Is your graduating senior ready for college? By early 2018, most high school seniors will know the school they’re heading to in the fall, but maybe not what to expect when they get to campus. Many 17 and 18-year-olds enter their freshman year with the mindset that college is all fun and games with some studying in between. However, seniors should know these 4 things for a successful higher education experience.

Four college students walking across the campus green 1. College Requires Responsibility

Throughout the years of schooling before college, students have their parents and teachers to remind them of homework and after-school activities. When freshmen get to college, their professors expect them to be autonomous in and out of the classroom. If you have a question, raise your hand; when reading is assigned, you complete it on time; if you have a sports game the night before a test, find the time to study; etc. In college, if you do not hand in your research paper on time, the classic “dog ate my homework” excuse likely won’t fly!

2. Time Management Is Key

From clubs to sports teams and student council positions, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved on campus. However, when juggling five to six classes and trying to make friends, many college freshmen find themselves strapped for time. Rather than taking on too much and letting your grades suffer, make sure you develop good time management skills. Create a schedule around your academic commitments and, if time permits, add the activities that interest you.

3. Your Choice of Major Does Matter

Many students enter their first year of college undeclared. While there is no problem with not knowing your desired career path, the sooner you figure it out the better. Every major has class and credit requirements that must be met to obtain your degree. When you put off the final decision until junior year or keep jumping between majors, you could end up spending more time in school than first anticipated. At the price of tuition today, this can put you in a ton of debt post-graduation. It’s important for students to take the time discover their career interests before they’re forced to “just pick”.

4. Classes Can Be Large

According to the New York Times, the average size of a high school class in our country is about 24 students. Depending on the school you attend, some universities can have class sizes in the hundreds. It’s essential for graduating high school seniors to understand they may not receive the same level of individualized attention during class. Students who find themselves in a lecture hall of 150 must learn to take thorough notes and take advantage of a professor’s office hours for questions before a test.

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