Okay, so either you have walked or will be walking across the stage after spending the last semester procrastinating on tying up loose ends and rushing to meet all of your graduation requirements in a decent fashion during your senior year. Take a moment to breathe. That’s enough. Take this advice from a veteran teacher like me to get you ready to be a college success with these tips:
1. Do Your Homework
Well this homework won’t be assigned by a professor or a teacher but make sure you choose the right school and have a clear focus on why you have decided to dedicate getting your formal education there. According to U.S. News, as many as 33% of students do not return for their sophomore due to a variety of reason, including academic, financial troubles, and loneliness. Avoid this by researching the college of your choice with money, family, and study habits in mind.
2. Do Your Homework-really this time!
This is going to really surprise you. Ready? You remember how all of your teachers made you turn in homework and we were required to check it and count it towards a grade? Well, not so much in college! Most professors, if not all, will assign you loads of homework and never grade it, check it, acknowledge it, or even ask you for it but you better get it done. If not, on exam day, you will wish you had read that chapter on mitochondria. All of those homework assignments we gave you in high school were to prepare you for independent practice and exam day. Just because it won’t be checked, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
3. Find the Right Balance
Being able to balance your social life with academics can make or break your college career in more than one way. Airrion Blake Bey warns college students of partying like a rock star while trying to balance academics. Do not forget that you are in college to get a degree not party. Trust me, the parties aren’t going anywhere, but you may if you don’t buckle down on passing those classes. In high school, teachers are required to provide progress reports and update you on your status. Don’t expect college professors to give you the same treatment. It is your responsibility to find the balance of social life and academics. Don’t be afraid to say no to friends and yes to work! I know, corny, but you will graduate!
4. Still Consider the Community College Down the Street
I always encourage my high school students to begin their first two years of college at the local community college and then transfer to a traditional four year college later. Although some of the ‘elitist’ may frown upon this, don’t worry about what they say. Four years later, your student loan debt will be substantially less than your counterparts if you have any at all. An article in the NY Times emphasizes the benefits of beginning your educational career at the community college opposed to a four year university with money being one of them. The first two years of college is basically meeting general education requirements, so why not save a few thousand in the process taking identical classes?
5. Enjoy Your Last Summer at Home Before College
No matter if you are going far or staying home, this summer will be the last summer to live life as you know it. Afterwards, your group of friends will change and you will be dedicating your time and efforts towards your new college life. Take the time this summer to really enjoy the life you have known for the last few years as it will be the last before you take off into adulthood.
As you prepare for long nights of studying (partying!), remember to keep that balance of social life and academics and for goodness sake, remember to do your homework.