Everyone handles the transition from high school to college differently. But whether you’re a first-generation student or a legacy, traveling to another state or living at home, you’ll need to take on more responsibility and be more independent than in high school.

Managing Time

In college, your days are not as routine and predictable as they were in high school. You might be in class just a few hours a day. Some students struggle with their newfound freedom. You’ll be expected to make your own schedule and keep up with your classes, activities and work.

Academic Expectations

You might fall behind if you simply maintain the level of effort that got you through high school. Plan on studying two to three hours outside class for every hour in class. Don’t expect your professor to seek you out if you aren’t doing well. It is up to you to find resources and to ask for help.


Your parents will not be there to wake you in the morning. Your professors won’t make sure you are keeping up with required reading and assignments. It is your responsibility to follow the class syllabus. Sometime the syllabus is the only notification you’ll receive about quizzes and assignments.


You had years to get comfortable with your high school friends. Be patient, because new friendships take time to develop. Your relationships with your family will change, too, as you move closer to adulthood. You might find yourself feeling homesick. If that’s the case, stay in regular touch with family and friends to keep those old connections strong, even as you dive into campus groups and activities to make new connections.


Education Empowers: What I Wish Someone Told Me About College

Advice from First-Generation students and students of color about what to expect when making the transition to college.