Shepard Academic Resource Center: Tips From College Students
Tips for High School Students to Prepare for College
- Be prepared to do a lot of reading in college.
- Learn time management: use a calendar and plan how to use your time. Learn to manage your time while still in high school, keep a calendar of all exams and paper due dates.
- One of the biggest transitions between high school and college is development of time management skills - students must learn to balance school and social life.
- Be prepared to discipline yourself, as the temptation to slack could be great. If you miss 4-5 classes in a semester, you may not make it through the semester successfully.
- Being sick affects your ability to be a student - and remember that community living contributes to the cold/flu season.
- Learn to read - summarize and outline reading.
- Learn to take notes in class.
- Learn to study.
- Start the college and scholarship search as early as possible.
- Take as many science, math, English, and foreign language courses as you can; they build a foundation for college.
- Participate in volunteer and community service programs. It helps with scholarships!
- Take advantage of the advanced classes offered in high school.
- Think about what characteristics in a university are of most importance to you (climate, environment, degrees offered, size, location, etc.) before making a final decision about attending college. Visit them if possible.
Advice from University of Portland Students
- "I think the most important thing to let high school students know is not to overlook anything. When I was in high school I often asked myself, "Why do I need to know this?" then if I didn't think it was pertinent, I wouldn't bother to study it. But in college, all those seemingly unneeded tools come together in the real life (e.g.: finding an intersection of those two lines in algebra is later important in cost/revenue calculations). In the way of classes, learning to read and write well is very important. The focus should be on the format and clarifying ideas in writing, and being able to pick out the important parts of writing (the testable facts). Volunteering and joining clubs are important to get into the college of your choice."
- "I'd advise the students to take as much math as they can in high school and to take as many classes as they can in the field that they're interested in. For example, if you are interested in Biology, take as many science classes as you can. In addition, they should get involved in as many clubs and activities as they can. This will make both your high school and college years fun and exciting. One thing I never learned was prioritizing and discipline. That is to get your homework done as soon as you get the opportunity. This is something you will be forced to learn in college, and it should make life so much more free in high school. The hardest transition to college is the amount of work. You are pretty much overloaded and you cannot get behind. If you do, it is nearly impossible to catch back up."
- "I think one of the hardest transitions into college is all the reading you have to do. One thing I would have done before I came here was simply read for fun. I think the more you read, the faster you begin to read and comprehend. High school students should take more time reading magazines and books during their free time. Another hard adjustment was being away from the family and friends you are used to being around. I would advise students to bring many pictures of family and friends, just for when they need a smile and extra encouragement."
- "I have several suggestions for potential college-goers in high school. The first is to get on the college search early, such as the junior year. Secondly, apply to a wide variety of schools, since during the application progress your interests may change in what you want. Another point is not to overly stress over the selection of a school, because regardless of where you go, you will meet interesting people and experience living on your own - valuable lessons that are just as important as the education you receive. Finally, find a listing of local scholarships that you qualify for, and apply. There is no better way to make money than putting time into scholarships. Oh yeah, and one last thing, work hard in high school, since your grades will leave you with more options when choosing a college."
- "Tell them [high school students] not to slack off in their schedule senior year, and just take easy classes. If they take the challenging courses, the transition to college academic life will be a breeze. And tell them to take four years of a foreign language in high school if they can, it's much easier to get it out of the way in high school."
- "I feel that the best way to prepare for college is to take challenging classes in high school. I think that students should treat high school seriously and try to get as much out of it as they can because it's free unless you go to private school. The main classes that I would focus on taking are those that will be able to help you really think critically and practice your reading and writing skills. In college, you need to be able to manage your time."
- "They [high school students] should read over the summer, which I did not do. This could help in their transition. Also, I consider myself an "okay" writer, but they should not take high school writing lightly. Use this time to practice and prepare for college writing courses."
- "Take each of the following classes all through high school (i.e. each year): science, math, foreign language, and a mix of electives. Do not just join all the clubs and pick either one or two that really interest you and then try to gain a title in that club, such as President, Vice President, etc. Hone your study habits now. It is much harder to study when you get to college and there is no one to tell you to do your homework except yourself. Learn to love to read. It is key to getting a good education and in turn good grades . . . that keeps the folks happy."