Transitioning from High School to University!
Updated: Aug 17
Written by: Alan David
I’m sure at one point you’ve all heard the following statement :
“The jump from high school to university is huge”. This statement is true, and study strategies that may have proven successful in high school may not prove to be useful in university. However, there are several things you can do to help smoothen the transition to post-secondary education.
Work on your typing speed - Unlike, in high school, most of the professors speak very quickly, and with large class sizes, won’t take the time to make sure every student has finished taking notes before moving on. This means that writing by hand may not always be a feasible option during lectures. If you’re like me and type rather slowly, I recommend working on your typing skills and getting your words per minute up. Doing this lets you keep up with the professor, so you don’t miss any content.
Come to class early - Most first-year classes are very large (200-400 people), so if you want to get good seats, you should come to class at least 10 minutes before starting. Doing this will not only get you good seats, but it will give you the opportunity to ask the professor a quick question if needed.
Look over the lecture/lab content before attending - If possible, looking over the professor’s slides before attending class is a great way to increase your ability to retain information during the lecture. This will reduce the amount of time needed to brush up on the content, so...do it! Doing this is especially important for labs. Three hours to do a lab may seem like a lot of time, but it really isn’t if you don't know what you’re doing. Read! Read! Read!
Keep up with the content - In university, there is no one who will chase you down to do your work. It is your responsibility to keep up with the course load. It is a lot harder to cram the content in university than it may have been in high school. This is due to the sheer amount of content that you need to know. It is recommended that you spend a few hours on each course a week, in order to ensure the best possible results on exams.
Keep track of deadlines- Unless you have an excellent memory, it may be difficult to track all your deadlines without some form of planner. Keeping track of all your events will make sure you’ll never miss a deadline for an assignment, exam, or event.
Make the most out of your daily commute - For those of you who do not live on campus, you will likely be relying on public transit to make it to campus. This is the perfect time to get some work done rather than doing nothing. This includes reading over the lecture, listening to a professor’s podcast, or any form of studying in general.
Take advantage of office hours - Office hours were created for professors to help students with any issue or concern they may have regarding course content, but many students are hesitant to access them. Though it can definitely be intimidating to approach your professor, especially as a first-year, your professor is there to help you - so let them! Not only will this help you better understand your courses, which in turn can improve your grades, it will also help your professor to remember you (which can be helpful if you ever need a reference).
Find or make a study group - Sometimes your best resource to help understand course content can be your peers. By finding other students in your class who are having the same difficulty, you can bounce ideas off of each other and learn together in order to succeed. This doesn’t only help your grades, it can provide you with long-lasting relationships that can in turn enhance your university experience.
Join clubs or extracurriculars - Though it may seem like it, university is NOT all about grades and academics. Without a balance between social life and school, you won’t be able to truly succeed in university. Joining a club that you’re truly passionate about can ensure that you’re taking care of your mental health as much as your academics, and will also be a great addition to your resume.
These strategies can be used in order to minimize academic struggles in university. There is no doubt that university is a hard transition, and there is no shame in looking for help. Though it may seem like your first year will define your entire university experience, remember that that is not the case: there is always room for improvement.