Transitioning from High School to College: Some Basics

on January 11, 2014

Moving from high school to college is a huge transition for any individual. It typically represents the move from childhood to adulthood, from the security of the parental home to being out on your own. And for many, college holds a mystery about it, even if their parents or older siblings have related their own experiences.

There are any number of questions high school students headed to college could have, without knowing where to get the answers. They come to this threshold with impressions flavored by their public school experiences and information that has been filtered through unreliable sources.

Here are some answers to basic questions college-bound students may be asking:

• Major concerns – Declaring a major field of study is not as much of a concern for the average freshman as it’s often made out to be. Students frequently change their major as they gain more college experience. In fact, most experts advise freshmen to use their first year to explore all their options before settling on a choice of majors.

• Buy used – Unless it is a newly published textbook that your instructor requires, it is a much cheaper move to buy a used copy from the college bookstore. Less expensive alternatives also can be found online. Or share the book with others in your class. And don’t buy the textbook too early. Discuss with others who have taken the class to see if you will really use it enough to get your money’s worth.

• Play more – All study and no play does not make for an optimum college experience. Making time for amusements is not only enjoyable, but can reduce stress and help you build friendships. Joining extracurricular sports or volunteer activities can broaden your horizons, maintain mental health, and often garner contacts you will use in your future career. If you work, take as light a load of hours as possible to meet your financial obligations.

• Use resources – Your professors and your guidance counselors are there to help, and not just with class schedules and homework assignments. When you get to class, introduce yourself to your instructor, ask questions, and take advantage of the professor’s office hours. If you go out of your way to create a connection, they will go out of their way to be of help and could become a good resource for finding a job later. Counselors can point you in the right direction if you need help in making course decisions and can give you insights on academic life.

College counselors can give you helpful hints and be your source for almost any question you have about college life—from loan applications, to medical services, to governing regulations, to finding part-time work if needed. All you have to do is ask.

    

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