207: 17 Things to Do Before Going to College

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Download a PDF of The Roommate Contract


Harlan Cohen is a New York Times bestselling author, nationally syndicated advice columnist, and speaker who has visited over 500 high school and college campuses.  He is the author of six books including, The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into In College, The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only, and Dad’s Expecting Too!  

Harlan is a frequent guest on television and radio programs.  He is the founder of Best First Year, an online college readiness and success program for high school and college students. You can find him on social media @HarlanCohen and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HelpMeHarlan and you can watch his TEDx talk at www.HarlanCohen.com/TEDx

On this podcast Harlan offers so much great advice from:

  • A simple exercise to help set you up for a great freshman year

  • How to find your people on campus

  • Whether or not you should break up with your high school sweetheart (what Harlan says might surprise you)

  • Three great questions to put on your contract with your roommate

  • On-campus resources that he (and I!) wish we’d known more about when we were in college

  • Harlan’s “three-box” strategy for packing


[0:35] Who is Harlan Cohen?
[2:08] How does Harlan get the inside scoop on college-going folks?
[4:16] Tip #1 Identify what you want
[5:57] Tip #2 Tell the story of your first year (as if it’s already happened)
[9:19] Tip #3 Pick 3 clubs or organizations that speak to you
[11:04] Tip #4 Find your 5 friends in your corner
[14:06] Tip #5 Don’t break up with your high school sweetheart!
[15:47] Tip #6 Break up with your high school sweetheart!
[17:45] Tip #7 Take advantage of welcome week
[20:58] Tip #8 Read the campus newspaper
[22:22] Tip #9 Am I the roommate from Hell?
[26:25] Tip #10 Don’t be mean to those we’ll miss the most
[28:14] Tip #11 Check out the school’s free services
[30:47] Tip #12 Look for more money!
[34:45] Tip #13 Make rules for going out
[38:57] Tip #14 Get a box of medicine
[40:06] Tip #15 Have a scary *honest* conversation with your parents
[42:50] Tip #16 The three box strategy
[43:53] Tip #17 Plan to be an imperfectionist
[45:40] The Universal Rejection Truth
[46:50] The Best First Year

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