The transition from high school to college can be a challenge, regardless of how strong a student you are. Things in college are just different and they are different in every way!
School counselors are certified to work with students in school settings (elementary through postsecondary), assisting them with academic and social development problems and those with special needs. They advocate for students and work with other individuals and organizations to promote the academic, career, personal, and social development of children and youths. School counselors help students evaluate their abilities, interests, talents, and personality characteristics in order to develop realistic academic and career goals. They consult and collaborate with parents, teachers, school administrators, school psychologists, medical professionals, and social workers in order to develop and implement strategies to help students be successful in the education system.
Academic advisors at the college level are a valuable resource for assisting students in the attainment of their educational goals and the adjustment to the academic rigors of university life. Students meet with advisors to explore educational opportunities available within the University and plan a course of study that is consistent with their abilities, achievements, interests and expectations. Advisors also help students build individual strategies for academic success by assisting them in determining the appropriate course load, interpreting university requirements, university procedures and regulations and consulting with students who are considering a particular major as a field of study. When appropriate, advisors will refer students to other university offices that provide student services. A primary goal of the advisement process is to assist students to become independent, self-confident decision makers who are able to solve problems that arise in the process of pursuing their education and to empower them to use the tools and resources available to become active and responsible learners.
Typically, in high school, students spend approximately 35 hours per week in the classroom, and report that they spend an average of 5 hours per week on homework. This is an average of 40 hours per week spent on class time and studying in high school.
In college, students spend approximately 15 hours per week in the classroom, and report that they spend an average of 15 hours per week studying. This is an average of 30 hours per week spent on class time and studying in college.
Therefore, this would mean that students spend 10 hours per week MORE on their classroom time and homework in high school than college, and college is HARDER!
It is important for you to realize that you must plan to spend not one but at least 2 hours outside of each class on homework in college if you want to be successful. Therefore, you will be spending approximately 15 hours in the classroom and 30 hours outside of class studying, equaling at least 45 hours per week. Yes, college is a full-time job. AND, many students also work, but it is important that you try to keep your work schedule manageable. First semester students should never plan to work more than 10-15 hours per week.
You have to learn to manage your own time in college, and that is more difficult to do than it sounds! In college, you are the one responsible for attending class, knowing the school policies and requirements, and managing your schedule. Unlike high school, you should not have parents and teachers "doing" things for you. There are certainly faculty and staff available to assist you when you have questions, but no one will seek you out as they might have in high school - you have to take the initiative. Therefore, it is essential that you learn to manage your own time effectively. There are free workshops available on time management, as well as counselors and advisors who can assist you. We encourage you to read about time management before you arrive on campus.
Professors are very different from the teachers that you are used to from high school. In high school, teachers usually check to make sure that you've completed your homework and would usually assign grades or "bonus points" for this work. In college, professors assign homework, make the assumption that you have done the work, and will expect you to ask questions if you have had trouble so that you will be able to perform on exams, papers, and/or projects.
In high school, teachers would generally approach you and try to offer extra help if they saw that you were not performing well on the tests. College professors are usually very willing to help you, but will expect you to initiate contact if you are struggling in a course.
In high school, teachers generally followed the book by the letter and tested you only on that information. It is important to realize that college professors may not always follow the textbook in lectures but may give you illustrations and background information and expect YOU to relate it to material in the textbook. In college it is up to you to read and understand the assigned material; lectures and assignments proceed from the assumption that you've already done the readings!
High school teachers often reminded you about upcoming tests and assignments. College professors rely on you to know when things are due. They will furnish you with a syllabus, which is an outline of the course that lists the professor's expectations, assignments, grading procedures, and due dates of tests and projects. They will usually go over this document on the first day of class and see it as your contract for the semester.
In high school, class sizes are relatively small and therefore, teachers can give you a lot of extra attention. In college, your classes could range from as few as 24 students to as many as 100 or more!
In high school, teachers monitor attendance daily. In college, professors may not take attendance, so it is your responsibility to go to class and get the information! Many students fall into the trap of "skipping" class because the professor does not take attendance, however, they are still likely to know if you've attended. Chances are, if you miss too many lectures, your performance in the class will be poor.
In high school, your guidance counselor generally schedules your classes and ensures you are meeting your graduation requirements. In college, other than for your first semester, you are responsible for making an appointment at least once a semester to see an advisor about scheduling your classes and being knowledgeable about degree/graduation requirements.
Tests in high school generally cover very small amounts of material and are given in conjunction with homework to arrive at an overall grade. In college, testing is usually infrequent and covers large amounts of cumulative material.
Unlike high school, make-up tests, handing in late assignments or extra credit are RARELY options. One of the biggest differences between high school and college is that in high school, effort counts. In college, results count. Although your effort can lead to good results, it will not be a substitute for performance.
Grading in college is very different from your experience in high school. Many students report that they did very little studying for tests in high school. In college, you will not be able to get away with this if you expect to do well.
Success in college is dependent upon a clear understanding of your role in the teaching/learning process. As a member of this community, expect to be challenged, and expect to grow and succeed. It is the choices and decisions which YOU make that will determine the success of your university experience. We look forward to working with you.
Last updated: April 23, 2013 10:17 am EST