In a previous post, we talked about one of the greatest fear some students have in going to college. This post will discuss the second biggest fear in college. Can you guess what it is?
We have a student at Hillview Prep who is a good student but is apprehensive in going to college. She is going to a great school, one of her top choices, but she is nervous.
She is nervous about doing well in school.
This is a very common concern, and it is definitely not misguided. The expectations in college are much higher than in school. Often bright students underestimate what it takes to succeed in college and simply burn out. A lot depends on your high school background. For example, we have a student who did not take any programming courses in high school. For college he chose electrical engineering, and in his classes he encountered C++. He crashed. Some of his fellow high school friends had no problems because they knew Python and/or Java. The student also struggled in other courses despite being an 'A' student in high school. He needed to do some courses to bridge the gap from high school to college. He didn't know that there was a major gap in knowledge between high school and college that he needed to bridge. So he crashed and burned. He left his college and went to a community college, where he is taking courses that amount to bridge courses.
Then there are kids who got top grades in high school and earned high SAT/ACT scores. In college, they continue their hard work, but somehow fall behind. There are several reasons. Students struggle to wake up in time for class, procrastinate on long-term assignments, and neglect to do their work without the kinds of reminders and cues that their parents and school teachers used to provide. Unlike high school, where performance is closely tracked, in college you just have mid-terms and then the final grade. Often, professors in big universities are better researchers than teachers, so students struggle and have to learn everything on their own.
If you are struggling in college, or are concerned about how to approach college, here are some tips to do well.
1. Your mindset. College is not high school.
College isn't like high school. There's no teacher or parent to remind you every day of what you need to do. You are finally independent. Yes, that sounds awesome! But it comes with responsibilities. You are now fully in charge of your life. You have to make your own plans and go to classes, etc.
2. Your goals. They are your guide.
College is not a race between you and other students, though often it may seem that way. If you do not have strong goals, you will be rudderless and will be swayed into doing things that you should not be doing. You goals are really critical in keeping you on track: going to class, doing your homework, asking questions and help, etc.
Know why you are there. What do you want to do after school? What are your passions? Let your passions and goals guide you.
3. Learning methods. Learn how to learn.
Do you know which is the most popular MOOC course? Well, it is 'Learning how to Learn' by Dr. Barbara Oakey and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski. Using these approaches taught in the class, you can change your learning skills and do really well in college. The teachers have a treasure trove of practical techniques that walk you through what you need to do to get on track.
Take 'Learning how to Learn' class before any other!
4. Use the TAs.
In most classes, there will be TAs. Take advantage of them. They can help you learn, often on 1-on-1 sessions, and they often have more time than the professors. Go to their office hours. Most of them are happy to help you.
5. Ask outside help!
Often you will be struggling and you are not getting the help you want. Pay somebody! Yes, find tutors. Contact us at Hillview Prep and we will be happy to assist you with your challenge.