Back to School Checklist

Ahh… the beginning of the school year. So many mixed feelings. The anticipation, the excitement and yes, the anxiety. Seeing old friends, old aquantances, and some people you’d probably rather not see. Buying books. Meeting professors. It’s a unique time of year, and I will truly miss it.

For those of you heading back to school now, or in a month or so, here are some tips to get your year off to a great start.

1. Set goals. Successful students set goals- and they don’t just think about them, they write them down. Write some goals down you have for this term and for the school year. They can be goals about academics, your social life, your MCAT study habits, anything. Put the list in a place where you can see it often.

2. Wait to buy your books (other than textbooks). Often a book will be listed for a class online and you find out later it’s not necessary for the class. Wait til you see the class syllabus. Textbooks for science classes are the exception- you can almost always count on those to be used. Sometimes I’ve been able to save money on books by checking them out from the school library. Also try They have some great deals- I was able to find international editions of textbooks that were a quarter of the price than at the bookstore. Brand new, and with the exact same content.

3. Set ground rules with your roommate(s) or housemates. You’re pre med. You’re going to need your study time, and more importantly, your sleep time. Have a candid conversation with the people you’ll be living with about expectations concerning quiet hours, having people over, music volume etc. A short conversation now can save you a lot of trouble later.

4. Learn to say “no”. This may be the most important lesson I learned as a student. At the beginning of the school year you are bombarded with opportunities to volunteer, join clubs, lead clubs, work, take extra classes, play intramurals and who knows what else. It’s very easy to say “yes” to everything and find yourself overwhelmed with the amount that you are involved in. Start the beginning of the term out slow and if you end up having some more free time, add something else to your plate.

What are some other tips you would add? Are you excited to start school again?

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