5 Ways High School Seniors Can Prepare for College

moving into dormCollege is different from high school.

We know we’re not telling you anything new.  In fact, you’ve probably heard it a million times before, and you might have even rolled your eyes the last time someone mentioned it to you.  Maybe a teacher told you that doing your homework last minute “won’t cut it in college”.  Or maybe a friend helped you get over getting snubbed from a party list by reassuring you that “in college, there is no popular.”

Everything you’ve already heard about college has its truths and its limits.  So, we decided to give you a twist on the normal college tips you’ve already heard.

1. Find the best way you stay organized
There’s no doubt you’ve heard at some point or another that time management is king at the university.  Whelp, it’s actually true.  But, this is more than just “time management” and “stay organized”. While people might have told you to do those things, it’s easier said than done. Here are some ways to actually become organized and learn to manage your time.

Like most things, practice makes perfect. The more you practice being organized, the better you will get at it, and in college, being organized will put you miles ahead of the person who can’t even find a pen to write with in class.  So how do you start practicing organization? Start today with your high school classes and activities. Do you work better with digital calendars and reminders, or are you a pen to paper kinda guy? Maybe color coordinating the various activities in your life will help you keep them organized in your mind. Perhaps packing your bag before you go to bed will keep you from forgetting essential homework assignments. The key is trial and error. Try out a bunch of tactics to keep organized, and see what works.

2. Learn how to make food and stay healthy
No, Raman Noodles is not a substitute for the category “food”. Yes, it can be an occasional late night snack to keep you going while trucking through that 10-pager on British Imperialism and the rise of sprinkles on ice cream–but in general, you need nutrients! Nutrients are cool because they help your body work and your mind think. This is not just about avoiding the notorious Freshman 15. This about being healthy and happy.

Healthy means you’re eating food that’s good for you. Happy means that you’re enjoying the food. So before you pack your bags and don’t come home until Thanksgiving, talk with somebody who’s food you enjoy and ask for some easy recipes. There’s also always the Internet. Oh, and there’s also this (it’s awesome).

3. Budget your life
College life can get expensive. There’s books, there’s rent, there’s that amazing sweater you need right now. The best way to go about it is to create a budget for yourself. It will keep you on track and set strict guidelines for how much money you have to spend every month.

A great way to make some wiggle room for cash is to find some scholarships to help you pay for college.

4. Actually waking up to your alarm clock
We don’t know if you’ve heard, but your mom will not be driving 100 miles to your dorm room to gently nudge you awake in the morning. It’s time to start waking up on your own. Oversleeping might mean you miss the most important 5 minute mini lecture of your entire life.  So make an investment if your phone’s alarm clock doesn’t ring loudly enough. Being late in college will keep you perpetually behind.  

5. Get chatty
A major surprise for college freshman is how accessible their professors are. Too many students will sit through class taught by a world-renowned professor, take a couple notes and leave as soon as class is over. You can curb this tendency by asking more questions in your high school class and scheduling time with teachers you admire to talk about a subject in school or guidance on your higher ed plans.

When you’re in college, you’ll be ready to take advantage of the resources you worked hard to have access to! One of the best ways to do this is to simply strike up a conversation with your professor before or after class. Visit them in office hours. You never know what kind of inspiration can come out of a conversation with a great professor–it might lead you in a completely new direction.  It also might buy you an extension on that 10-pager on British Imperialism and the rise of…what was that again?

Original Post Date: April 15th, 2011

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