From High School to College or University – 2 – Preparing the Foundations of Successful Study

During the early days at college, you will be setting the foundations for all your future studies. This is, therefore, a crucial time in tilting you towards success or failure. As with anything new, you will soon form habits, and it is up to you to ensure that those habits are good habits.

There are certain areas of college life and study in which establishing good habits early on can help you towards your goal of good grades and a successful graduation. It is well worth focusing your attention on these areas before arriving at college, and in your first few weeks there. By doing so, you can establish some good study habits, and make your college life run that much more smoothly and successfully. The following are some of the key areas of your new life of college study where you will need solid preparation and attention from the outset.

Acknowledging the Competition

It is the brighter students at High School who will probably be the ones who make it to college and university. You were one of those, but you will notice a big difference in your relative position at college. Whereas before you may have been one of the top students in your class, once you get to college you will just be one of many bright students.

By being aware of this increased competition, and being mentally prepared for it, you are more likely to shine again in your new environment, rather than feeling overawed by the other intelligent students. Also bear in mind that with the right preparation and improvement of your study skills, and by establishing the right habits, you can perform better than even the most intelligent student.

Scheduling Your Time

One of the big differences at college will be the amount of “spare” time you have. You may only have 15 hours of lectures in a week, and it is up to you to schedule the rest of your time. Whether you succeed at college or not may well depend on how well you are able to organize yourself, and schedule your time to best effect.

So long as you are aware of the dangers of wasting that spare time, then you will have a chance of scheduling it wisely. Time management skills are therefore worth acquiring before you even go to college, and there is plenty of useful information online about managing time. Regard time management as an essential study skill, and prepare accordingly. It will stand you in good stead for the future after college as well, as time management is just as important in business or working life.

Harder Work

One thing is certain, and that is college work will be much tougher than High School work. If, after a few weeks, you do not think it is harder, then the chances are you have not grasped what you really need to do to keep up with and on top of your studies. You should go to college expecting to work hard, and then ensure that you do.

Note Taking

Another major difference between the learning methods at High School and college is the need, at college, to take copious notes in the lecture room. You should be mentally prepared for this at a minimum, but, like time management, you can acquire skills on note taking to make yourself more efficient. You will be pressed for time at college, so in every aspect of your study, it is wise to improve your study skill. That includes note taking.

Faster Reading

In the lecture room you need to become efficient at taking notes. Outside of the lecture room, you will have an enormous amount of reading to do. Such a volume may seem overwhelming, but reading is another area where you can improve, and thus increase your ability to study effectively. Speed reading is a talent anybody can acquire, and if you can acquire it before you reach college, so much the better.

Memory

Once at college, you will be bombarded with information, facts relating to the subjects you are studying. Being great at reasoning and making use of facts is no use if you cannot remember those facts in the first place. Improving your memory is therefore something you will benefit greatly from. Even if you think you have a good memory, you can improve further.

I went back to studying, for a professional qualification, 12 years after leaving school. Not being academic as a student, and having a “poor” memory, I knew I would have great difficulty competing mostly against 21/22 year olds fresh from university. So, I focused on my memory, learnt as much as I could about memory techniques, and that was enough (plus hard work, of course) to not only help me keep up, but in some cases keep ahead of the competition.

Improving memory really does make a big difference to your study prospects, and also in later working life. It is another study skill that will always be with you as you move on to other things after college or university.

By preparing yourself in the areas of note taking, time management, faster reading, and memory, you should have a head start on other students, even if they are brighter than you. By such preparation and focusing on your study skills before going to college, it is you who will appear the brightest, as you come across as well organized, able to grasp and recall facts with ease, and able to get through a lot more work in a shorter time than those around you.

From High School to College or University – 1 – The Problems of Change

Leaving High School and going to college or university is a major change for any student. A new college or university student will find themselves in a different world to their previous time at school, a world in which they will face new challenges and opportunities in study, perhaps their first crack at independence from home, and the temptations of a potentially limitless social life.

For a High School student preparing themselves for the transition to college, there are number of factors with which it is wise to get familiar, before that first day at their new home of study. This article looks briefly at some of the differences that a student will face in their new life.

A New Class Format – Adjusting to the Lecture Style

One of the major differences students will face is the lecture style used in colleges and universities, which can seem very different to the High School recitation type of teaching. Attending lectures, and making the most of them from an educational point of view, requires a different attitude and some new study skills from the student. Making the adjustment to the college lecture room from the high School classroom is one that the student needs to make from the outset if they are to perform well.

The Quantity and Quality of Work

Any High School student probably realizes that the work they will do at college or university will be more advanced. That, surely, is what going to college is all about? However, it can still come as something of a shock to new college students, to suddenly be thrust into this new level of learning. It is best to be mentally prepared for a far more demanding level of education, which will stretch the student’s mind right from the start. There will no be time to “ease your way in”. Falling behind in the first few weeks can be difficult to recover from and achieve the grades you are seeking.

New college students should also be aware that the work required is not only of a higher quality than High School, but also much greater in quantity. Those who are not prepared for that will also suffer in the early stages of college life. The workload may seem overwhelming if you are not ready for it.

Hooray, Freedom at Last

For many students who go away to university or college, it will be their first taste of freedom from parental discipline. That is an essential step that all young people have to take at some time or another, and it can be a wonderful time of your life, when the transition to adulthood really starts to take place.

However, that new found freedom can be a distraction from study if it is allowed to dominate your new college life. It is possible to enjoy the freedom of college life, and to succeed in your primary purpose of being there; that is, get good grades and graduate with honours. Both sides of your new life require self discipline, and by applying that self discipline both to your study and college social life, you can find the right balance. It is not easy, but it can be achieved.

Managing Your Finances

Many students may not agree, but one of the most important changes from being at home and going to High School, and then going away to college, is the need to manage your own finances. This is probably something you have not dealt with before, but from now on, you will probably always have to. How you deal with your finances at college may well dictate how well you do so when you get your first job.

Your personal finances are one subject for which you can plan in some detail before going to college, so that you know what to expect once you get there. Learning about budgeting your finances will stand you in good stead for years to come.