College can be a huge, and sometimes scary, transition, but it can be a great chapter in your life, especially if you have a foundation of these life skills.
Here are the four main principles you should master in high school to help prepare you for success in college.
1. Know How to Intelligently State Your Opinions
Whether verbally or in writing, college students must learn how to communicate effectively and state their opinions intelligently. According to Anne Osborne in Identity, Learning, and the Liberal Arts, reading, evaluating, and analyzing data for the purpose of making arguments helps students learn the material better when they have to defend it. Students also learn how to speak in public and how to think on their feet. These are all skills you’ll need in college.
2. Know How to Budget Your Money
Budgeting is the only way you will keep your financial affairs in order. College is usually the first time that most teenagers will be completely responsible for managing their money. This money includes income from parents, student loans, part-time jobs, and other sources. Out of this income, you will need to make sure that you can pay your bills, room and board or rent, books and other supplies, and your phone bill. You will also need to buy food, clothing, and other necessities. It’s important to learn how to manage your finances or you will find yourself in financial trouble. If you fail to pay your tuition and housing bills on time, you may end up back at home living with your parents. And if you run out of money for your other necessities, you’ll have a less than happy college experience eating Ramen noodles and wearing the same clothes every day.
3. Appreciate the Arts
Art educators report that art can improve academic performance and encourage positive social development. Drawing can help to develop writing skills, while visualization training can help you increase your ability to interpret text. Music instruction has been shown to increase SAT scores, while dance improves creative thinking and reading skills.
4. Love to Learn New Things
If you want to be a TV broadcaster, take high school classes in journalism. If your interests are in video game design, take a few graphic design classes. This will show potential colleges that you are serious about your chosen major, and not afraid to jump in and start honing your skills even though you’re still in high school. And even if you are not sure of your college major, consider taking elective classes that you find interesting. Doing so may cause you to discover a new talent, and pursuing something new shows colleges that you are an adventurous person who is not afraid to take chances.
Osborne, A. Debate and Student Development in the History Classroom. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 103, 39-50. Retrieved from George Washington University.
How to Choose High School Electives. (n.d.). How to Choose High School Electives. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from College Board.
Rabkin, N. (n.d.). Connections between Education in the Arts and Student Achievement.Grantmakers in the Arts. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from Grantmakers in the Arts.