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I want to teach you more about how to have a smooth transition from high school to American college


Congratulations! You just graduated from your high school and have been admitted to an American college. Some of you have planned for the summer break, while some of you are looking forward to the freshmen year in the American college. Naturally, you may wonder what is American college like? Is college more intense than high school? What should I prepare? How can I have a successful college experience?

In fact, colleges and high schools have many differences. (Click here to explore more about the differences.) Knowing these differences will help you smoothly transition from high school to college, especially for an international student like you.

In this article, I will teach you some strategies about how to prepare for studying at American colleges and have a smooth transition from your high school to American college.

1. Improve your English and focus on reading and writing skills.

Many international students will feel overwhelmed after getting into American colleges. The reading assignments are often dense while the essays and papers will be your life in college. Unlike the reading and writing sections in the TOEFL test, they are more academic and rigorous. Thus, if you have achieved outstanding scores in the English fluency test, don’t be proud. You can have more reading and writing practice, and do so daily will make the learning outcome more obvious.

This video will give you an introduction to college reading and writing.

2. Set up a schedule and manage time effectively.

In high school, you have a fixed curriculum: English, math, science, etc. Your schedule is plain: you go to school early in the morning and come back home in the late afternoon. While in college, you can enroll the classes you like or corresponding to your major. In addition, you can choose online classes if you prefer to learn at your place or take asynchronized classes if you want more flexibilities. The key is to make a plan to manage your time and structure your schedule.

First, it’s important to prioritize time for study. College classes have a more intense pace. If you fall behind, it’s more difficult to catch up later. Therefore, you need to focus on studying and finish your assignments on time. Any missing or late work will affect your grades dramatically. In addition, the responsibility for learning shifts from the teacher to the students. It’s imperative to keep self-motivation and self-monitoring. If you are less independent in learning, study with someone who is more self-disciplined.

Second, rest and recreations are also important. Add them to your schedule because they help you study more effectively.

Here are some time-manage tips for college students:

3. Make more friends from various backgrounds and be inclusive.

Your life will refresh once you enter the college. You left the place where you grew up and your parents and friends. Naturally, most international students will feel lonely in the freshmen year. However, it’s an opportunity for you to gain independence and broaden your perspectives. In college, you will meet people from various backgrounds. You can learn from peers and professors with different perspectives shaped by a variety of experiences. The interaction between you and people with different worldviews can help change minds or shape ideas.

Here are some tips to help you build and maintain a cross-culture friendship in college:

  • Get involved on campus or in your community.

  • Help with each other will quickly build friendship.

  • Listen more than talk and remember to respond.

  • Respect their culture, religion, and perspectives.

  • Be honest, be grateful.

Click here for more helpful tips for making friends as an international student.

Remember, the people you spend the most time with will influence you, so choose your friendship wisely. Don’t be afraid of rejecting someone!

4. Be bold and ask for help

Adjusting to a new environment is difficult. International students have to face more challenges while studying in the US, especially in the freshmen year. Students may undertake enormous burden mentally and emotionally. Don’t be driven by those negative factors. Instead, seek help from college and your friends. American college is full of resources: student health center, mental health center, tutoring center, academic counseling office, career center, etc. All you need to do is to visit the office and tell them your concern. Then, you will receive help from professionals or be connected with other experts. Keep in mind, while you are in high school, teachers and parents will take care of you. In college, you need to care for yourself and be responsible for yourself. You are not alone unless you choose to be.

Check here for more college resources.

I hope these strategies will help you have a smooth transition from high school to American college. Enjoy your last summer in your home country!

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