"If I Had Known Then....."


The following are excerpts of comments from Northern Cass graduates a year after leaving Northern Cass and their thoughts after their first year of college.  The question posed was this:


           "What was your greatest obstacle in transitioning from high school to college and what advice would you give to a high school junior or senior to help them prepare for this obstacle?"


Hopefully they can provide some insight as to what you can prepare for and/or expect in the years to come as you further your education:


    *   "My greatest obstacle in transitioning from high school to college was the overwhelming workload along with studying for difficult tests.  I strongly advise high school juniors and seniors to continue studying and focus on enhancing their reading and writing literacy skills.  These skills will be important foundations throughout their college academic studies."


   *   "My greatest obstacle transitioning from high school to college was having to study for exams and staying on track with school work after having so much freedom.  My advice to juniors and seniors is keep on top of your homework and keep your grades up.  Learn to manage your time now rather then later.  If you can be involved in something right away, it will be easier to meet people and you will build connections and friendships that will last a lifetime."


   *  "The biggest obstacle when you move from high school to college is time management.  In high school you have one class right after the other and very little choice when you begin or end, but in college you have the choice of that classes you want to take and whn, you have a lot of free time, but you lose the time you work on homework and reading in class.  So, my advice is get your homework done as soon as possible, or a dayh early and then you have all the free time without the worry of homework and classes - and it is a whole lot less stressful."


     *  "My greatest obstacle while transitioning from high school would be going from knowing all my teachers to knowing none of them.  At Northern Cass the relationship I had with my teachers pushed me to be a better student.  If I did poorly on a test or on homework they would explain to me what I did wrong and help me fix my mistakes.  In some cases they would even give me the "I know you can do better" look.  But going into college I didn't have that relationship with any of my professors.  My best advice for anyone going into college would be to get to know your professors.  They will not only help you with the class but they can also help you in the future."


     *  "My greatest obstacle was time management.  In high school I could go to the basketball games or hang out with my friends and get my homework done the next morning.  In college, if I want to do well, I have to sit down and take my time with my assignments instead of going to an event.  My advice would be to remember what's more important.  You passed high school and now you are working towards a career.  What's going to benefit you in the long run?  That party or that class you passed to help get closer to your career?"


     *  "My greatest obstacle transitioning from high school to college was managing money.  In high school, money isn't much of a problem when you have your parents.  My advice - start saving now!  For every paycheck I receive I take out $25.00 regardless and I've seen my finances grow exponentially.  If may be hard at first, but you learn your wants and needs and how to budget with what you have.  It's fun to finally be independent, but independence comes with a high cost."


     *  "My greatest obstacle in transitioning from high school to college was learning how to write scientific papers.  Writing scientific papers is completely different than all other papers assigned in high school.  Unlike the papers written in high school, biology and chemistry papers have to be written more impersonally and must be as straightforward as possible.  My advice to high school juniors and seniors to help them prepare for this obstacle would be to take the hardest writing and sciences classes you can while in high school.  It may seem like a good idea to take easier classes as a junior or senior, but taking the harder classes will help and payoff one you get to college.  I would suggest taking lab write-ups more seriously and putting time and effort into learning how to do them correctly.  Taking the more challenging English classes helps with your overall writing, which is necessary to succeed in all you classes once in college.  I would also suggest when looking at colleges to ask about writing center tutoring services.  These services are normally free on campus and are beneficial when writing your paper.  Once in college then you can take time to have someone go through your paper with you to make sure it's written correctly, and it will help you transition into college-level writing easier.


     *  "My greatest obstacle is transitioning from high school to college was moving from a small classroom to giant lecture halls with 400+ students.  I would encourage high school juniors and seniors to focus on their work and not let the number of students bother them."


     *  "I was not ready to study as much as I needed to.  I would recommend that you are willing to put as much time to studying as possible."


     *  "Advice I would give to a high school senior on his/her way to college is to manage your time.  The work load of a college student is immensely larger than those of a high school student and if you don't effectively manage your time is will be hard to be successful."


     *  "The greatest obstacle for me was figuring out how to learn in a class with almost 200 people when I was used to classes with less than 20 people.  My advice would be to learn study skills as soon as possible so the transition isn't so difficult.  You do not get as much one-on-one attention as in high school, so need to learn on your own sometimes."


     *  "The greatest obstacle transitioning from high school to college was not having your normal network of friends.  The first few weeks were hard to meet new people, then eventually you get the hang of it and you meet some people and you start building a new network.  My advice to high schoolers in your junior or senior year would be to get involved and stay involved in college."


     *  "My greatest obstacle was learning how to spend my free time.  You have to learn how much time you use for hanging out with friends or other things.  There has to be time for studying, even when you think you have all the time in the world."


