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Entering college is one of those life-changing events that will have a profound impact on your future. While starting college is exciting, it is also a time of major adjustments.

If you’re a high school senior who is planning to attend college, a little preparation can help to make the transition as smooth as possible. The following tips can help you get ready for the next chapter in your life.

Don’t Wait Too Long to Choose Your School

For most students, choosing a college is a difficult decision. There are a number of factors that you (and your parents) need to consider, including cost, available programs of study, and the location and size of the campus, to name just a few.

The sooner you start the selection process, the less stressful it will be. A good rule of thumb is to narrow down your choices to a handful by the start of your senior year of high school. This gives you more time to make visits, check into financial aid and begin the application process.

Applying early to your school(s) of choice can also increase your chances of acceptance. Your high school guidance counselor can be a valuable resource throughout the college selection process, so be sure to meet with him or her frequently during your senior year.

Brush Up on Your Study and Work Habits

You’ll probably find a greater need to study once you get to college than you did in high school. If your study and work habits are a little lax, your senior year is a good time to improve them.

College lectures require you take a lot of notes, so use your senior classes to hone your note-taking skills. You’ll also have to spend more time doing research than what you’ve been used to, so learning how to use your high school’s library and perfecting your online research skills can pay dividends once you get to college. Setting up a regular study schedule now can also help you form the self-discipline that will lead to future academic success.

Perfect Your Computer Skills

If your current computer activity is limited to downloading music and posting on your Facebook or Twitter page, you’ll likely need to enhance your computer skills before entering college. If your high school doesn’t offer it already, consider taking a Microsoft Word course so you’ll at least be able to successfully execute that timeless college staple: the term paper.

Don’t Neglect Those Social Skills!

Who says college has to be all work and no play! One of the great things about college is that it allows you to branch out and meet new people from all types of backgrounds.

Many of these people will become treasured friends who you’ll want to stay in touch with long after graduation. If you’re a little shy, your senior year in high school is a good time to practice your social skills and develop a little more self-confidence. Get involved with clubs and activities and try approaching others who seem a bit on the shy side too.

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