For many students, preparing for college begins during their freshman year of high school. The four years you spend in school are designed to ready you for higher education, from participating in extracurricular activities to concurrent enrollment classes. Once you reach your junior and senior years, college prep will pick up and require additional effort as you pin-down dream schools and begin the application process.
To start, you’ll need to make a list of reach, match, and safety schools by using a college admissions calculator for quick, easy comparisons. After you’ve made your list, you’ll need to begin the applications, keep track of deadlines, request high school transcripts, and ask for recommendation letters to prepare for the next steps.
One vital task to include on your college preparation checklist should be to evaluate your high school habits. Assess whether the practices you’ve picked up throughout school will be useful going forward and re-evaluate bad habits that can hinder success. After evaluating patterns, you’ll be able to make a plan, eliminating damaging practices from your life while nurturing new, beneficial ones. If you fall into any of the categories below, take extra care to nip unproductive behaviors in the bud, avoiding mishaps during your college career.
When you arrive at college, you’ll be on your own for the first time, and your parents won’t be around to set a curfew or nag you to study. Suppose you’re used to binge-watching your favorite TV show or scrolling through social media instead of doing your homework. In that case, those practices may be hard to kick without parental supervision. Practicing self-control will help you build discipline and stay on top of schoolwork without external help.
Many high school students learn the art of skimming textbooks to pass pop quizzes and complete homework assignments. Unfortunately, skimming isn’t always useful in college, especially in courses where professors expect you to have a thorough understanding of coursework. Luckily, reading your textbook doesn’t have to take hours if you utilize active reading strategies to understand material on a deeper level.
While growing up, you may have gotten used to well-rounded dinners and bedtime reminders. Being too reliant on your parents may result in the inability to care for yourself once you’re living on your own. If you’re not used to making healthy choices, you may find yourself sleeping odd hours or scarfing down unhealthy snacks. It’s vital to establish stable, healthful lifestyle choices to succeed in future classes and maintain stamina throughout challenging coursework.
If you had your name on every club roster in high school, attempting the same in college may be overwhelming, potentially compromising academic success. However, if you avoided high school extracurricular activities, doing the same in college can prevent you from meeting like-minded people and building meaningful relationships.
Regardless of the type of person you were, it’s essential to balance your academics and life outside of school. Consider your passions and what you enjoy doing in your free time to sift through the many clubs and opportunities.
High school can be incredibly stressful for students, and you may have developed some unhealthy coping mechanisms to manage your stress, like binge-eating and drinking. Once you reach college, pressure doesn’t go away, especially as you adjust to your new life during your first semester. Relying on harmful coping mechanisms could damage your health, creating long-term obstacles in your life. Establishing a regular workout schedule, practicing mindfulness, and starting a new hobby are ways of handling stress that add positivity to your life.
Beginning the next stage of your life at university is a huge step for every student. The years you spend in college are transformative, and you’ll make countless memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Start the next chapter of your life off on the right foot by eliminating bad habits from your life and practicing patterns that will benefit you in the long run.