So it's July and the Class of 2018 is starting their Rochester experience in just a couple months. I'm assuming the next two months will be an incredibly anxious time in many of your lives as you prepare for your first experience in college. I want to offer some sage advice on what you can do in your free time leading up to coming to Rochester.
2014 Orientation staff
Read the Orientation website
Matt, Eleanor, and the rest of the Orientation crew always put together an incredible Orientation program for each incoming class. I served as an Orientation leader for the Class of 2013 (all the way back in 2009), and I can tell you that lots and lots and lots of work goes in to the planning and execution of the Orientation program that welcomes each new class to campus. Keeping an eye on the Orientation website is a great way to follow any updates and make sure you're doing the right things to prepare for Rochester. You can also mark your calendar for move-in day, which might as well be a holiday at Rochester. This year, move-in day is August 26 for students who live in the United States. International students will be moving in on the 25th, so they can have a chance to adjust to the time change. Every year, we do have students who show up really, really excited on the wrong day. Make sure you aren't that student!
Members of the Class of 2017 met in NYC the summer before their freshman year
Connect with future classmates
Facebook is the real bridge in this step, and I doubt you need my advice in using it to connect with future classmates, but I will offer a bit of secondary advice: You're going to add people on Facebook who you will recognize in person from Facebook, and it will be really awkward. I did this, my sister did this, everyone does this. You add new friends on Facebook, and when everyone finally converges on Rochester's campus, it turns into a real life version of “Guess Who.” Skip the awkward step and just lead with the fact that you recognize them from the summer Facebook group. The transition into freshman year can be a bit awkward. You have about 1,200 new kids all showing up at college for the first time, nobody really knows anyone, and the only real interactions you've had with most people is through Facebook. Embrace it, and make some real-life friends out of the awkwardness.
Don't worry about classes yet
Rochester does course registration for freshmen very personally. While there is a preregistration process, most people don't use it, and I don't recommend going through it (totally my personal opinion). I think that you should spend your summer doing fun things or using your time meaningfully and then worry about Rochester when you get here. Once you step on campus, the advising system that freshmen go through is very helpful and very much a two-way discussion about your college plans, hopes, and dreams. Sitting down to chat about Rochester's flexibility and options will hopefully remind you why you chose to come to a college with an open curriculum instead of someplace that forces you into to a certain curriculum path. Take advantage of that flexibility early on, and you will be very happy that you did.
You made a great choice in coming to Rochester. Get ready for meeting amazing new people. Get ready for intense new classes. Get ready for an incredible experience. Rochester is a fun place, and I hold a certain amount of jealousy that you will get to experience it for the first time.