High School to College Transition: 4 Challenges

The new social, academic and lifestyle challenges of college will require new strategies and solutions.

1. Challenge: Harder Work, and Lots More of It

Even straight-A high school students will find college work much more difficult and time-consuming. There are endless papers to write. One exam can cover months of material, so students must keep up with the workload along the way.

Strategy 1: Time Management and Study Skills

You need to learn to prioritize tasks and manage time wisely. Go to check out time-management and study skills workshops on campus.

Strategy 2: A Quiet Place

To put in all those study hours, find an environment that’s well-lighted, comfortable and, most of all, quiet—a word that doesn’t describe a typical lively college residence hall. Try the library and save the socializing for later.

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2. Challenge: Keeping Track of Everything

Classes, papers, exams, sports practice, appointments, part-time jobs, social life, campus events—they all come with dates, times, meeting places and deadlines. You may feel overwhelmed.

Strategy 1: Get Organized

Go off to school with a desk or wall calendar, planner or just an Android/iOS app.

Strategy 2: Schedule for Success

Take charge of your schedule. An early bird can pick morning classes; a night owl can do the opposite. You can mix in easier courses with more intensive ones to lighten the overall load.

3. Challenge: Managing Money

Every day there are tons of tempting ways to spend money at college, from shopping to downloading music to going out with friends to ordering late-night pizza.

Strategy 1: Build a Budget

Agree in advance on a reasonable amount of spending money per month and where it will come from, such as a part-time job or you savings. Separate necessary expenditures, such as books, travel and personal items, from extras such as meals out. A simple spreadsheet will help you plan and keep track month-by-month.

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Strategy 2: Avoid Credit Cards

Credit cards in the hands of college students, especially freshmen, can lead to financial disaster. Using a debit card is a better way to control spending.

4. Challenge: Staying Healthy

At home, your parents probably controlled the grocery shopping and meal planning. Now, you can grab a high-fat, high-carb sweet or snack anytime the urge strikes.

Strategy 1: Make Nutritious Choices

You must learn to make nutritious choices to stay fit, keep a high energy level and avoid the famous “Freshman 15.”

Strategy 2: Ask Your Family

Ask your parents for care packages of whole-grain crackers, energy bars, fruits, bottled water and sugarless gum.