How to Prepare for the Transition to College

How to start college right

Understanding the Transition

The transition from high school to college can be a challenging experience for many students. It’s not that there’s a significant leap in the difficulty of the classwork or projects but, it’s more so the nature of college itself that can cause problems.

Up to this point, from elementary school through high school, much of the educational experience has been the reinforcement of following social-emotional rules and expectations successfully. You are ushered to class, letters are sent home if homework is missing, your parents are involved every step of the way, etc. In college you’re responsible for getting to class on time, no professor will send letters home if you’re missing homework, you have to find a way to study that works for you, and ultimately you’re in the driver’s seat, not your parents. 

Fortunately, many of these changes are gradual, and as long as you stay willing, you’ll grow and adapt to them. While some of these changes come with time and having to learn them, we’ve still got some solid tips for preparing for the transition to university life.

Tips for Preparing for College

Practice Time Management

Whether it’s getting to class on time, ensuring you’re working efficiently on assignments, or testing well, college requires excellent time management skills. Start practicing now by setting goals, creating schedules, and prioritizing tasks. Develop the discipline to stick to your schedule and avoid procrastination.

Build Good Study Habits

Developing good study habits is essential for college success. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that each individual student discovers on their own in school. However here are some of our top tips:

  • Take Handwritten Notes
    • The freedom to take notes on a tablet or laptop may feel great and time-consuming but it’s proven that taking notes by hand improves information retention since you’re spending more time writing the content down.
  • Self-test, Take Practice Quizzes, & Flashcards
    • Find some way to quiz yourself on the information because when you study the information as a question, you’re learning it the way it’ll appear on tests and exams. Over on Numerade we just so happen to have a handy tool for creating custom practice quizzes 👀👀👀.
  • Email the Professor or Ask a Classmate
    • Sometimes students struggle on picking up the info or learning a concept on the first pass and that’s totally understandable. Take advantage of your professor’s office hours and get an in-depth explanation in private or make some friends in the class and ask!

Adjusting to College Life

Be Open-Minded

Aristotle didn’t actually say this (he was misquoted by Lowell Bennion, an American sociologist) but it is a good quote to keep in mind as you enter college:

“It is the mark of an intelligent mind to entertain and understand a new idea without having to accept it”.

College is a time for exploration and growth. Be open to new experiences, ideas, and perspectives. Be patient with those around you and actively practice kindness as you embrace diversity and learn from others.

Attend Orientation

Orientation is designed to help you adjust to college life and learn about campus resources. In addition, you’ll also meet other students and get a feel for the academic and social atmosphere of the school.

Take Advantage of Resources

Colleges and universities offer a variety of resources to help students succeed. One of the best resources is your academic advisor. Any concerns related to your time in college should be raised to them because chances are they’ll either be able to handle it or know who to send you to. Also, take advantage of tutoring, career services, and any other resources your college offers.

Manage Stress

College can be stressful and at times overwhelming but the good news is that you won’t be the first or last student to feel that way while attending university. There are tons of helpful and free resources online to help you manage stress. We’d definitely recommend finding your campus’ mental health services, seeking help from your advisor, as well as engaging in exercise, meditation, and refining those time management skills. 

The Wrap-Up

Preparing for the transition to college requires planning, preparation, and commitment. By following these tips and developing good habits and skills, you can successfully transition to college life. Remember to stay focused, stay motivated, and never stop learning.


  • Rob Shield

    Rob Shield is based out of Columbus, Ohio. As Numerade's copywriter, Rob uses their extensive background in education to inform and shape the topics and content posted to the blog for educators, parents, and students alike.