Going to college is a very important and exciting time in your life. It can be a big change from what you're used to. This guide will help prepare you for some situations that you may face during college, and help you make smart decisions so you can make the most out of your college experience.
What’s important for me to know about before I go to college?
Filling Out your College Enrollment Health Form: After you have sent in your acceptance to the college or university that you will be attending, you will be required to mail back a completed health form with a record of all of your immunizations (vaccines/shots/boosters). You should receive this health form in the information packet that you get in the mail. You will need to call your health care provider’s (HCP's) office and arrange to have this form filled out. If you haven't had a recent physical, you will probably need one. It's also important to know if you have any allergies and to include this information on your health form. Your HCP's office may be able to send or fax the health form directly to the student health center at your college.
Getting Information from your Primary Care Provider's (PCPs) Office: Call your primary care provider's office. Let the office know what you need - your immunization record, any health problems, your medications and allergies. You should check all the medication you are taking and make a list. Along with a copy of your immunization record, you should get a list of all of the medications that you are taking, including the strength (amount of milligrams)how powerful it is) and the dosage (how much of it you should take).You should also have a record of On your record you should also should list your allergies, any past medical problems, mental health problems (surgeries, hospital stays), and special needs (chronic health problems and disabilities). It's also a good time to update your family medical history. A record of any mental health problems and your family medical history should be included too. It's a good idea to Mmake a copy of all of your medical records for yourself as well. Keep this information with other important papers when you go to college.
Your Immunizations Must Be Up-To-Date: Your primary care provider will make sure that your immunizations (shots and boosters) are current. You should ask your PCP if you are up to date on the meningococcal vaccine to lower your chances of getting the very serious infection meningitis (inflammation of the brain tissue). The vaccine will help to protect you against this serious disease.
There are certain shots you must have before going to college unless you sign a waiver. Check out your state's requirements regarding the vaccine.
Health Insurance: You’ll need to make sure that you have health insurance while you are at college. Talk with your parent(s)/guardian(s) to see if you will still be covered under their health plan, and to discuss any questions that you have.
You should find out:
- What type of plan you are on (HMO, PPO, etc.)
- What the policy covers - visits to your college health services may be covered with your tuition
- How to file claims
- What to do in the case of an emergency
Don’t forget to take a copy of your health insurance card with you. You should always keep it in your wallet, because you may be asked to show it if you ever need urgent health care. You should remember that your parent(s)/guardian(s) will likely be notified every time that the insurance company is billed if you are on their policy. If you aren't covered under their insurance plan, you will probably be able to sign up for your own health insurance through your college.
Prescription Medicine: It's important to get your prescription(s) filled before you leave for college. If you'll be far from home, it is a good idea to ask your PCP if you can get extra prescription forms for medicine that you use on a regular basis, such as an inhaler. You should also find out the name and phone number of a pharmacy near your school and figure out how to get refills when you need them. If you can't get refills at a local pharmacy, you may be able to use a mail order prescription system which often sends a three month supply at a time or your parent(s)/guardian(s) may need to mail your refills to you.
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