Anyone who has ever attended college or watched their children navigate this transition knows how vastly different the experience of a high school student is from that of a college student. From the newfound independence to the excess of free time to the vastly different academic expectations, many, if not most, students find their new university life to be a major culture shock.
College Students experience major shifts in the following areas:
- The newfound independence students experience in college is one of the most overwhelming changes
- College students must independently select their classes, their major, their schedule
- They must independently manage their social lives, their sleep schedules, where and what they want to eat for each meal
- Most students find this independence to be both a blessing and a curse Class Variety:
- College classes come in a wide range of topics
- Students must take into account:
- Professor teaching styles
- Course timing and course length
- Class formats (online vs. in-person vs. hybrid, lecture vs. seminar, etc.)
- It is each student’s responsibility to research and register for courses, as well to decide when it is necessary to add/drop/make changes to existing courses
- College classes require students to be in different places at different times each day; students may not have the same classes or schedule each week
- Some students are even required to travel between different campuses for class
- College classes vary in length and format
- Students must independently decide when the time is right for: attending class, studying, exercise, eating, extracurricular involvements, social activities, etc.
Accountability and Responsibility:
- College students are treated like adults
- Parents won’t be called if a student skips a class / Parents no longer speak on their student’s behalf / Parents cannot give students permission to miss classes
- College students are expected to make adult decisions, are held responsible for these decisions and must be accountable for poor decisions
- College students receive an entirely new set of peers -- from roommates to dorm-mates to classmates
- In college, you can create a new, fresh identity for yourself: this can pose as many problems as it offers benefits
- Many students attend college in a new state or section of the country, which can expose them to cultural differences
- Many students experience loneliness and awkwardness as they attempt to establish their college identity and form new relationships
- This process can be slow, time-consuming and oftentimes discouraging
Students also quickly learn that college is expensive and budgets must be managed, that there is significantly more homework, that attendance is their responsibility, that it’s harder to stand out in college classes and that there are fewer grades and fewer opportunities for feedback than they experienced in high school. We must honor the challenges our students are going through as they navigate this transition and offer the insight and support they need to overcome such adversity.
College Success Plan helps its students by promoting accountability, by encouraging flexible thinking and by supporting students in being proactive wherever possible. College will inevitably challenge a student’s will-power, self-control and self-esteem, and our Mentors feel privileged to act as coaches and confidants during this trying time.
If your student is struggling with the adjustments of college life, please reach out to College Success Plan to learn more about how we can help!