What is the transition like from high school to college?

Answers (10)


Quack Nguyen on August 31st, 2011:

How about a comment from a current freshman who just transitioned?

Well my first thought would most likely be that college is ENORMOUS. Instead of having all your classes in one building, I currently had to run from one end of the campus to the other to make it on time. Being in college, you obtain a LOT more freedom. But even that has its consequences (better time management). In high school the teachers generally bond with you, but in college, I was told to "suck up" to my professors. Thus I had to create the bond (since I will need a letter of recommendation in the future). Already I've been in college for 4 days and I can honestly tell you that it is alot harder to get used to then high school. But then again, it's the next step to your future. That is if you want a successful career.

Allen Gannett on August 31st, 2011:

Awesome answer =]

Ysabelle A. on September 10th, 2011:

That's what I like to hear :D From people who JUST went through it all =)


Austin Adams on September 3rd, 2011:

The transition to college life can be difficult, but I find it much more rewarding than harrowing in the long run.  To begin, you will immediately notice the apparent lack of restriction.  No one will ever again tell you where you can and can't go, or who you can or cannot see.  There is a draw back to this newfound freedom:  lots of empty time.  It's imperative that you keep yourself busy.  Make new friends, join a club, or just keep a good book on hand at all times.  Filling up that empty space at night when you don't have class or urgent assignments is essential to hanging tight for the long haul.  There is this illusion that you have all the time in the world.  You can customize your own schedule and, unless you do it wrong, you will often find large gaps in your agenda or have entire days without classes.  This gives you a relaxed attitude about work and deadlines.  However, getting the hang of finishing your assignments on time without anyone to get on your case is probably the hardest aspect of college life.  While no one can expect you to take the homework home and do it that night, waiting until the night before has never been more dangerous.  Assigments in college can be deceptively involved and you may find yourself with a hefty load and a few short hours to lift it, so to speak.  Finally, it's important to branch out.  Put yourself out there like bait on a line and see who bites.  It's important to make connections quickly so you have someone to back you up when you're down or overwhelmed.  The worst mistake you can make is to try to go it alone.  Only the most hardcore students can hack it like that.  To put it simply, don't bite off more than you can chew, don't put things off too long no matter how tempting it may be, and don't be a loner.  Follow these simple steps and College will be the most liberating and fulfilling experience of your life.  You will discover who you really are, what you really like, and who you really like to such a degree not possible in high school.

Allen Gannett on September 7th, 2011:

A-mazing answer =]


Thomas Frank on August 11th, 2011:

The transition really depends on the person. If you're someone who is already used to managing your time well, the academic change might be just a workload increase and a decrease in class time. If you aren't, you're in for a bit of a shock.

Of course, the other aspects of the transition are much more dramatic; you're on your own and aren't under your parents' wing now. This means you'll feel an increased sense of freedom; however, you may also feel alone or scared. Be sure to seek out campus resources if you need them, and try to meet people right away!


Hilah Z. on August 15th, 2011:

My first advice to all incoming freshman: don’t forget who you are. College will be hard when you hit your first few weeks, but if you remember who you are, the transition will not be that bad. Take it slow. Don’t overwhelm yourself by putting too much on your plate your first semester. Depending on how you did in high school, college classes may not seem that difficult, at first. Just remember to never fall behind on school work. You don’t get free passes or extended deadlines in college. Professors at West Virginia University offer office hours and most departments have tutors for any extra help. If you live in a dorm, make friends with the people on your floor. Building those relationships will bring you a family away from home. You would be surprised to hear that some of them may end up being your best friends’ years after college. Focus on making friends in your major, too. It is always great to know people in your classes for study groups and getting notes if you do miss class. College is not just about studying. Join a campus organization to get involved within your university and community. My first semester I joined the Greek community and it ended up being the best decision I made in college. Stay focused on you, classes, and join a campus organization; the transition to college won’t be that bad.


delete m. on July 27th, 2011:

A lot of people ask about the adjustment from high school to college. In addition, we often receive questions about making friends and selecting classes, and I tell them about my personal experiences. I remind potential students that there is little to be anxious about because everyone is sharing the same new experience when they come to school as freshmen. As long as you come with an open mind, it's going to be easy to make friends and get adjusted. As for tips on adjusting to classes, it's all about time management. Students will have to take initiative to make sure that they're staying on top of assignments and on top of their readings. Study hard now and enjoy the benefits of all your hard work later.

Allen Gannett on August 10th, 2011:

Good answer!


Isabelle J. on August 10th, 2011:

The transition can potentially be stressful, but you have to realize that there are so many other students making that change with you, so you're definitely not alone! With the college scene, there is a ton of freedom as well and at first it can be overwhelming to have so many choices, be able to do so many things, and best of all not having to worry about a bell from class to class. But you definitely have to keep in mind that you're an adult now, and you have to be more responsible for yourself. It's a fun transition, for sure, but you have to recall the seriousness of actually being on your way to finding a career. Good luck! 


Ebehi I. on August 15th, 2011:

Transition is always a challenge, and it may take a while to find your footing around campus. I personally advise getting involved in a few interesting activities on campus, and getting to know more about the school.


Jeff Wolfsberg on August 16th, 2011:

Transition is the most often used word to describe arriving at college, but it's actually the second step, the first is separation.  Separation is often overlooked as an actually step that has a real feel and process to it.  You are separating from what?  Family of course, but also your environment, high school friends, routines, smells, let's face it - all that makes up the "you" you call "you".  The results can be mild or intense as this separation creates a sense of "who am I?"  You want to consider this in light of the common mantra of incoming freshman - where the party at? or "the best four years of your life!"  Both statements are fine, as long as you don't ignore what may also be there which is some grief and sadness.  Not honoring or suppressing those emotions can lead to excessive alcohol use and acting out sexually to create the connection that has been temporarily lost.  So, have fun! Get excited!  But recognize there may be some sadness and grief.  Also recognize that you are "Not" your sadness or grief, but are merely experienceing the emotions of.  Warning signs may be things like drinking or using drugs more than usually or for the first time for some, acting out sexually (inconsistent with your values), blowing off classes, handing in assingments late...etc... Good news is this won't last long if you get out and get connected.  If the feelings persist - go the school's counseling center and ask for help.  The single most important determinant of college success is a student readiness to ask for help.  Good luck!!!

Ysabelle A. on September 10th, 2011:

You made it sound horribly depressing T...T


Melissa Kahn on August 16th, 2011:

Transitioning from high school to college requires a lot of growing up. More than anything, it requires being out of your comfort zone for a little while. But it is only when we are uncomfortable that we are truely growing.I can personally testify to the fact that I achieved more personal growth in my freshman year of college than I have in any other period of my life thus far.

This is an exciting time, so make the most of it! You will cross paths with people who may change your life forever, you will face both beautiful and unfortunate circumstances, but most of all, you will learn things about yourself and about the world that are deeper and more profound than you ever thought possible. 


Taylor Stoltz on August 29th, 2011:

The transition process can either be smooth or difficult; it all depends on your ability to deal with new situations and people. For example: although a lot of friends from high school went to the same school as I did, I lived with a roommate that I did not know well, and moved outside of my comfort zone to meet my suitemates, instead of always hanging out with my high school friends. Now, I have three of the best friends I have ever had and also keep up with my old friends.

On the other hand, a friend of mine was not so prepared for the separation, and now she returns home every weekend because she feels uncomfortable at school.

So, as long as you're willing to help yourself and seek help (as there are resources such as counselors and support groups) that can aleviate the challenge of transitioning, you'll be just fine!

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