Skills You Need To Have Before You Go To College

Elizabeth Witbeck

College is an exciting time period for students. It marks a new chapter, one that signifies a move into adulthood. Being enrolled in university is entirely different than being in high school. Since you are older, professors are going to have different expectations about how you will prepare for class and manage your time.

You are going to be expected to have a lot more responsibility than a high school student. Here are some of the skills you’ll need to have before you head off to college.

1. Managing your time

In high school, you had a class schedule and were told to show up for classes for a certain period of time. You probably even had a bell that rang to tell you to move from one class to the next. If you didn’t show up to class, you probably got detention. Those punishments do not exist in college.

You are an adult now and it is your own responsibility to show up for class. If you decide to skip class, that is your own choice.

Just remember that you are paying thousands of dollars to attend college, and you aren’t learning anything when you aren’t in class. In high school, your teachers gave you daily assignments and reminded you when projects were due. In college, your professors will give you a syllabus in the beginning of the year and expect that you know when homework assignments are due; there won’t be any reminders.

2. Organize yourself

Now that you are going to be responsible for more things on your own, you need to get organized. You can arrange any organizational system that you like, as long as it works for you. It’s good to have a system in place that keeps all of your papers for each class in order. You’ll need to take good, cleanly-written notes so that you can go back and review them before quizzes and tests.

Remember to look at your syllabus and check when homework assignments are due. If you are living on campus, make sure you organize the space where you live. Organize your dorm room with storage bins, wall decorations and more to make the most out of a small space. Organization will help keep everything in order and make it easier to study.

3. How to talk with professors

In high school you may not have had the opportunities to talk with teachers about lessons or seek help outside of class. In college, additional help from professors is actively encouraged. Professors will let you know their office hours, which are hours when you can stop by their office to ask for help on the homework or anything you don’t understand in class.

If you have questions, it’s important that you ask professors for help. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck not knowing what is going on and it will result in a poor grade. Teachers are there to help you; they want you to succeed.

4. Managing your money

The image of the broke college student isn’t a myth – many college-age students have difficulty managing their money. This age group has perfected the art of spending on everything from restaurants, alcohol, textbooks, car expenses, clothing and more, but they don’t have much income.

Credit card companies love to prey on college students, hoping they will use their new plastic cards for their shopping habits, then rack up serious debts. Getting a part-time job while in school will help give you extra cash for when you want to go out with friends.

Create a budget for yourself, including your income for each month and expenses. Make sure that your income exceeds your monthly expenses.

5. Maintaining good self-care

It is easy to become overwhelmed in college. You may become too involved in going to parties, and not get enough sleep. You may go to the campus dining hall and splurge on foods like cheeseburgers, pizza, French fries and more. You may choose to drink several servings of alcohol each week. College can easily lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Remember to take time to care for yourself and give your body the attention it deserves. Practice healthy eating habits, so you won’t be tempted to overeat at the campus cafeteria.

Be sure to go to the gym on your college campus, and invite friends to participate along with you. It is important to take care of yourself so you feel good, physically and emotionally. All of this will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

College is an exciting and important part of growing up. With college comes a lot of responsibility. Learning these skills will help you succeed in college and help make it one of the most memorable times of your life.

About The Author

Elizabeth Witbeck

Elizabeth Witbeck works as a college consultant and educational entrepreneur. She launched the first business in the United States that sends care packages to first generation college students, and also helps prospective college students on their applications. Her interests include education, poverty, and working with youth.

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