Fall semester is less than a month away. Are you ready to go?

If you’re like I used to be, then you might find yourself rushing the week before school starts to try to wrap up everything before your first class. You try to fit in one more class, buy your parking pass after waiting in a ridiculously long line, and try to buy your books half an hour before your class starts.

After a few years, I finally caught on that, with a little bit of planning ahead, beginning the fall semester can be a lot less stressful. So where should you start?

The biggest asset I’ve found is using a planner. Whether it’s on your phone or written down, being able to look ahead is the best way to avoid the last-minute scramble. Not only will it help you for getting a start on the semester, but you can also keep track of upcoming assignments and tests.

You have a little under a month to register for your classes, set up your payment plan and financial aid, buy your textbooks and parking pass, and master a routine for navigating your campus. If you’re taking online classes, you can prepare for those too by seeing if a tentative schedule is posted.

A good place to start would be registration. A lot of classes close up fast, but keep checking. If you’re trying to fit in that last-minute class, your best bet is to register early. Hopefully, most of your classes are already registered for.

Take a look at budgeting. To get a little more money in your pocket, make sure to sell back those books from summer semester at the bookstore from July 27 to Aug. 5.

Begin with tuition, then textbooks and finally a parking pass. With enough time ahead of you, you’ll have a better chance of finding the best deal on textbooks. Look into renting and local sources for textbooks.

Next would be ordering your textbooks. Generally, if you’re ordering or renting them online, you’ll want to allow about two weeks for them to arrive. If you do decide to use the bookstore, make sure that the correct editions are in stock before your class.

For those of you who have even one online class, it’s always been a good idea to check out the curricula a week before. Sometimes professors are ready to jump right in and an assignment is due by the end of the week. Don’t let that sneak up on your already-hectic first week of fall semester.

A final tip that has always helped me is to map out my schedule. Find out exactly where your classes are and how long it takes to get from one to another, especially if you have a short time between them. If you have a longer time between classes, maybe find a favorite local restaurant to grab lunch at or a study spot on campus.

Just remember, taking even a little more time for preparation will make the first week a little bit easier on you. If you’re extra-motivated, make out a schedule or calendar of important dates and when you’d like to accomplish your goals.

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