Transitioning from High School to College


  • By: Abbigail Cotton
  • University of West Georgia (Class of 2017)

When I was a high school senior, I was extremely excited and looking forward to the complete college experience. I mean, everyone tells you that a university or college is an exciting place to be. You see it on television, on movie screens, and from family and friends. When I graduated, my heart would pound as I thought of the many unopened books in the library and new technology waiting to be utilized!

Every college graduate would tell me that college is an amazing experience, but I think they left out a few details.

Though I had no problem with excelling in my classes, I found that the transition from high school to college was kind of tough. In high school, I did not take advantage of our school’s dual-enrollment program. Many students that I met in college who took advantage of dual-enrollment were extremely prepared for lectures or fast-paced curriculum. The experience they gained prior to college allowed them to excel without a hassle! And, many of them also graduated early! As I mentioned, I am a scholar. However, I did have to improve my organizational skills to be successful in college. When I refer to organization, I am not referring to that one agenda that sits in the back of your bookbag. I am talking about having your documents filed neatly, your school work in appropriate places, and managing information in an efficient manner. Okay, Okay…the agenda helps. But, if someone would have told me to invest in organizational apps such as Evernote in high school, I am sure my organizational skills would be far more advanced!

I also would have loved for someone to sit down and discuss mental and physical health with me.

As you enroll into your courses, you may think about how you are going to nail every single exam and quiz that comes your way! But, would you also think about eating healthy while studying for these assessments? Or, what about getting appropriate sleep instead of cramming for every exam? The workload in addition to your personal life influences your health both physically and mentally. The good news is that many institutions offer counseling to help manage stress and physical activities that can also be used as an outlet.

The most important detail I realized is that college can be a different experience for everyone. Instead of going for the perfect collegiate career that is seen in movies, strive for the goals and experiences you envision. When I envisioned my own goals, I met numerous great people and took advantage of countless opportunities. Therefore, my advice to you is to make your college experience how YOU want. Don’t be afraid to show your talents, scholarship, and more! But, be sure to manage your life in a healthy and organized fashion! It’ll really be a big help.


About the Author:

Abigail Cotton is an undergraduate student at University of West Georgia. She will receive her Bachelor’s degree with honors in Geography with an environmental sustainability concentration in Fall 2017. She participates in many organizations on campus including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Dean’s Circle, Geographic Information Systems Club, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). After joining NSCS in 2014, Abigail served two full terms as her chapter president and currently serves as the Torch & Laurel liaison for the NSCS’s National Leadership Council.

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