How To Prepare New College Freshman For Academics and Life On-Campus

As you may have read in the media, like this from the Washington Post, most high school students are dramatically unprepared for life as a college student.  There are 3 weak-spots that standout as key indicators of a coming struggle in the first year(s) college.  First, as per the ACT survey of Educators: your high school faculty and staff are telling you that your child is well-prepared, but the truth is much different. Only 26% of college professors believe that their students are well or very-well prepared for college-level academic work!!  In practice, even less than that 26% are actually studying efficiently and achieving grades equal to their talents. Contrast that with what your high school teachers and staff think: 89% of their students are well prepared for college-level academic work.



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This is a huge problem that has been boiling under the surface for years and is absolutely not confined to low-achievers or underprivileged students. Dr. Shumsky found the exact same to be true during his years as a professor at Northwestern University and The University of Virginia, two of America’s elite undergraduate programs.


Secondly, most incoming college freshmen do not know how to manage their time and energy absent the structure of high school life.  Without the guidance of teachers, Mom and Dad, and a highly regimented routine, most new college students will struggle to get their responsibilities and assignments completed in a timely and efficient manner. Going further, less than 5% of entering freshmen know how to successfully manage their well-being and maintain healthy routines, habits, and states of mind without constant encouragement from parents, friends, and teachers.  College life will likely provide very little support structure for entering freshmen. It’s up to the student to create a well-functioning life on his or her own.

Finally,  most entering college students have no idea about how they fit into the purpose and function of a college or university from an academic standpoint.  Very few entering freshmen will understand the design of major academic sectors (hard sciences, social sciences, arts, applied majors, humanities, etc.) and the general education curriculum.  Only a small fraction of new college students have a strong grip on their talents, learning styles, and preferred working/studying environments.  Even though a huge cultural/parental emphasis has been placed on majors, career paths, and earning/employability, most new college students do not know how to differentiate between academic areas, nor have given any real consideration to how their prospective major leads to their desired outcome in terms of graduate school or a job. 

This is the crisis that parents and their children are facing.  This is the reason that 6-year college graduation rates are in the +/- 65% range for students from upper income households and far lower for less-wealthy college kids. This is the origin of the unemployment/underemployment wave that has crushed the earnings of recent college grads.  And despite all of the prospective pitfalls, there is a simple solution to this problem.  You can get your child prepared for what awaits him or her this fall. Click here for the details on our summer course in appropriate preparation for college.



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