Advice for high schoolers going off to college

College is a very different ballgame to high school. Graduating high school students probably get told this a lot, but the following are some of the specifics that you need to look out for. There is a lot more coursework that needs to be covered while at college but it’s possible to keep on top of it if prepared for adequately.

You don’t have to go to college straight away

Gap years are a great way to do some soul-searching and determine exactly what you want to study. The time can be used to volunteer, travel, or even get a job, all of which better prepare students for college.

Advice for high schoolers going off to college

Professors are pretty peculiar

Professors are quite different from teachers in that they treat their students less personally in class. Their main job is simply to get the material across and they don’t follow students up to hand in late assignments (these usually result in deducted or zero marks).

However, it is recommended that you get to know the professors because after all, they are experts in their field. Being friendly with the professors can assist you if you are struggling and need extra help or if you need recommendation letters.

Learning to write is an invaluable skill

Make sure to get the hang of grammar and academic style because writing is a necessary skill in almost every field of study and later on in future jobs. This is a skill that should be invested in early and practiced well in the lower years to prevent serious struggling in the later years. Referencing is a big part of academic writing and takes a lot of practice to get right, so this skill should also be honed in on as soon as possible.

Go to classes and be on time

For some courses, attending classes is not compulsory, but it’s generally a bad idea to miss them. Study material is much more difficult to read on your own because lecturers explain them in a summarized way putting emphasis on the concepts that are important. They may also explain things that are unclear in the notes, which people hurriedly scribble down, but you will miss if you’re not there.

Look after loans and scholarships

It’s very important for students to understand how student loans work. They accumulate large amounts of interest that have to be paid off for the first few years of working life. Balance your expected salary vs your student loan repayments to see what you’re setting yourself up for after you graduate. If you are lucky enough to receive a scholarship, make sure to check what GPA you need to maintain to keep it, otherwise, you can also land up in a lot of debt.

Advice for high schoolers going off to college

Consider internships and jobs

Going for internships during the holidays is a great way to get experience in the relevant field and put you above your colleagues the day you graduate. Starting early can give up to three or four years of experience at graduation, which is well above being completely inexperienced. Internships and jobs are also a helpful way to earn extra money.

Socialize and network

Every person starts college on a clean slate and high school groups are a thing of the past. It’s important to make friends to develop a support network and generally to keep sane. Remember – this is an experience that will not be repeated, so make the most of it and try new things.