5 College Prep Practices

So you got accepted to the University of Illinois—congratulations! You are now among the COOLEST college kids in the country ;). Now it’s February, and you’re not sure what to do with yourself before August. But that’s what I’m here for. Here are my 5 college prep practices:

1. Finish senior year strong!

I know, you’re dying to get out of there. I was too. But trust me, you will be sad it’s over when you walk onto that stage and accept that little piece of paper you worked so hard for. Think of Dory from Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming.”

2. Start scouting out some other University of Illinois goers.

Unfortunately, I was the only 2015 graduating senior who went to the University of Illinois, but so many of my older friends go here too! Just find some people (maybe potential roommates) who will be familiar faces on the first week here, because they will help. I got to know my roommate really well before school started, and we have been great friends ever since.

3. Speaking of roommates, start looking for housing!

I waited WAY too long to apply for housing. I did not get into my first choice (which I’m so happy about, because Presby is so much nicer), so I would start looking now and be the first to fill out that application when it becomes available! If you have questions about whether you should choose Private Certified Housing or University Housing, just let me know.

4. Think of ways you want to get involved.

When I first came onto campus, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to get involved in something where I could make friends, but I had no idea where to start! Greek life, I would say, is an amazing way to meet friends here. I am not yet part of a fraternity (because I waited too long to find out what I wanted to do) but will be rushing next semester. Which brings me to another good point: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GET TOO INVOLVED FRESHMAN YEAR. Waiting until sophomore or junior year to get involved in something that takes up a lot of time is actually really smart. I know I was really involved in pretty much everything in high school, but this is a completely different ballpark.

5. Finally, spend time with those who matter.

Take that senior trip you and your friends have been talking about. Spend some quality time with your family. I cannot tell you how much I miss my friends from senior year. We all literally spread out across the country, so I am really looking forward to seeing them this summer. I know you’re excited and I know you’re anxious, but slow down a little and take it all in. College is a HUGE change. Don’t forget about the people who got you there.

Thanks for reading everyone! As always, if you have questions, comments, or concerns, just send me them in the comment box below and I will answer as soon as I can. Thanks!


Please note that comments close after 90 days.

Nathan A.

February 10, 2016, 4:07 pm

Was it hard for you to transition to a big university?



February 17, 2016, 2:56 pm

Hi Nathan!

So I actually LOVE going to a big university. I’m from a small town, so I know what it’s like to be nervous about a bigger environment. But the truth is, a bigger school means more people that you have things in common with! There are many ways to meet people and you will meet new people every day. Whether you want to rush a fraternity/sorority, run for student government, or play a sport, there are numerous ways to stand out. So don’t be afraid to be a little fish in a big pond! By the time you make your mark here, you’ll be glad you chose Illinois.


Rishab Pandian

February 23, 2016, 4:11 pm

Hi Alec:
Would like to know your thoughts on Private Certified Housing & University Housing – which one to choose & why? Secondly, on university housing which dorms are better? There are 23 dorms, not sure which one to choose. I am looking at the housing from the following angle:
1. Excellent internet connection
2. Good heating & air conditioning
3. I am joining engineering school so hoping for a dorm that is closer to walk
4. Food choices – being a vegetarian, I have not many food choices
Thanks in advance