What Every High School Senior Should Read Before College: The Summer Before College

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Make the Most of Your Senior Year

Once you’ve overcome the stress of applying for college and finally been accepted, it can be tempting to lay back and coast for the rest of the year. You should remember that even once you have been accepted, your college will still be receiving progress reports on your grades. While it is unlikely you will let your grades slip enough to have your acceptance revoked (though it is possible), it is important that the institution you are planning to attend maintain a positive view of your credentials. Furthermore, it is equally important to keep your mind and your study skills sharp. If you lose focus during high school, it can be very hard to get back on track when you enter college, and if you don’t retain some of the information from high school classes, you may be struggling to keep up in your college courses.

Use Your Summer Effectively

There are probably lots of things you will want to do during your last summer before entering college: spend as much time as possible with your friends before you all go your separate ways, work to earn some extra money for school and college fun, travel. These are all important and worthwhile things to do. You should have fun during this summer, but don’t forget to look ahead to your upcoming freshman year.

Stay current on all of the correspondence from your college. Make sure you fill out any required forms and read any news and information that they send to you. You may even get a course catalog and have the opportunity to register for classes. Make sure you take the time to carefully peruse this and get a good idea of the kinds of classes you would like to take as well as those you will be required to take. Knowing what to expect will ease your stress level when you begin your classes. If you receive a housing assignment and contact information for a new roommate, take the time to write an email or letter to introduce yourself. You will feel a lot more comfortable coming into a new living situation if you have some idea what to expect, and if you are comfortable in your living situation you will have a much easier time adjusting to your academic workload.

Expect to Have to Work Harder

No matter how well you did in high school, you have to expect that college will present a much greater academic challenge. If you take humanities or social science classes, you will likely have a tremendous amount of reading to do and higher expectations from professors in terms of the quality of your writing. Do your best to manage your time, so that you can spread out your work during the course of the week. Don’t be afraid to avail yourself of the campus writing center or other resources that your college may offer to help you get writing and studying on the college level.

Realize That You’re Not Alone

College is an exciting and frightening transition for everyone. While you may feel overwhelmed, recognize that your peers are going through the same thing. While you’re having fun, you can still help your friends stay on track academically with weeknight study groups and library fieldtrips. Offer to proofread papers or help your friends study for exams and they will do the same for you. Encourage your friends to keep a balance between fun, activities, and academics, and don’t be afraid to ask upperclassmen for advice about staying on top of work and the kinds of expectations that different professors and departments will have. If you isolate yourself, you will have a much harder time staying sane and getting the most out of your college experience. Try to strike a balance as best you can, and you and your friends can all succeed while still having fun.