Back to School: September Checklist

Your first day of college is just around the corner. Maybe you’ve started to pack and have begun your ‘back to school’ shopping to prepare to head off to college. Here’s a small checklist of items you should think about as you continue to prepare to head back school.

What do you REALLY need to bring to school? 

  • Seriously, you need to ask yourself this question. Whether you’re moving into residence OR if you chose off campus housing you should investigate what is provided at your new home and if any items are prohibited (THIS IS SO IMPORTANT). For example, most residence buildings prohibit candles so going and stocking up on your favourite flameless candles might be a better idea than spending a ton of money on scented/flame candles.
  • Get in touch with your future roommates (thank you Social Media!) The last thing you want is to arrive on move in day and find yourself with 4 microwaves and no cutlery.
  • While it is nice to be prepared, all five Northern Ontario cities have great shopping so if you forget anything you should be able to find it once you arrive!

Where to eat? 

  • Where you eat and what you are eating is going to affect your finances, health, and time so considering all the available options will make for a much more positive experience when you start your new life at college.
  • All six Northern Ontario colleges offer meal/dining plans with plenty of healthy choices & allows for convenient, time saving, meal options.
  • All six Northern Ontario colleges residence buildings allow you the opportunity to grocery shop for yourself and cook full meals at home allowing for you to be more selective in what you eat and save on costs of eating out.

Transportation – How are you getting around campus? How are you getting around your new city? 

  • How far do you have to travel every day (residence or off campus) to your campus?
  • Will you drive or have a bus pass? If you drive you will need a parking pass!
  • Do your student fees include a city bus pass? If not – should you buy one? Check out your options ahead of time.
  • Try and consider the following: Where are your classes being held, grocery stores, entertainment, and other on campus and off campus activities in relation to where you are living?

Your Financial Situation 

  • The sooner you think about your financial situation and your ‘cash flow’ while you attend school the better.
  • Find out when your tuition is due and mark in down in a calendar.
  • Start working on a budget (or check our sample out by reading out blog, Budgeting for College). Consider tuition fees, rent/residence fees, textbook fees, food, entertainment (yes – budget for this!), household goods, personal hygiene products, personal bills (ex. cellphone bill), car insurance/payment/gas, clothing, miscellaneous.
  • You may want to consider a part time job. Take a look at your college’s website for more information about student employment opportunities right on campus.
  • Make sure to explore the six Northern Ontario colleges websites to explore what financial aid is available to you, including grants & scholarships.

School/Life Balance

Yes, you are going to college to study. But that does not mean reading, writing, lectures, and tests are the only things you should be focusing on while you’re attending school.

  • Participating in extra-curricular activities is important for your personal growth and for career development. Doing something for YOU outside of the classroom will also keep you grounded when school gets hectic. Join a club or a team on campus, make time for your friends and down time off campus.
  • Still remember – college is a heavier workload than high school so take advantage of the resources available for students at your school to help you succeed.

What items are on your September checklist?