Seven Tips to Help High School Graduates Make a Smooth Transition to College

Seven Tips to Help High School Graduates Make a Smooth Transition to College

Seven Tips to Help High School Graduates Make a Smooth Transition to College

Seven Tips to Help High School Graduates Make a Smooth Transition to College

Congratulations to all students graduating or soon-to graduate from high school. . . and here’s to a great adventure ahead!

As students prepare for the transition to college, the idea of it might still feel abstract despite all the planning. Students know they need to register for classes, submit dorm applications, and discuss money, communication, and other expectations with parents.

Of course, knowing and doing are two distinctly different things. Here are seven tried-and-true tips to help students make a smooth transition to college and avoid as many first-year speedbumps as possible.

  1. Think carefully about your schedule. Are you a night owl? Then avoid early morning classes if possible. Be clear about when you want to start and end the day.
  2. Consider class load. Some students fare better starting off with a lighter class load. It’s tough with all those interesting classes, truly a buffet of options! Less might just be better, though, going with three instead of four classes for example. The goal is to build good study habits first!
  3. Have a planning system. Do not try and hold due dates and assignments in your head. It’s a rookie mistake and all too common. Each class should have a syllabus that outlines readings, papers, and test dates for the term. Use an app like Todoist or use Google Calendar or Google Drive, which has an academic tracker in its sheets templates. Remember paper? Don’t discount the value of a physical, old fashioned planner.
  4. Do required reading in the format you prefer. If you like reading online, get an ebook. Use it and take notes in a notebook or online. If you prefer a physical book, buy one and write in it. Whichever format you prefer, do the reading. It will make it easier to engage in your classes.
  5. Learn to take notes. Do you know how to take effective notes, review them, and make study guides? Can you decipher your notes? Do you write too much or too little? Get practice this summer with Secrets of Successful Note Taking workshop or through summer coaching. We’re experts at helping students learn how to take notes.
  6. Get accommodations handled right away. Don’t delay. Students have to do all the leg work (not parents). I have seen too many students wait on accommodations and regret it. You won’t have an IEP in college. Instead, you’ll have the equivalent of a 504 plan. Connect with the student support center and review the procedure for applying for extended time or a note sheet (if you had these in high school). Make sure you have a copy of a recent assessment, usually within three years, or get a new one. Make sure the doctor writing the letter to support you is clear on the accommodations you need and why.
  7. Reach out for help as needed! Where is the tutoring center? How do you book with a tutor if you need one? What are a professor’s office hours? How do you reach out to the teaching assistant? Self-advocacy is a critical skill set for college students. As soon as you think you need help, seek the help you need! Identify the “helpers” you need to get the most out of your college experience. One place to start this summer is with an SOS4Students coach who can help you establish routines and develop study strategies for college.

Recommended Reading

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by productivity coach Cal Newport

This book has great advice for students and professionals of any age. Here are a couple of Cal’s tips:

  • “The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life designed to minimize the amount of your limited willpower necessary to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration.”
  • “Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction.”
    (Beth @ SOS4Students says: plug your phone in away from your work area!)

When In Doubt, Reach Out

SOS4Students is here to support students through their transition from high school to college. Summer workshops and summer coaching are a great way to set students up for success as they head off to college.

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