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Top Tips to Transition to College College 

Top Tips to Transition to College

Whether you’re going to a university across the country or taking community college classes across town, almost all students say making the transition from high school to college can be tough.
“In high school, you have had every minute of your day structured, but when you get to college, you really have large blocks of unstructured time that you have to learn to manage,” says Tracy A. Funk, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management at Ivy Tech Community College-Central Indiana.
Not only that, but college professors often don’t take attendance, so no one will know you’ve missed class—perhaps not a big deal, until you realize that missing class is one of the biggest reasons college students flunk out.
Funk knows what she’s talking about. Not only does she work with college students on a daily basis, her own two sons have (successfully, she says) made the high school-to-college transitions at Ivy Tech and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
These are the areas students find most challenging, according to Funk:
Time management.
You’ll have to learn to manage classes and studying around all the other things in your life, such as sleep, eating, exercise, and, for many students, working a part-time job. Be familiar with your class syllabus so you’ll know what to expect from the beginning of the semester. “We talk with students about the “2 for 1” rule, which recommends spending two hours outside of class studying for every one hour/credit spent in class,” Funk says. “For instance, at 15 credit hours a student should expect to spend 30 hours per week studying and preparing assignments. Certainly some students will need to study more or less; this is just a general rule of thumb.”
Keep the end game in mind.
You’ll save time, money and frustration if you have a career goal before starting college. Be ready: some of your required classes will be uninteresting to you, but that’s when it helps to keep your bigger goal in mind, Funk says. Hate every class in your major? Make the switch to something you like better before you’ve invested too much time and money, she advises.
Ask for help.
Many resources exist on college campuses to help students. You can visit the learning center for academic help or consult your resident advisor for roommate troubles. Take your money concerns to the financial aid office, and don’t wait to get to the health center for physical and emotional problems such as depression or anxiety. Be your own best advocate and speak up, Funk says. “When things do get tough, raise your hand and ask: can someone help me out here? Everyone needs a hand sometimes,” Funk says. “When you are settled in your new career and life, you can reach back and do the same thing for someone else.”

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