The Transition from High School to College: A Terrifying but Manageable Change

Transitioning to college can be a tremendous transition for high school students. From living in a new environment to having all new classes, college is a change for all. Read more to learn advice from college students and hear them reflect on the differences between high school and college.

By Hallie Gordon

Living away from home, making new friends, and having completely new teachers and classes are just some of the challenges that make the transition to college overwhelming for many. This change can seem very difficult in the beginning, but all it takes is a few weeks to get into the rhythm of this new lifestyle. I interviewed some college Freshmen to help demystify the realities of the first semester of college. 

The workload can vary greatly from high school to college. Leah Weinfeld, a BHHS graduate who attends Tulane University, shares that there definitely is a bigger workload in college. While there can be an abundance of work, Leah shares that “One good thing about work in college is that a lot of the assignments are long term, so it’s easier to complete them over time, rather than getting it all done in one night.” Caroline Kelly, a student at Cornell and BHHS alumnus, also explains that she experienced an increase in long term assignments. This influences how she manages her time and prompts her to do her assignments differently than she did in high school. Ben Gordon, a student at the University of Texas Austin, states that, “There is no one truly watching over you, so you need to learn to plan your time.”

It is crucial in college to find a balance between the heavy workload and social activities. Ben feels that this can be arduous at times because he can get sidetracked by his friends who are on a different schedule than him. Ben suggests creating a list of things he wants to get done, and then hanging out with friends as a reward. Leah highlights the fact that she only has classes for about three hours each day, which gives  her a lot more free time to complete assignments and join clubs. 

The best people to take advice from are the ones who have already gone through the experiences you will have. Caroline emphasized that “It is okay to be confused because everyone around you is just as confused. I’d also say to make the most of it; take risks.” Some ideas include taking a class you wouldn’t normally take, asking a new friend to lunch, or making sure to reach out for academic help. Leah suggests taking classes that you find interesting. She feels that, “This helps you get a better idea of what you enjoy learning about and it makes doing the classwork a lot easier if you actually like what you’re learning!” She also advises future college students to take advantage of office hours and to build relationships with their professors. Lastly, Ben recommends getting to know new people by joining clubs. 

I hope that this information and advice can assuage some of the stress that comes along with the transition to college. Please take advantage of this advice from a firsthand perspective to help make the most of your college experience!