Students often believe that getting accepted into college is the biggest challenge they will face in their college lives. They soon realize that they must adjust to increased expectations from faculty, develop strategies to meet greater academic demands, and learn how to manage the new found freedoms of college.
Many students experience difficulties transitioning from high school to college because they are unaware of the expectations placed on them and aren’t equipped with strategies for success on campus. In one study on the topic, college students reported they had to change their “high school ways to college ways” in order to meet the demands of college.
Although all students face difficulties, research suggests that first-generation college students might have a more difficult time adjusting to college because their parents do not have first-hand experience dealing with the demands of college life. Although the following supportive strategies might be relevant to all parents, they might be particularly helpful for parents who do not have any college experience.
We conducted a study holding group interviews with an ethnically diverse group of students (36.4% White, 40.9% Hispanic, and 22.7% Black) attending a public university in Texas. We asked students to talk about strategies they used to achieve success during their first year in college.
Upon arrival at college, many students reported feeling prepared to do well academically, but found that they had underestimated the amount of work necessary to be successful. Other students reported that the ways in which they studied in high school were no longer effective in college.
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