Each year, thousands of students graduate from high school and prepare themselves for a new stage of their lives: a college education. Most of them are incredibly excited about the transition. They expect this change to be nothing but positive. That enthusiasm is justified since this is a moment for them to show how serious they are about being grownups. However, we have to consider the challenges, too.
This is a harsh transition. The student moves away from home and heads off to an unknown city. They are surrounded by faces they don’t recognize. Their social skills are put to the test, so it’s difficult to make connections, especially for introverts.
In addition, expectations are much higher. The textbooks are bigger, the material is more complex, and the assignments are more common. Not everyone is prepared to face such challenges, which is why the completion rate for students in upper-secondary education in Nepal is below 30%.
It’s important to be prepared for the challenges you’re about to face, so you’ll handle the transition without much stress involved. When you’re aware of the obstacles and you’re willing to face them, you increase your own chances of going through college with success.
We’re going to list the 3 major challenges that students face when transitioning from high school to college.
1. Lack of Time
Let’s try to sum up the main daily activities a college student has on their mind:
- Attending classes
- Completing homework
- Working on a major project, such as a research paper, essay, or case study
- Daily workout
- Cleaning the room
- Grocery shopping
- Preparing food or going out to eat
- Watching a popular TV show
- Spending time with friends
- Calling the family via Skype
- Going to a late night party
Should we even mention sleeping and napping?
With so many activities on your list, it’s easy to get confused. You’ll find yourself trying to save time by postponing some critical responsibilities, such as studying or academic writing. You’ll assume you can catch up on that work later on, but the procrastination takes its toll on your effectiveness.
Yin Lars, an education expert from BestEssays, explains that time management is one of the biggest obstacles for first-year college students: “The life of a high-school student is much more relaxed than the life of a college student. At college, you face more responsibilities and you want to spend more time having fun, so it seems that you cannot fit everything in a single day. That’s true; you cannot fit everything. So you have to make smart sacrifices that won’t affect your success in the studies. If that means you’ll have to spend less time exercising and zero time with friends today, you have to be prepared for such sacrifice.”
How can you overcome this obstacle?
A daily to-do list is the most helpful tool. You can use an app, such as Remember the Milk, to note down everything you have to do today. Then, you’ll set your priorities. Think: what are the most important and most urgent tasks on your list? That should be your focus. Then, you’ll focus on less important but urgent, and very important but less urgent tasks. You’ll also notice less important and not urgent tasks on your list (that TV show or that party). Those are the ones you’ll need to scratch.
2. Too Much Homework and Too Many Assignments
You’ve had homework at high school. You’ve written an essay or two for literature class. In college, you have to be ready for a massive upgrade on this aspect of your studies.
First-year students are amazed with the fact that they have to complete essays, term papers, reports, presentations, and other types of assignments for every single course they take. College is not just about attending classes, studying, and taking tests. It’s also about academic projects.
Students complain about this level of workload, mainly because they don’t understand its purpose. They feel like all these essays are not necessary.
The truth is: you absolutely need to master the skill of argumentative writing. Without solid writing skills, it’s hard to get any kind of job nowadays. Whether you work in management, medicine, journalism, or law, you’ll have to complete all kinds of reports. You have to develop that skill throughout college, and that’s exactly why your professors assign so many projects.
So how do you handle this workload?
- First and foremost, it’s important to always start early. Your professors won’t give these assignments today and expect them to be ready tomorrow. They will give you at least a couple of weeks, so you’ll get enough time to conduct in-depth research and go through all stages of writing and editing. If you postpone the starting point, you’ll end up going through all stages in a hurry. Needless to say, such an approach causes too much stress and doesn’t deliver good results. So always start as soon as you get the assignment!
- Do not skip any of the stages. Before you start writing a paper, you have to brainstorm, do some research, and plan the outline. Only then you’ll be prepared for a successful writing process. That’s not where you’ll stop! You’ll also have to edit and proofread your paper, so you’ll come down to its flawless version.
3. Being an adult
For most students, this is their first long-term experience away from home. They don’t have their parents to cook, clean, and do laundry for them. The budget of a student is very limited, so they have to spend their money very responsibly. They also have to accept other responsibilities, such as managing their time, eating well, and cleaning up after themselves. Most of all, they have to learn how to acknowledge their own mistakes and stay accountable for them.
Higher education is a huge test on one’s responsibility. Some students live up to the standards. Others are indulged by the freedom and flexibility they have away from home, so they do nothing but spend their time having fun.
Take one student from each of these two categories as an example. Who do you think will graduate on time? It’s the student who makes it to class, no matter how early it is. It’s the student who manages to complete all coursework, no matter how challenging the projects are. It’s the student who studies on a regular basis instead of investing a single week right before the exams. It’s the one who’s aware of the responsibilities of being an adult.
The college will be challenging. There’s no doubt about it. However, you can make it through only if you’re resilient enough. You’ll have to work on the strength of your own character and see each obstacle as an opportunity for personal growth. When you’re aware of the greatest challenges you’ll face and you’re ready to overcome them, you’ll definitely be a successful student.