Access to Education

Preparing for College in the Fall

Autumn Williams
The Ohio State University

The environment of college is very different from high school. For the first time, students are responsible for themselves. The amount of personal freedom is unbelievable. No one is checking to see what time you got up or went to bed, or if you went to class or did your homework. It’s very easy to let that freedom overwhelm you, and not do what you need to do in order to be successful.

Students need to remember that their personal values and goals don’t change just because Mom and Dad aren’t with you every day. It’s more important than ever for students to remember why they are going to college. The social life is just a bonus, so do your work first, and then have fun.

  • Some skills I have found necessary for success:

    1. Learn to manage your time. You can go to class, study, work and be involved in activities, as long as you learn how to manage your time. Talk with second or third years students to learn what their secrets are for maintaining a balanced life.
    2. Take good notes. It sounds simple, but it’s not always easy to do. You need to take good notes both in class and when you read and study so you can easily find and understand important ideas in your classes. Notes that are sloppy, incomplete, or focus on irrelevant information won’t help you prepare for tests or write papers.
    3. Go to class! Once you realize that many classes don’t take attendance, you may feel the temptation to skip class on occasion. Don’t do it. You never know when a key concept will be discussed, or when the professor will bring in information from a source other than your textbooks. If you skip class, you can’t learn. Also, many classes also grade on participation, and you can’t participate if you are not in class.

    College is incredible. Make the most of your opportunities by finding the balance to learn and have fun. Good luck in the fall.

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