Preparing for college is one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking periods in a student’s life. For many, this is the first major life decision they’ll ever make, and it’s easy to feel like a lot is riding on the choices made. Furthermore, ‘college readiness has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years.
College builds career readiness and is often the place where you learn the lessons and make the connections that will prepare you for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, there’s a gap in learning for many students between high school and college.
To be clear, there are plenty of ways you can prepare to make the most out of your college experience. While your high school may prepare you by teaching you college-level skills—and many states do just that—there will still be some surprises along the way. Regardless, there are several things you can do on your own to prepare yourself for college life. These include the following:
1.Prepare For Special Coursework
For many students, there will be a clear difference in difficulty between high school and college coursework. One of the most important parts of college is specialization. You determine your major, and your courses will change based on that. One great way to prepare for college is to start thinking about what kind of coursework you’ll be doing and read up on it.
If you plan on going to a specialized school, such as medical school, your college prep process may be somewhat different. Take high school courses in the subjects you are considering majoring in later to know what to expect.
2.Improve Your Writing Skills
Whether you decide to study accounting, law, or poetry, writing will likely be at the core of all of your coursework. If you feel like your writing wasn’t up to snuff in high school, chances are you’ll feel it even more acutely in college. Consider hiring a writing tutor or taking an online English writing course to improve your writing skills while the stakes aren’t too high.
3.Take College Prep Courses
If your high school offers them, college prep courses can make a huge difference in how well-prepared you’ll feel for the college. Some courses will walk you through essential processes, such as applying for scholarships and financial aids, while others might prepare you for standardized tests, like the SAT.
AP and IB courses are also an excellent option for getting ahead in college. They will likely provide you with college credit, allowing you to skip gen ed courses, potentially saving you both time and money down the road.
4.Engage In Extracurriculars
While coursework and GPA are essential for college preparation, most four-year institutions look for multi-faceted individuals, not just students with high grades. Getting involved in extracurriculars in high school, from sports to music to student government, can help you stand out and will likely equip you with skills and passions that may influence your college career. These will also help you build social connections down the road, an essential part of college.
5.Build A Study Method
College course loads can easily overwhelm first-year college students, especially if they’re disorganized. While still in high school, it can be helpful to develop a unique study method. You know how you learn best, so you might as well use that knowledge to help yourself get ahead.
Build a study routine and hold on to techniques that help you retain information and complete assignments faster. That way, you won’t struggle to find a system that works while juggling all of the college’s academic and social demands.
6.Do Your Research
It helps to be informed! Research prospective colleges and reach out to admissions offices and even current students to learn more about what you can expect for each college. You can also use tools like the College Board or the Princeton Review to access reputable information and rankings.
Part of the beauty of the college experience is how unique it can be. Do plenty of online research and talk to your counsellor to learn what kind of university might be best for you. Once you’ve narrowed down the choices, visit the campuses if you can as there’s no better way to learn about the place where you’ll spend the next four years of your life.
To know the kind of skills you need for college, the bottom line is to get to know yourself better. Outline your strengths and weakness, and identify goals and areas for improvement. If you go into college with a good idea of what you want, you’re more likely to succeed. And, if you have a better idea of who you are as a person, you’re even more likely to enjoy the life-changing experience that college is.
Getting ready for college can be a challenge, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming. With a few key things in mind, you can make sure that you’re 100% college-ready!