     *  "My greatest obstacle was being 3 hours from family, friends, and my home.  Some advice to prepare for an obstacle like this is to keep in touch with those back home but don't allow this to hold you back from meeting new friends.  Hanging out with new friends helps immensely to take your mind off of home, and you can start building a support system of friends there at college."


     *  "Transitioning from high school into college is difficult in many ways, because you don't have that direst support of your parents.  This can be difficult sometimes because you are completely on your own.  When you are at home, your parents are able to check on you to see if you are completing your homeowrk and getting it in on time, they also have access to your grades whenever they want.  Being in college and not living in your parent's house anymore it is easier to skip out on those assignments and class.  Class is not mandatory anymore either, so you can go whenever you feel like it.  College is all about you, and making those decisions about what you want to accomplish in your future.  If you decide to not go to classes that you are paying for, it is only your responsibility now.  You are paying for these classes, and it you don't go then you retake then next semester hoping you can pass them.  The hard part is realizing that in high school you had to be there, and you were learning the whole time about things that will help you throughout your college experience, and when you get to college you don't have to be there and the professors don't want you there is you don't want to be there.  The biggest thing I could tell students getting ready for their college experience would be to know what you want to do, and make sure you have the right mindset about being there.  If you aren't ready to become an adult and start working for your future don't waste professor's time, because they will not put up with students that don't want to be there.  Make sure you want to be there for you, and not because that's what is expected of you."


     *  "The greatest obstacle in transitioning from high school to college was that teachers don't usually tell you when assignments are due.  You are expected to know that and hand it in yourself.  I would suggest having a planner to keep track of due dates and any other important dates."


     *  "My biggest obstacle was balancing time between school, student organizations, and work.  All three play a big role in career advancement.  Diciding the best balance of the three is difficult.  My advice to high school students:  research your school and plan to get involved ourside of class.  There are many other educational opportunities."


     *  "The greatest obstacle I had transitioning from high school to college was adjusting to college life.  There are no study halls or advisory periods to do your homework anymore.  Ther are many parties that one wants to attend.  The best advice I have for a senior is focus on your studies first, then go have your college life.  College life is a great experience and should be had by all, but don't make college longer that it has to be."


     *  "My greatest obstacle going into college was finding a new and effective way of studying.  It is not enough to must memorize the material, you have to be able to understand all the component and know how to apply them to the questions you are asked."


     *  "The hardest part for me right away was staying organized but I feel I have gotten it down pretty good now.  My advice to a high school student would be to make sure you have a planner full of all your important due dates like test, papers, quizzes, etc. because you'll be responsible for knowing all those on your own."


     *  "The two biggest things I could tell a junior or senior would be:  1) learn how to study for tests and 2) make new friends.  Friends and people within your field of study, they are your greatest asset in college life."


     *  "My biggest obstacle for the transition was the overwhelming amount of free time and limited graded homework.  Because of this, you are very tempted to slack off no matter how hard you try to concentrate."


     *  "College is one thing high school seniors look forward to the most after high school.  These young adolescents dream of a world of staying out late, sleeping in, haveing no restrictions, and being parent free.  This however is not the case.  College is not a world of partying and having fun, but rather a difficult challenge of passing classes, keeping up with homework, and struggling to keep them off the freshman fifteen.  In order to keep these things in check, students need to have self-discipline and self-motivation.  Graduating high school and transitioning into a college freshman requires a great deal of personal responsibility.  Acquiring this personal responsibility is one of the things I found most challenging to cope with my first year as a college freshman.  Professors require a lot out of their students and do not really have exception for laziness or incomprehension.  It is the student's own responsibility to understand the material, get the assignments done, and study on their own time.  They also have to show up to class regularly, for it is important to show how a student is committed and dedicated to the class.  Additionally, since college classes aren't scheduled all day as in high school, it is hard to focus on studies when students have their television and computer games waiting for them in their dorm rooms after classes.  This causes students to lose focus and ultimately not want to give effort to their homework.  My tips for personal success are to first of all get familiar with the campus, professors, and other students.  This way one can feel as if they are not alone when leaving home for the first time.  Additionally, they can get familiar with the staff to find out any preferences or special rules they go by.  Students should also spend their school day as it is in high school, by treating their breaks in the say as a study hall.  This was all homework will be done by the end of the day and they won't have to stress about homework the night before.  Lastly, while trying to keep up academically, students should also find new friends and get out of their comfort zone.  It is fun to meet new people and it iwll also keep students less stressed and less homesick.  I strongly recommend being very organized and punctual, but also have fun.  Students can only be young once and these years can create may enjoyable experiences and memories."