Top 10 List: A Smoother Transition from High School to College

The transition from high school to college can be a very easy one for some and an immense challenge for others. There is no wrong or right way to transition to college because everyone has different academic and personal experiences prior to entering a college or university. As you think about this exciting new opportunity and the possibilities that await remember to be open to expanding yourself, experiences, and circle of friends. Here are a few suggestions on the best way to bridge the gap and enjoy a smooth transition from high school to college.

10. Identify Mentors

Find mentors who can serve as a strong support system and help you during your college years by providing you with advice and suggestions. Identify professors, academic advisors, career counselors, resident assistants, and peers you respect. During meetings with your mentors talk about what you are passionate about and ask how this passion can develop into a career. Mentors can give you direction, motivation, and most importantly open the door to your career.

9. Take Time for Yourself

The effects of stress are mentally, emotionally, and physically linked. Sometimes there is so much going on, in and outside of school. When that happens it is best to take a step back and some time for yourself. Practice self-care by identifying what activities help you feel your best, knowing when to say no, putting aside time to rest, and surrounding yourself with great people.

8. Adjust Your Expectations

Try to give yourself some time to adjust your expectations if things are not working out as planned.

7. Get the Help You Need

Many students are reluctant to ask for help. Take advantage of office hours, free tutoring, editing, and study-skill workshops. If you have a learning or attention challenge, connect with your institution’s Access/Disability Resource Center to ensure you receive the appropriate accommodations and disclose your preferred learning style with your instructors.

6. Study Strategies

Start out by using a couple of minutes to set a goal and decide what you want to accomplish during the study session. Then with the next 30-50 minutes study and interact with the material. Afterward, reward yourself by taking a 10-15 minute break. Lastly, use five minutes to review what you just studied.

5. Enjoy the College Experience

Take the time to learn something new! College is a great place where you can take classes for the purpose of learning and engage with new material. If you are not sure about what you want to study—this is a perfect opportunity to either explore or confirm your academic area of interest.

4. Reading Strategy

Survey the chapter by reading the introduction and conclusion. Write a question for each heading and subheading. Read to only answer the question—making reading an active search for the answer, instead of a passive scan for information. Recite the answer to your question aloud. Do a final review of the introduction, conclusion, and notes.

3. Study Outside of Class

Come to class on time and prepared. Stay on top of all assignments. Study for your exams in advance by reading your notes before and after class. In college, students generally need to study at least 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class. With a 12-hour course load, that means 24-36 hours of studying per week.

2. Surroundings and Relationships

It takes time for relationships to develop. Most friendships are formed over a period of years. Join campus clubs and organizations which reflect your interests—this will help you begin making new friends. Over time your surroundings will become more familiar to you.

1. Be Responsible for Yourself

Being in college means that you will need to figure out certain things for yourself such as time management, the time of day you are most productive, and reading strategies for retaining information. Adopt beneficial habits that will help you to be successful in the classroom such as self-control, the right attitude, and a planner to keep track of assignments. At the beginning of the semester, your professors will give you the syllabi and you will be in charge of staying on task.

College is not an extension of high school and the differences include expectations, responsibilities, structure, and treatment as an adult. The last bit of advice I would offer anyone attending college is to enjoy the summer prior to the start of the semester so that you are relaxed and prepared for this new and exciting chapter of your life.

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