Many students see college as an exciting time when they move away from home and claim their freedom. While it is partially true as college provides you an opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, make new friends, and have some fun.

But there is also another dimension to college that is often ignored by high schoolers. What they don’t know are the real-life experiences, lessons, and hardships that hit you as soon as you venture off to college.

As Confucius puts it;

By three methods we may learn wisdom: first by reflection, which is noblest; second by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is bitterest.

College life is the time where you learn things the bitter way; mostly by experiencing them yourself. But as you process your experiences through the lens of maturity, you are actually getting wiser.

In this post, we have compiled some valuable tips that every high school grad should know before going to college. These include things like taking notes, researching, proper time management, and budgeting that will help you prepare better for the college academic game.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

1.   Learn how to devise a budget:

Budgeting is indispensable for every adult, and college students are apparently not very good at it. Data from 2018 reflects a larger crisis with borrowers now owing a staggering 1.5 trillion USD in student debt.

According to Forbes magazine, the student loan saw a steady ascension in the last ten years as the total debt rose at a rate of 250 percent (from $600 billion to $1.5 trillion) in the United States.

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To avoid a financial mess, learn where your money is going and try to live within your means. Once you determine how much you will be spending on your essential needs and leisure activities, you are in a better position to prevent a major crisis.

To get started with budgeting, create a weekly or monthly plan, and set strict guidelines for your shopping sprees. This will also build your ‘muscle memory’ for more complex budgets as your expenses expand with things like groceries, utility bills, fuel, and rent as you get older.

It is also wise to have a saving plan so that you can save some money for emergencies and unexpected events. Of course, it is not easy to stick to a plan since there are numerous shopping temptations around.

A good way to avoid these temptations is to allot money to all the essential and non-essential categories at the start of the week or month. This way, you will be able to prioritize the essential purchases without being lured into making the impulse buys that you will regret later.

2.   Proper time management:

College students enjoy a degree of independence, as there is no one looking over their shoulder. The freedom can be easily misused as there are numerous leisure activities that may tempt students to skip their classes or other important obligations.

Students should, therefore, master proper time management skills to balance college and social life. A good idea is to create a weekly schedule and divide it further on a day to day basis. There should proper time assigned to sleep, assignments, exercise, entertainment, extra-curricular activities, and domestic chores.

With proper time management skills, you’ll be able to do well in class and still have spare time for games, movies, and fun with your friends. Another valuable skill that allows you to utilize your time optimally is the art of multitasking. Learning to do multiple things simultaneously can lead to a more productive life without you feeling too overwhelmed by the college experience.

3.   Understand before you memorize:

Every day we receive a torrent of new information, but we retain only a small portion of it at the end of the day. The average human mind forgets more than half of the information in the first hour and more than 70 percent of what it learns in the first six days.

This means that when the exams arrive, you will only remember a tiny portion of the course content. This can be intimidating, given that you will have so much to learn, and so many topics to cover. Therefore, it is necessary that you focus on essential information and revise the course content several times so that you retain as much as possible by the end of the semester.

Many students also focus on memorizing the content without actually learning it. Complex courses in college demand a broad set of thinking skills. Some courses will require you to understand the subject fully so that you can perform well on the grading scale.

4.   Study smart:

In high schools, teachers teach 80 percent of the course material in class and leave the remaining 20 percent to students in the form of assignments and worksheets. In college, your professor will provide 20 percent of the foundational material in the classroom while you will be responsible for producing the rest of the material.

It requires a reconditioning of the learning habits as most of the learning in college will happen away from the classroom. Your class attendance, assignments, and quizzes will all count in your grades. Many students are, unfortunately, not accustomed to such operations, and as a result, even bright high school students perform badly in college.

Therefore, you need to develop new study techniques such as using flashcards or joining a study group. Some smart students also teach difficult concepts to fellow students, which deepens their understanding of the topic.

5.   Learn professional skills:

Before going to a college, you should learn how to create an effective resume. Brush up your writing skills so that you have no difficulty when writing professional letters, emails, scientific papers, and dissertations. Good presentation and communication skills can also be helpful in college and prepare you for the job market.

Knowing the importance of these skills, most of the college preparatory schools and the best private elementary schools in Bay Area try to properly arm their students with these all-important skills.

Final Thoughts:

Many students perform poorly in college because they are not acquainted with the demands of college. College presents a great challenge, but the knowledge in this blog and some hard work can put you a step ahead with preparation.

What else should high school grads know before they enroll in college? Let us know in the comments!