College is the first time that you get to experience life as an adult. Coming straight from high school, taking classes at the university level can feel overwhelming at first. Living on campus may also present its own set of challenges for those used to living with their parents. What are some ways that teenagers can get themselves ready for the academic and social changes that college presents to them?
Take Advanced Placement Courses in School
An advanced placement course is taught by a high school teacher, but the course is taught much in the same way that a college course would be. Classes usually meet two or three times a week until April or May of a given school year. It generally concludes with a final exam similar to one that a college professor may give.
Learning how to write a paper on a weekly or monthly basis forces students to learn how to communicate in a concise yet thorough manner. Additionally, teachers may assign lengthy readings that may be more than what a student has typically had to complete in a day or week. While advanced placement courses may feel daunting at first, they give an accurate representation of what college is like, and it may be great practice for those looking to do well at the next level. Depending on how well you do on your final exam, you may receive college credit, and if you take enough courses, you could graduate up to a semester early.
Spend Some Time Living away from Home
If you plan on living in a dorm, you will need to learn how to deal with strangers and their quirks. In some cases, you may be stuck living with someone who may not have the same sleep schedule, fondness for hygiene, or fondness for keeping their living area clean. Therefore, it may be a good idea to practice living away from home for a short period of time. This may be done either by going to a summer camp or by going on a mission with a local youth group. You may also decide to go on a road trip with your friends or backpack through Europe or South America if you can afford to do so.
Take Classes Online from Home
Homeschooling may be an effective way to learn the study and organizational skills that you will need in college. There are many different homeschool options available these days, and their curriculum is equal to that of public school. As an online program may not have a set schedule each day, you will have to learn how to complete assignments or perform other tasks without the same structure that you have in school. Learning how to create your own routine will be essential when it comes to doing well in college, and those skills may be developed by taking classes at an online public school.
Start Taking Classes over the Summer
Once you have graduated from high school, it may be a good idea to start taking college classes. Even if you only take a 100 level course, it will get you used to what you need to do to excel during college. Taking classes online the summer after you graduate also gives you a head start on everyone else, and it may allow you to graduate sooner. Graduating sooner may make it easier to start working and earning money to pay off those student loans.
The best way to prepare for your future is to make the most of your college experience. Getting good grades and learning how to forge relationships with others will be key to improving your career prospects. While you can have fun during your time in college, your focus should be on getting the most value for the investment you make in your education.