22 Things to do Before You Start College

Posted: June 17, 2021 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 7 minutes

Things to do Before College ChecklistNeed a pre-college summer bucket list that balances fun with practicality? You’ve come to the right place! Once you’ve completed the new student checklist, check out this blog post for things to do before college and your freshman year at Southern Utah University.

Things to do Before College Checklist

Learn the SUU Fight Song

The SUU fight song is a quintessential part of college sports, events, and it can often come up randomly! Learn the fight song before coming to school to be able to fully participate when it comes up.

Start a College Journal

Journaling doesn’t need to be an everyday thing, but starting a journal, blog, vlog, etc. is an excellent addition to your summer before college checklist. Documenting your move to college and your college experience is something you will cherish long after you’ve graduated.

Get in Touch with your Roommates

If you’re living on campus, the property manager should send you the contact information for your roommates prior to moving in. If you’re living off campus, it can vary by property. After you receive the contact information, reach out to your roommates and start a group message. Coordinate which items you each will bring, follow each other on Instagram, and just get to know each other! It will make the transition much less intimidating.

Purchase or Rent your Textbooks

Planning ahead by purchasing or renting your textbooks before the semester begins can be a great way to avoid the stress and lines at the campus bookstore. Once you have access to your mySUU portal, click on “courses” and a little book icon will appear near the bottom of the page. If you click on that, it will lead you to the Bookstore’s website with a listing of the textbooks you’ll need to purchase or rent for each class. If you don’t plan to purchase or rent each textbook, note that the T-Bird Texts program has many general education textbooks available for check-out through the library.

Pack for the Big Move

One of the scariest, most exciting parks about moving is packing! SUU has put together several packing lists depending on where you’re living:

If you’re living off campus, be sure to check the property’s website/welcome packet for information about what to bring and what to leave at home.

Update your Wardrobe

Updating your wardrobe before college can be necessary for both fashion and practicality. If you’re moving in from out of state, be aware that Cedar City has all four seasons in extremes. You’ll want everything from winter boots to sunglasses. Also, make sure you have red in your wardrobe for Fridays! Shop SUU gear and merchandise on the SUU Bookstore website.

DIY Some Decor

Get creative before coming to college by creating some DIY (do it yourself) projects for your dorm room/apartment. Personalize your space with SUU colors and SUU-inspired crafts. Share your creations on social media with #suutbirds.

Print Some Pictures

If DIY projects aren’t exactly your speed, an alternative is printing some pictures of family, friends, and your hometown to add a personal touch to your space. Once you’re a T-Bird, print some more pictures from your first weeks at school at ImagePro Printing & Copying, Walgreens, or Walmart.

Search for a Campus Job

If you’re looking for an on-campus job, it’s best to get started early as positions can fill up quickly. Once you have access to your mySUU portal, navigate to T-Bird Campus Jobs under Apps to browse through and apply for job positions on-campus. Check out this blog post for additional information on how to find a job as a student.

Pack Important Documents

Before moving, make sure you at least have copies of all the important documents. This includes things like your birth certificate and social security card. Especially if you are thinking about getting a job in town, these are documents that you will likely need on-hand when you begin a new job.

Check your Health Insurance

If you are still on a parent/guardian’s health insurance, be sure to get your own insurance card or a copy of an insurance card just in case you need to go to InstaCare or the hospital. If you are not on someone else’s insurance, you may want to check out student health plans from insurance carriers.

Check out Local Pharmacies

Speaking of healthcare, depending on how far away your hometown is, you may want to switch any medications to be delivered to a local pharmacy. Talk to your healthcare provider about switching pharmacies. Local pharmacies include Walgreens, Bulloch Drug, Smith’s, and Lin’s, among others.

Open a Checking Account

If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to open up checking and savings accounts. Having a debit and/or credit card is great for emergencies, to have access to funds if needed, and to begin building credit. Though you don’t need to bank locally, local banks include Zions Bank, State Bank of Southern Utah, Wells Fargo Bank, America First Credit Union, and Mountain America Credit Union, among others. Some local banks include student discounts and SUU student specials.

Notify your Home Bank

If you already have an account with a bank back home, be sure to let them know that you’re moving before you leave. Sometimes suspicious activity, such as continually spending money in a new town, can cause the bank to freeze your cards as a precaution. Let them know about your move ahead of time to avoid this problem.


If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to set a budget for yourself. A few good rules of thumb include automatically placing 10% of your earnings into savings and only buying things that you can afford to pay for twice. For more advice about budgeting and saving as a student, check out these resources:

Learn the Basics

Before coming to school, it’s important to learn some of the basics. Many students learn how to do laundry and cook for the first time as freshmen. Ask your parent/guardian(s) for quick crash courses on things you need to learn before venturing out on your own. Buying the same detergent you use at home and cooking your favorite meals are great ways to make your dorm/apartment feel more like home.

Learn Vehicle Maintenance

In the same vein, if you’re bringing a car to school it’s a good idea to learn basic car maintenance before coming to school. Knowing how to check your oil, how to check your tire pressure, and how to access your car insurance are lifesavers in sticky situations.

Purchase a Parking Permit

If you’re bringing a car to school, be sure to purchase a parking permit as soon as possible. Each year, only a limited number of passes are available for purchase. If you’re living on-campus, a housing permit should be all you need. If you’re living off-campus, you can either park in the open parking lots for free, or purchase a student parking permit to park in the student lots. Learn more about campus parking on the Parking Services website.

Spend Time with Friends & Family

Make the most of your last summer before heading off to college. Spend as much time as possible with your loved ones making memories. From going on a senior road trip with your friends from high school to enjoying a “staycation” in your hometown, do all of your favorite things before diving in and making new memories at school.

Create a Time Capsule

A time capsule of memories from high school and childhood will be something you forever treasure. Make a plan to open it when you graduate from college. 

Read for Fun

Once you begin college, you won’t have as much time to read for fun. Take the time to read something YOU want for fun before coming to school. Check out these book recommendations from Dr. Jean Boreen, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at SUU.

Make a Plan

Spoiler alert: you’ll probably get homesick in the first few weeks at school. Curb your homesickness by making a plan to keep in touch with family and friends back home. Create a group message, schedule FaceTime/Zoom calls, plan a trip for them to visit you once you’re settled in, etc. Remember, one of the best ways to combat homesickness is to get involved on-campus. During the first six weeks of school, there are many events and ways to join in. Learn more on the SUU event calendar.


Prepare for your first semester the best way you can with this list of things to do before college. Then if you’d like to learn more or have any questions about starting your college experience, visit SUU’s First Year Experience website or office in ST 178.

Tags: Student Life

Related Posts