The Secret to Being Successful In College

Sophia Stoll dropped out of college twice, and never finished. She was a student recently out of high school at the time and decided she wanted to go to college, like most kids. By the time she was in her junior year of college, she realized that the classes she took in college were not classes she needed for the area she wanted to get a job in, so she dropped out and worked odd jobs. A while after she dropped out, she decided to go back, this time at a different school. She soon found out that her credits from her previous college had not transferred, so she dropped out again, according to Nona Willis Aronowitz’s article on NBC News. A recent study shows that Sophia Stoll’s case is surprisingly common and happens more often than people expect.

Other studies show that the majority of high school seniors are not ready for college. According to Lauren Camera’s article on US News, only about 37% of students are college-ready. The study used thousands of students from about 740 different schools and based these results off of how the student performed on 2 math and reading tests. One test was in 2013 and the other was in 2015. You might ask yourself, “What does this have to do with me?” and it might not apply to you if you don’t decide to go to college, but let’s ask ourselves what we can do to better prepare for college.

What’s the big deal?

Students in high school are generally not ready for the entry-level classes in college, specifically math, reading, science, and english. Everything done in school in today’s world is to better prepare you for a job and real life, but some students aren’t ready for college, let alone going into the real world right away. If students were ready for college, this would better show them what is of importance in today’s world and what can be pushed aside. According to Allie Bidwell’s article on US News, “Of the 1.8 million graduates that took the ACT in 2013, only 26% reached the college readiness benchmarks in all four subjects. Another 27% met two or three of the benchmarks, and 16% met just one.”


(Kaboompics on Pixabay)

What makes a student college-ready?

According to David T. Conley from ASCD, what makes a student college-ready is based on four major areas that colleges use more than high school.

Cognitive Strategies

Unlike high school, colleges expect students to analyze information based on what they learn. If students apply the information they learn to life situations, they are more likely to succeed because they can figure out and analyze things that they learned in class to solve problems or answer questions that were not directly said in class.

Content Knowledge

There have been several studies in certain subjects based on the course outline to see what skills students should take advantage of in order to succeed in college. All of the results were very similar. They all showed big ideas, key concepts, and organization tips to do well in a certain subject, showing that it is important that students make connections with the things they learn to understand it better. The structure of academics is something students need to understand well in order to succeed.

Self-Management Skills

In order to do well in college, students need to develop a variety of self-management skills. Students get an overwhelming amount of homework each day, especially in college. This means that students need to figure out what kind of organizational skills work for them. They also have to prioritize different things, usually based on due dates. Taking notes in class is another self-management skill that a lot of students do not feel great about but need to do in order to do well in class. Another thing that students need to learn to do is to be able to study in groups or ask for help from somebody if needed. Many students in high school do not think that time management is important nor do they want to do the work needed to succeed.

Knowledge About Post-Secondary Education

Students need a tremendous amount of knowledge about post-secondary education. Some examples include choosing a major based on your interests, understanding financial aid so that you know how and when to complete the appropriate forms, taking the right exams, applying for college, and even understanding that college is completely different from high school. High schools should offer more information about college and if students would like, a class that would introduce them more actively to college and how hard entry-level courses are.

(The ACT Test on YouTube)

How can I make myself college-ready as a student in high school?

In order for students to be better prepared for college and beyond, students should be required to take a college readiness class in high school. I believe that having students take this class will show them that what they learn in school is actually going to help them later in life, even if it does take more work. If a school does not offer a class like this, take other actions. Some examples, as said on Big Future, are to…

  • Talk to your counselor as to what classes colleges look for when choosing a person to be at their college
  • Take college-prep classes in a variety of subjects
  • Choose challenging courses
  • Ask for help if needed
  • Make sure you have time to do your schoolwork
  • Take advantage of any classes your high school offers in skills (taking notes, studying, researching)
  • Stay focused

(Post by KelliB. Featured Image by StockSnap on Pixabay)

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