. Or maybe you don’t think you’re cut out for rush week or the pledging process. You’d never join in a million years. Get both sides of the story and learn about the pros and cons of joining Greek life.

Pro: You’ll Have a Built-in Group of Friends

If you can’t wait to build a tightly knit group of friends, Greek life could offer just what you want. When you join a sorority or a fraternity, you’ll make dozens of friends instantly. Since you’ll be sisters or brothers, you’ll form close bonds right away and support one another throughout college and beyond. In fact, many former Greeks maintain those close bonds for decades to come.

Con: Your Friend Group Might Be Too Limited

Having a built-in group of friends can be great. But when you devote so much time and energy to your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters, you might not have the capacity to make other friends. As a result, your crew could be limited to those around you and the other Greeks your house socializes with regularly. You could miss out on meeting people at college who exist outside of the Greek life bubble.

Pro: You’ll Give Back to the Community

Greek houses are about much more than a group of friends and a place to live. Most Greek organizations are structured around the idea of philanthropy and giving back to the community. As a member, you can gain incredible volunteer experience and do charity work that helps you become a more well-rounded person.

Con: Too Much Social Time Could Compromise Your Grades

When you go Greek, you’ll have to commit a fair amount of time to doing volunteer work, socializing with brothers or sisters, and participating in house activities. Virtually every Greek organization wants you to get great grades. However, yours could suffer if you aren’t prepared to juggle the demands of Greek life with college classes and other commitments. If you’re worried, talk with current members to find out how they make it work.

Pro: You’ll Learn How to Lead and Collaborate

Learning strong leadership skills is important, even if you don’t aspire to be a CEO of a major company. Honing these skills can be hard, though. When you join a fraternity or sorority, you’ll learn how to lead and work as a team over the course of normal Greek life. Most houses have committees, hierarchies, and elections, so you’ll have tons of chances to practice.

Con: It Might Break Your Budget

Even if you think Greek life would be a perfect fit, you might not be able to afford it. With membership fees, room and board costs, and activity fees, your monthly bill can add up quickly. Be sure you understand the true cost before you go through the rush process.
Are you ready to rush or would you rather stick to the dorms? Keep these pros and cons in mind as you decide whether Greek life is right for you.

You have your acceptance letter and you can’t wait to spread your wings and leave your family home. But before you fly the nest, it’s important to get prepared. Follow our tips to get ready for your college move-in day.

Connect With Any Future Roommates

Whether you’re living in a dorm or off-campus, you’ll probably have a roommate. Don’t wait until moving day to start chatting. Connecting with your new roomie beforehand is a key part of the preparation process. It’ll reduce any first day awkwardness, so you can get straight down to having fun. You can also chat about the items you think you’ll bring, such as TV sets and microwaves, so you can avoid any double items.

Be Reasonable About What You Can Take and What You Can’t

Living with your parents, you’ve probably had ample space at your disposal. There’s your bedroom, of course, but you’ve likely got stuff in your parents’ garage, their attic, their basement, and other rooms in their house. Moving from such a generous space to a tiny dorm or apartment can be quite an adjustment. As you prepare to move to college, be realistic about what you can take and what you can’t.

Large items such as your bed and a couch might make your life more comfortable, but these items might not fit in your new space. You might find bunk beds and chairs or perhaps a futon that doubles as both a bed and a couch are more practical. Similarly, while a bike can make getting around campus easy, some students simply don’t have the space to store one. Research your new home and campus facilities to decide what you should take and what’s best left with your parents.

Start Packing Early

Packing for a move-in day is such a daunting job that procrastinating is easy. However, this won’t get the job done! Instead, take a proactive approach and start packing early. College junior and blogger Sally Stunkel suggests packing for around 30 minutes a day for around two weeks before your big move. Breaking packing down into bite-sized chunks like this makes the process far less overwhelming.

Start with the items you won’t need first, such as out-of-season clothes, sheets, towels, and books, saving items you’re using like toiletries and your favorite clothes for closer to the big day.

Have an Honest Chat With Your Parents

You might have fought like cats and dogs during your teenage years, but your parents are probably going to miss you. A lot. Chatting with your folks about what will happen on moving day will make sure you’re all on the same page.

Some students want to claim independence early and hire movers. Others are happy to move with their parents helping, but they don’t want them hanging around campus. For others, moving day provides an opportunity for one last special dinner together before the hard work of college begins. Be honest about your plans but sensitive to their feelings as well.

Moving to college is a massive job, but with careful preparation, you can make an easy transition from your family home to your new, grown-up digs.