8 Myths – Transition from High School to College

8 myths - transition from high school to college

8 myths – transition from high school to college

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal strategies to help parents assist their child’s transition from high school to college, and, smash the 8 college myths.

First a quick update:

“Legal Marijuana encourages drug abuse for teens?”
Miley Cyrus sings about ecstasy and cocaine. Is she simply glamorizing drugs to teens? What is beneath most drug addiction? Watch the interview with Aaron Huey (a recovering addict) who runs Fire Mountain Sober Living Home for Teens about legal marijuana and how parents can protect teens from drug addiction.

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“Ariel Castro rape victims set free as his house is torn down”
Watch the TV interview about the emotional and psychological significance for the rape and kidnap victims as they watch the house of horrors literally be torn down and demolished.

Now, let’s talk about strategies to help parents assist their child’s transition from high school to college, and, smash the 8 college myths.

Over 21 million students enroll in colleges across the US each year.

About 7 million drop out in the first year, and of those 7 million, the majority don’t make it past the first 6 weeks.


They fail in the transition because of a lack of preparation for a new challenge, and unrealistic expectations – academic, social, and personal expectations.

The biggest mistake that students enrolling in college make is over-confidence, created by the myth and misconception that college will simply be an extension of high school.

It is not.

So how is it different?

Here are 8 myths about the transition from high school to college:

1. “I will have a large support team”
In high school this is true with counselors and various teachers and faculty able to track a student’s academic progress as well as offer feedback. Your high school has a vested interest to ensure you succeed – their pass rates are critical to their future and often, academic standardization occurs.

College reality:
You have to manage your own academic independence.

Also, the faculty cannot and don’t have the same time as high school teachers to give to you; many professors are part time, adjunct or involved in research projects and therefore, they have limited time. They won’t have time or possibly interest to get to know you personally or to tell you when you are not doing well in their courses.

2. “My reading and comprehension skills are adequate enough for college”
In high school, there is often plenty of time to read textbooks and little is expected in the way of the amount of texts and chapters to be read.

College reality:

You have to be prepared to read a lot of material in a short time and, of course, glean and comprehend the key points.

Sometimes, you will be expected to read 15 – 20 chapters of textbooks before the next class. Additionally, you will be asked to do extra readings from handouts as well as complete research papers.

You will need to develop special reading skills for college!

3. “I did well in high school so I will do will in college class”
You got into college because you did well in high school.

College reality:
The teaching styles are very different in college. You won’t be able to skip class the way you might have in high school without it impacting your results and comprehension: Most instructors don’t follow text books and what they teach is often included in the mid-term or final exams. So if you miss classes, you miss out on learning the critical information and lessons.

Professors, teacher’s assistants and other instructors teach very quickly and you must learn to take notes. Note-taking is almost a compulsory art in college. Some classes and lectures can be 3-hours long and therefore note taking is critical. Even if you record the class, you won’t have time to listen back to the full 3 hours.

You will need to become accustomed to teacher’s assistants – they often also teach classes and they grade tests and papers.

Also, be prepared to create a strategy to study for an exam on 8 weeks of lectures and 20 chapters of textbook reading – and then multiply that by the number of classes you take.

4. “I was great at learning and memorizing important facts and figures. And I got A’s throughout high school, so why should college be any different?”
High schools grade you using different criteria to colleges. The workload is light in high school compared to college.

College reality:
The workload is much higher in college. And as mentioned above, more reading is expected, and, in a very short period of time. It is much harder to score an A in college and the average strong scores are grades of B’s and C’s. Also, colleges seek and encourage independent thinkers (within limits) not people who simply memorize other people’s ideas and texts. In other words, often, a powerful memory can get you by in high school but not in college where you are also expected to come up with more of your own ideas (again, within limits – college professors expect students even at the PhD level to present what they want to hear or read.)

5. “I can do it on my own; I won’t need outside help”
That might have worked in high school but beware of your ego.

College reality:
No matter how bright you are, be prepared that you will need help. Consider joining a study group, seek out additional tutors and speak to your professor or teacher’s assistant as soon as you begin to encounter problems. Don’t wait till you fail before you realize you need to ask for help.

6. “I breezed through high school; it will be easy and I will have lots of time to play and attend parties”

College Reality
Expect stress! You will be challenged by a lack of time for reading, studying, handing in assignments and attending classes.

7. “I am naturally self-disciplined”
High school requires less self-discipline because people will come after you when you fail to attend classes or hand in your work.

College reality:
You will need to engage self-discipline and create new daily study habits to ensure that you prepare for every class and attend every class. Suggestion: study at the same time every day as a way to create a positive habit. Accept and expect that you will feel frustrated, helpless and even hopeless at times when you feel overwhelmed.

You will also need to create a plan and schedule for regular exercise for recreation, and as a way to relieve stress.

8.  “My relationship with my family won’t change”

College Reality:
You will be away from your family for long periods of time; expect that you will miss your siblings and your parents. They will also change towards you – maybe they will miss you more or expect more of you. They might put more pressure on you to perform – particularly if they are paying for your tuition!

Finally, you will also need to prepare yourself for the extraordinary expectations of college traditions and rituals as well as dealing with new relationships – romantic and social bonds that might last a lifetime if handled properly.

Sit down and speak with your parents about your future. And parents: understand that college is not the same place or experience as it was when you attended more than two decades ago! Share this article with your children – and talk about it.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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