Congratulations! You’ve been accepted and plan to attend JMU. However, there are still a number of things left for you to do before you can officially move to the university in the fall. There are also a few things to do that aren’t required, but will definitely help make your transition easier. Keep reading for everything you need to know to prepare for freshman year at JMU.
1. Complete the JMU Immunization Form.
This is required not only by JMU, but by the state of Virginia. You have to get a doctor or another medical professional to write down your shot record, administer any other necessary shots, and then sign the bottom of the form. You will then need to upload your shot record. You also have to scan your Immunization Form and upload it to the University Health Center’s health portal (your One Book will show you how to do this). You can also mail in your Immunization Form if you choose, but the preferred method is to upload the document.
2. Join the Facebook pages.
There will be a specific group for your class on Facebook with upperclass students there to answer whatever questions you may have. Along with your class page, there are many other JMU Facebook groups that you should join. These include the JMU Undergrad Book Exchange (a great way to find cheap textbooks), the Jobs & Internship group, the Free & For Sale page, and eventually there will be a page made for your hall that you will be living in. These groups can be very useful, so make sure to join them as soon as you can.
3. Go to Summer Springboard.
Not only is Springboard an awesome way to meet your fellow classmates, but you will also get the chance to become more familiar with the campus by walking around. You will spend the whole day, which starts around 8:30AM, with your group and your Orientation Peer Advisor (OPA). You will go to several different info sessions, grab a bite to eat at one of our amazing dining halls, meet with your academic advisor, then end your day on the Quad to get something I will talk about in my next point…
4. Get Your JACard.
This is what makes you officially feel like a Duke! When you get your JACard, if feels like you can conquer the world (well, if the world were just Harrisonburg). You need your JACard to do so many things on campus like punch for meals, spend dining dollars, use FLEX to print out midterm papers, get your packages from the mail room, swipe into your dorm, and the list goes on. If you lose it, be prepared to drop $25 to get yourself a new one.
Note: If you decide to post a picture of your JACard on social media, make sure you cover up your Student ID number.
5. Learn your study style.
Here’s a reality check: College is worlds different from high school. I know when I was in high school, I hardly ever had to study. When you get into high level college courses, that “study” method is not going to work…trust me. Take some time over the summer to research some different study styles, tips, and online resources to help aid you while studying.
6. Reinvent yourself.
For some people, they do not desire to do this and that’s okay. Just keep in mind, college is not nearly as cliquey as high school. Sure there may still be some groups of people that hang out together, but for the most part, people don’t care. This means you have the freedom to be whatever you want to be. Got a new hairstyle you’ve always wanted to try? Go for it. Tired of wearing Hollister to try and fit in? Throw all those clothes out, and go stack up your wardrobe from another department store. Don’t be afraid to blossom into the person you were always meant to be.
7. Learn a new skill.
College, and the job market, is all about having several talents as opposed to doing one thing you are super good at. If there is always something you wanted to explore, whether it be painting, playing an instrument, or learning a new programming language, the summer before your Freshman year is an awesome time to branch out and explore new things.
8. Search for textbook deals.
Most people would recommend not actually buying your textbooks until Syllabus week (a.k.a. the first week of classes). I wouldn’t say this is bad advice. Some teachers may have specific requests for the textbooks you need, but it doesn’t hurt to look around on websites to see where you can find the lowest price. Look at this website for all discounted textbooks for students.
9. Make a rough daily plan.
Once you have made your class schedule, you can get a feel of what your day to day life is going to be like at JMU. Now, plans will definitely change by the time you get to JMU in August, but I don’t think it ever hurts to make a rough plan of how you want to spend your time. You know when class is, so decide what else you would like to get accomplished in a day. Of course there will be homework, you have to eat, make time for the gym, hang out with friends, work on group projects, etc. This will also (hopefully) show you that there are A LOT of things you have to do, so make sure you budget your time wisely.
10. Visit JMU.
This is an essential point. I think it is critical to visit the University a few times before moving in during August. Of course, you will have plenty of time to get adjusted and learn the campus during FROG week, but if you go to CHOICES and Summer Springboard, you will get a good feel for the people and your fellow classmates before you even move in. It should also get your SUPER excited to become a Duke in the Fall.