7 Things High School Students Need to Know About College
With college around the corner, your teen might feel excited about this big life change. College is indeed a transformative experience and a journey that will change your teen forever, but is she ready for what’s to come? Here are seven things your teen needs to know about college:
Professors expect that their students are independent. There’s no hand-holding in college. Teens need to understand that professors are certainly willing to help them, but they expect their students to take the initiative to ask for help. That means attending study sessions and visiting professors during office hours. It means taking responsibility for staying on top of all assignments and due dates.
Grades really do matter. In college, there are big consequences of bad grades. Any scholarships awarded could be at risk if the recipient’s GPA falls below a certain threshold. The college also could put students with a low GPA on academic probation, and some colleges have an automatic drop policy. College offers a lot of freedom, but it’s essential that students go to class, do their homework and ask for help as soon as they start to struggle.
Good communication is important. Students will write, speak and present frequently in college. They must be adaptable in their communication styles and adjust depending on the purpose, audience and task. Teens who aren’t great writers or speakers in high school should focus on building these skills before they go to college.
Critical thinking is critical. You’ve heard it before, parents, but it bears repeating: critical thinking is absolutely essential for today’s college students. Students must be able to analyze new information and make connections. When reading, professors will expect students to critique every author’s reasoning and assumptions.
Time management is a requirement. College classes require a significant amount of effort. Students who have never mastered the concepts of good time management will run into trouble. Parents should make sure their teens are good at maintaining a planner or other homework-tracking system, prioritizing assignments and planning ahead for big projects or tests.
It can be stressful. Though parents shouldn’t aim to make their teens nervous, it is important to have frank conversations about the challenges that they might face as college students. College is a big life change and there is pressure to do well in school. Teens need to be comfortable seeking help and adaptable in high-pressure or high-stress situations.
Waste too much time exploring, and it’s easy to fall behind. While many go to college without knowing exactly what they want to study, teens who want to graduate in four years should quickly start thinking about possible majors. The college career center is worth a visit early on. There, students can research career possibilities, take career interest surveys, learn more about salaries and demand for different jobs, and much more.
One day—maybe in the near future—your teen will embark on the college journey. Make sure he or she is mentally prepared! Armed with as much information as possible, your teen is likely to make the most of the experience and learn a lot. If you need support along the way, contact Huntington Learning Center. We’ll help your teen prepare for college and make sure he or she is ready to do well.