Okay, you’re a high school senior and you have done all the requisite things, you took the ACT or SAT, submitted your applications – complete with essays – and submitted your FAFSA. You wait for the acceptance letters to roll in and BOOM, you’re college bound! Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to a school where you can see yourself spending 4 years or more – but not too many more – and it’s all good.
You’re college bound, but are you college ready? In high school, college ready is based on the classes you take and how you are perceived as an applicant. In college, it’s based on your ability to thrive in an environment where you have more freedom to make your own choices. Those choices are made in light of increased academic rigor, unwritten rules, and resolving issues that you never imagined would exist. Being college ready means you have a grasp on things like time management, the difference between studying and doing homework, and knowing how to seek out the campus resources you need.
Don’t let this worry you. If you’re not college ready, you can be. All it takes is stepping up your game a bit to slowly shift into the accountable, good-judgement you’ll need to hit your stride. Every student is different, and their strides come at different points, but there are ways to get there sooner rather than later. Here’s how . . .
If you’re not already committed for the summer, use it to prepare yourself for doing more in the fall. One easy way is to volunteer with a local organization with the goal of getting out of your comfort zone. Once you learn the ropes, identify needs and begin to solve problems. Offer to organize events and be on project committees. Or take an online class to learn a skill you don’t have. Universities like Stanford and MIT offer a few, so check them out.
If you have summer plans, make the most of your summer experience by fully engaging and going all in. Whether it’s an internship, academic program, or research, do what you can to be an asset to your company/school/organization. The key here is to learn as much as possible given what’s appropriate for your level of employment/service.
Most of being college ready happens after you get to college. Once there, get comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s the way to grow. Be prepare for some things to be the same – classes, homework, student organizations, social – but also slightly different – classes every other day, studying, residence halls, freedom. Just like high school, everything you need is on campus. However, unlike high school, you have to know you need a particular resource and seek it out. College is a system and a culture. I can teach you how to navigate the system and learn the culture. What you do with the information is up to you. Are you ready?