Off to College in the Fall?

If you’re like many seniors, you’ve chosen the place where you’ll be spending most of the next four years of your life. Great job!


Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Here is wisdom. College is not high school with ashtrays.

What do I mean by that? The skills that got you into college may not carry you through college. How do I know this? I was in your shoes. If you know me well, then you know that I was an abysmal student my freshman year of college. What happened? For starters, I was fortunate. Without too much effort, I finished in the top fifth of my high school graduating class — 23rd out of 116 if you’re curious.

However, I was completely unprepared for college rigor. I thought I could wait until the night before to study for a test, or worse… “look at” my notes moments before the professor was handing out the test. And what the heck were these blue books? I learned what “writing a test” meant. I was a woefully unprepared writer. I encourage you all to write more. Journaling is helpful.

Few American high schools can adequately prepare students for the rigors of college-level courses. There are many distractions in high school that limit protracted anxiety of rigorous conditions. About half of all students quit college their first year. Why is that? Do these students just not have the band-width to hack it? The answer is a resounding no. Students are plenty capable; they’ve just never experienced high levels of rigor.

As a 17-year old college freshman, I couldn’t believe the professors didn’t take attendance. High school was such a cake walk, I decided I could just skim text books and show up for mid-terms and finals. X (sound Family Feud buzzer) — Wrong answer! Showing up is half the battle at the collegiate level. Never miss a class unless you’re bleeding from your eyes. In fact, if you’re used to missing school, you should know that HS seniors who missed 20+ days of school their senior year are seven times more likely to flunk out of college. Go to class!

Every student accepted to college is capable of great things. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been accepted, right? You’re capable of more than you think, so don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. And if you stumble the first semester, that’s not unusual. Just don’t give up.


  1. Expect college to be WAY more rigorous than high school.
  2. Expect to do a boatload of writing.
  3. Do the required boatload of reading.
  4. Attend class.
  5. You can do it!

What’s your #1 concern about going to college?