There’s no denying that the process of applying to universities and then starting your college career can be stressful and overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to make the transition a little smoother and maintain your mental health once you’re on campus. Whether you’re still in high school or you have your first semester of your college career in the fall, you should be proactive about making sure you’re ready for the challenges that are likely to be coming your way. If you want to know what to do, read on for three ways to prepare for your freshman year of college.

1. Get into your top-choice college program.

The first step to prepare for college is to get ahead of the application process. Acceptance rates at elite colleges are already in the single digits in many cases, and there’s evidence to suggest it’s getting more difficult, not less. With so much competition, it can be hard to know what to do to make your application stand out. We’ve all heard stories of students with perfect standardized test scores and straight A’s being rejected from their dream schools.

The most effective way to improve your college applications is to work with one of the top counselling companies. An experienced admissions specialist can help you understand what schools are looking for and how you can present yourself well. You can also get advice on essay topics and have it edited and evaluated by a professional before you submit it. If you’re serious about getting into your first-choice college, it’s definitely smart to work with a college counselor.

2. Make sure your tech accessories are ready to go.

Every college student will need a functional laptop, and Macs are one of the most popular brands out there. While many students opt to purchase a brand-new computer for college, services like CleanMyMac can help your current laptop or computer run at its maximum speed. The program can help you get rid of invisible cache files, get rid of large hidden files, and even create an interactive map of your storage space so you can see what’s slowing down your computer. If you’re planning on taking your Apple computer to school with you, it’s a great idea to look into CleanMyMac.

3. Create a plan to take care of your mental health.

The transition to college can be extremely stressful on both your mind and your body. You may want to consider therapy if you find yourself struggling. Some colleges even offer therapeutic treatment or other mental health services that you can access free of charge, so make sure you ask your counselor about any options that may be available to you. You should never be afraid to reach out for help if you need it.

Getting enough sleep at night can also be an issue for college students. A lot of people don’t realize how harmful sleep deprivation can be to their overall wellness. Students in particular should know that it can slow down your cognitive processes. That means it’ll be harder for you to process and retain information in class. Lack of sleep can also impair your attentiveness, alertness, and critical thinking. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to serious health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when you’re getting ready to head to college. If you’re applying to schools, talk to your family about the benefits of working with a professional college admissions counselor so you can secure admission to your dream school. Investing in all the tech and equipment you need to succeed is also a smart idea. Most importantly, you need to have a plan for staying focused and in control of your mental health throughout your college career. You can’t expect to have a positive experience if you let yourself burn out.