As you enter your first semester in college, there are many changes presented to you. Adjusting to the college experience can be smooth if you are prepared with the knowledge and tools needed to have a successful year. Below is a list of common changes that occur as you transition from high school to college — use it as a guide to help you start your college experience off on the right foot.

How to Make a Successful Transition to College

  1. Take control of your education: you determine your own success.
  2. Take control of your time: use a planner and plan ahead for academic requirements.
  3. Get to know your professors: they are your single greatest resource.
  4. Know yourself: seek out help and support before you're in a jam.
  5. Think about tomorrow: set goals for the semester, the year, and your college career.
High School vs. College
The High School Experience The College Experience
High school is about following the rules. College is about making responsible choices.
You spend a significant amount of time in the classroom. You spend only a few hours a week in the classroom.
Assignments are frequent and short; they are often retaught during class. Assignments are larger and less frequent; they often require substantial amounts of reading and writing.
You have a very structured schedule, with little study time required outside of class. There is little structure in your schedule, with almost all study time occurring outside of class.
There are high levels of parental involvement. There is minimal parental involvement.
Instructors know their students very well. Instructors teach hundreds of students and do not know many of them well.
Tests are frequent and cover small amounts of material. Tests are infrequent and may be cumulative.
Many classes are one year long (fall and spring semesters). Classes are only one semester long.
Students may study outside class as little as zero to two hours a week, and this may be mostly last-minute test preparation. Students need to study at least two to three hours outside of class for each hour in class.
Instructors will approach students who appear to be struggling. Instructors are willing to help but need for the student to initiate contact to know that there is an issue.
Students seldom need to read anything more than once, and sometimes listening in class is enough. Students need to review class notes and text material regularly.
Grades are based on effort, homework, and tests. Grades are based primarily on test results and occasionally effort or homework.