Making the transition from high school to college is an exciting time for students and their families, but it can also be a little stressful. There are a lot of new things coming up and it can be hard for people to navigate it all. Here are nine things students and families should know about entering college life.
1. It’s Different Than High School
Sometimes students start college and expect it to be a lot like high school. In certain ways, it can be. You still have classes and tests and papers. However, the difference is obvious when students realize how much more responsible they have to be. College professors are there to help you but they will expect you to manage your schedule and coursework.
2. Not All Schools Are the Same
When you’re searching for the right school, keep in mind that there are different types of colleges and universities. You may find large public universities that are filled with lots of social activities, tight-knit private colleges that make it easier to make connections with your peers, community colleges that offer shorter degree programs and vocational schools. There are many routes to higher education, so pick the one that matches your needs and personality.
3. College Is Expensive
While everyone knows college in the United States is rarely free, it can still be a bit shocking how costly a degree can be. The average to attend a four-year university is now more than $25,000 per year. Scholarships and financial aid can help, but they can be hard to qualify for and can still leave some gaps.
Undergraduate student loans are a practical way to get the funds needed for college. Taking out a loan with the right partner can become a worthwhile investment that isn’t burdensome. Look carefully at your loan options and compare what you want to spend to what you hope to earn as a graduate to make a balanced choice for your student loan financing.
4. Networking Starts Early
In high school, students are often pulled into certain enriching activities throughout their time at school. In college, there are just as many, if not more, activities for students to participate in. However, young scholars will have to seek these opportunities out.
It’s worth it to join clubs and groups because they can help you explore your interests while in college. You may find a deeper passion for a hobby you always loved. Activities are also the beginning of building your network of contemporaries. This will come in handy later when you’ve all graduated and can help each other find new professional opportunities.
5. Learn To Cope With Stress
With all of the freedom and responsibility that comes with college, there is also a fair amount of stress. For most young people, this is their first experience of taking care of themselves and managing heavy workloads without close supervision. It can take a while to adjust, and that is completely normal.
More colleges and universities are offering support services to help people going through a tough time. These schools acknowledge how much change you may be experiencing so they offer resources to help. If you find yourself having a hard time coping with the new environment, seek out these resources to get help with coping with the new responsibilities of life.
6. Embrace the Experience
Most importantly, students who are heading to college should focus on enjoying their time at their university. It’s a unique experience that’s hard to recreate. While there will be stressful moments and big challenges along the way, try to focus on the positive. Embrace the spirit of learning and growth that permeates college campuses and have a bit of fun on the way.
When it’s time to head to college, students and their families have a big change to face. With a little planning and an open mind, the experience can be great for everyone.