The Harsh Realities of College

When students graduate high school, often times they aren’t prepared for the world of college academics. Let’s put aside the social and weekend components of college and only focus on schoolwork. As students enter college, they are confronted with the fact that their parents aren’t around to provide support, teachers aren’t hand-holding anymore, there isn’t much leeway to turn things in late or get extensions, and learning has to take place on your own, outside-of-class hours. Below are three key areas where students struggle when they step foot onto a college campus.

Consistent work outside the classroom: This is the biggest shift for students. In high school, students do work when they have assignments due. Generally, in math, there is a problem set due the next day. In history, there are worksheets to complete. College flips this upside down because students now need to partake in activities outside of class in order to be prepared and ready. The weekly activities that need to take place (note-taking, textbook reading, reviewing, etc.) can often be the downfall for college students.

Strict Deadlines: I have seen the high school deadline leniency many times. A senior in high school doesn’t have a paper done on time, a teacher grants a (sometimes indefinite) extension, the student finishes when they can and doesn’t lose any points. In college, that doesn’t happen. You either make a deadline or you don’t. With the variable deadlines and different assignments week-to-week, students can be unprepared and have trouble tracking each thing. A single missed assignment, let alone many, can have quick, negative consequences on a student’s grades.

Test Preparation: Tests in college are big. They’re much bigger than tests in high school. The scope of the content, the depth, and the weight of the tests are much more significant. For college students, this can be a tough change from high school. Students need to manage their time, plan effectively, and use effective study methods in order to fully prepare for their exams.

Students can tackle and overcome these challenges. They must build consistent learning patterns, have good time management, and understand how to manage themselves and their resources.

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