College is different than high school. Not a big news flash, I know. But when it comes to academics, it’s a message that can’t be repeated enough. If you got by in high school with minimal studying, that’s not going to work in college.
I don’t say this to scare you, at all. You shouldn’t feel intimidated by the workload in college, but you need to tackle it in a different way.
When I started college, I was a little thrown by the academic aspect. I did okay, but I definitely wasn’t prepared with great study techniques. You can start preparing yourself now, even if you’re still in high school. It’s all about developing good habits. Here are a few to get you started:
- Be a super time-manager. You probably have a lot to juggle right now, between homework, extracurricular activities and possibly a job. With all these things on your plate, it’s a great time to practice time-management. In college, it’s likely that you’ll have just as much or even more to do. It may not seem that way at first, because you won’t spend nearly as much time in the classroom or at organized activities. In college, you’ll be expected to understand that studying for your English class deserves a certain number of hours per week, and it will be up to you to dedicate that time to your studies. That requires discipline and time-management that you can start building today.
- Take great notes. Note-taking is critical skill to have in college– you may rely more heavily on notes than on your textbook. Practice your note-taking skills now. You don’t have to record each word a teacher says, but practice listening for the highlights and noting important points.
- Review daily. In college, you’ll be taking in so much information that a daily review of your notes should be part of your study routine. Start that practice now, and by college it really will be routine.
- Hone your writing skills. Writing in college really requires that you raise the bar. Work hard on it during high school, and ask your teachers for tips about elevating it to college-level writing.
- Plan for longer test preparation. In high school, many students typically just use the night before a test to study. Plan to amp that up to several nights in college—and you can start the practice now. You don’t have to have a full-blown study session each night, but start your test review with shorter sessions a few nights ahead of time.
If you’re already in college, what study habits do you wish you’d brought to college?