YES! It is your senior year of high school! Your schedule has some gaps, your friends are awesome, and you are only one year away from utter freedom.
However, this freedom comes with responsibility, self-sufficiency, and anxiety. While college can be a time filled with fun parties and lifelong friends, you are also there for a reason: to learn.
As a recent college grad now working the 9-5 jam, I highly recommend taking full advantage of your four-ish years of freedom and bliss. In order to fully enjoy your time, you need to adjust to college life. While the transition academically from high school to college can be intense, I am here to give you some tips and tricks to prepare yourself for college-level academia while in high school.
Tip One: Senioritis is not Real
Before I get into the tips of how to make the most of your last year in high school to ensure a smoother transition into college than I had, I need to dispel a myth: Senioritis is not real.
You do not become inherently lazy and more prone to procrastinating because you turned 17 or 18 and are now called a senior. Even if you are already in your dream school or feel confident you will get in, I still urge you not to “senioritis” your way through senior year.
Rather, take the time to hone your time management skills. Next year, only 15-20 hours a WEEK of your life will be dictated by others— your class schedule. That leaves 148 hours for you to sleep, eat, meet new friends, hang out with friends, commute, do homework, shop, work, exercise, etc. This is a lot of time you need to be able to motivate yourself. Start practicing time management and self-motivation now, I promise it will pay off.
Tip Two: Take AP or College Credit Courses in High School (and Pass)
When I was in high school, I only had the opportunity to take 2 AP level courses. I took them my senior year and needed to get a 5 for those credits to at my college. To accomplish this, I studied and paid more attention in those classes than I did in any other course.
These extra 8 credits gave me the freedom to take a semester off for an internship of a lifetime and only have to take two summer courses to stay on track.
While these courses gave me credits towards college graduation, the immediate benefits were academic. These courses were more rigorous than any other course I took in high school, which left me with the skill to read (and comprehend) a lot of pages in one sitting, write about what I actually remembered from reading, and speak more confidently about topics I had just learned.
In college, this translated to
- not feeling overwhelmed by my immense freshman homework load,
- easily earning my participation points in seminar classes, and
- time management skills.
If you can’t change your schedule or courses like these are not offered, take to your teacher about college readiness and what extra you can do in their classes to prepare for college— your teachers went to college and likely have some great readiness tips!
Tip Three: Talk to Your Teachers, Especially Your English Teacher
Truly, the only way you are going to make it through the hardest college courses is if you talk to your professors. In college, your professors are the ones who write the course, write the tests, and sometimes they even write the books.
To pass their classes, especially if it has skills you have never used before, you need to be able to go to them with questions. Some professors will go so far as to read your essays prior to turning them in to give you tips to improve your writing before they grade it.
Take. Them. Up. On. This.
To make sure you are confident enough to approach your professor with this type of request, start engaging more with your teachers. Go in when you pass their room and ask questions about class, tips for assignments, and talk out how you’re approaching your work. Watch, this will improve your grade and will boost your confidence.
While I could write for days about advice to do in high school to be successful in college, this is a solid list to start improving yourself and make your college transition smoother.
Regardless of the work you do, college will likely be a major adjustment and the classes will be structured incredibly different. By putting more effort into high school, you will begin to build the endurance to make it through another four years of schooling. If you have any questions for a recent college grad, leave comments!
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