Transitioning from high school to college can be a scary proposition. Many students come from small, rural schools and might be shocked by the size of larger state colleges and universities. Classes meet less regularly in college than in high school, and some students might be tempted to slack off. There are many differences between the two educational levels, and new high school graduates should know about these differences before starting school in the fall to make the transition as smooth as possible.
1. You Are not Likely to Be the Big Man On Campus
High school tends to have a number of popular cliques that tend to make life miserable for those who are outside the mainstream. In college, most of the former jocks will be just ordinary students. There are cliques, known as fraternities and sororities, but at many schools, not belonging to a fraternity is no big deal. Those who were big men or women on campus will likely just be a small fish in a big pond in college. Professors will be impressed with people who can bring something to the table in class.
2. Use College as an Opportunity to Learn on the Job
Most people think that college is a time to learn about one’s inner person and expand worldviews. This can definitely be the case, but it is not impossible to get valuable real world experience at the same time. Many schools have connections that can lead to co-op jobs or internships during the summer. These summer opportunities can then be used to gain experience for life after college. Those who are really fortunate might even get hired by the company that sponsored their internship.
3. Classes Meet Less Often
Most high school classes meet on a daily basis, and students are in school every day from around 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This totally changes in college. Students can expect to meet exactly 2.5 hours each week for a class that will give the standard 3 credit hours. These classes will usually meet for 50 minutes on three days a week or 1 hour and 15 minutes on two days of the week. Because the average course load for a student is around 12-15 credit hours, many students will find themselves with much more in the way of free time. This does not mean that video games and daytime TV talk shows should take up this extra time. Studying and research will be a much better investment in terms of time.
4. College Takes Money
Unless they are fortunate enough to get a full ride to college, many students will experience a bit of sticker shock. Most high school students go to schools that are taxpayer funded. Even those who go to private high schools will usually have their parents pay their way. This will be a big change for many new college students. There will be the temptation to borrow everything needed. A much better route would be taking a part-time job to pay for as much of college as possible. Those who party through school will owe, while those who work will be in a better financial standing.
College is definitely a major shift for those who are new high school graduates. With proper planning, the transition can be much less painless than it might otherwise be.