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College Readiness-Is Your Graduating High School Senior Ready to Fly the Nest?

Is Your Graduating High School Senior Ready for College?

Many graduating high school seniors have been preparing for college for years, but how many are truly ready for the rigors of academia and the plunge into independent living? Unfortunately, as many as 50% of incoming students won’t graduate from college, so perhaps some of them need more time and better habits to achieve their goals. As a parent, you may have your own concerns about your child moving on to this next stage of life. Here are some things to consider when you want to assess college readiness for graduating high school seniors.

Mastery of Study Skills

By the time children graduate from high school, they will have developed study habits which may or may not be sufficient for the challenges of college. Students may have spent time reviewing for constant testing which helped them in the short-term but can leave them underprepared for the higher degree of abstract thought. In college, students need to be able to:

  •  Do more than just memorize information
  • Remember a larger volume of more detailed material
  • Be able to delve deeper past the surface to analyze and express ideas
  • Create study guides or outlines to encompass lectures, notes, manuscripts, and other sources
  • Keep up with class reading assignments, podcasts, handouts, and other resources
  • Stay organized without frequent reminders
  • Allot intervals of time for study rather than all-night cramming

It’s exhausting just to think about all that work, isn’t it? Seniors may be tired of high school and ready for the change and freedom that college offers, but not all of them focus on the exhausting workload that awaits them.  If they had an easy senior year because they had a head start on earning credits, they may have gotten away from good study habits. On the other hand, if they worked extremely hard in high school but without the success they would have liked, they should be exposed to some alternative study strategies.

Life Skills for Independent Living

College readiness is more involved than just studying; students also need to be prepared for living independently. If your child managed time well, made good choices, and coped with the stress of high school classes, he or she may be able to transition into a college environment almost seamlessly.  To help you assess, ask yourself or your graduating high school senior some of these questions:

  • Did your student apply for college independently? What about completing financial aid forms? Did he or she write and edit application essays?
  • Does your child ask for help? Can he or she determine the who, what, where, when, and why of seeking assistance?
  • Can he or she manage time wisely, especially if there is no clear routine established? Is there any difficulty with focus or staying on task?
  • How organized is your child? Is there a consistent issue with losing assignments or turning in work after deadlines?
  • What about your child’s ability to handle mistakes, missed objectives, or criticism? Is your child emotionally ready for the challenge?
  • How well can your student attend to personal needs, such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, managing money, and other “adult” responsibilities? Do they have a basic understanding of emergency preparedness or do they rely on parents or other adults to solve conflicts and fix problems?

You should not expect your child to be able to handle every aspect of adult life without a learning curve. However, if you think that these skills are not where they need to be, you may want to help your child gain more independence and confidence before they go to college. A student who feels prepared and self-assured will be able to face challenges for college and adulthood, so that they will be one of the 50% of college students who do earn their degree.

 Carolina Academy for Educational Excellence