Find out how college and career school are different from high school!
If you have just finished high school, then congratulations are in order! Graduating from high school is an important landmark in your life. It’s a bittersweet time when you are saying goodbye to old friends and starting out on a new path. While it may be the end of one chapter of your life, it’s also the beginning of a new and exciting one.
If you are like many graduates, you may be getting ready to go to college or career school. This is your first step into adulthood, and with it, you will be blazing a new trail into your future! To make the most of it, it’s important to make good decisions that will serve you well. Take a look at these common mistakes that many college or career students students make in their first year. Do your best to avoid them, and you will be in great shape!
Choosing a field that’s not a good fit
When you are only 17 or 18 years old, it’s hard to know what you want to do for the rest of your life! That’s totally understandable. What’s important is that you do the best you can to listen to yourself. You may feel pressure from well-meaning relatives and friends to choose a certain career path, but if you think it’s the wrong path for you, then it probably is. To zero in on what interests you, try taking a career self-assessment survey. Take some time to read about career fields that interest you. See if you can meet someone who is in that field and ask them about their career. Doing this kind of research can help you decide what you want.
In college and career school, the professors and instructors may expect more than high school teachers. The projects may be bigger, and the deadlines on projects may be longer than they were in high school. The instructors will expect you to budget your time on your own. Try not to fall into the trap of procrastinating. Break down your work into manageable pieces, and get a little done each day, rather than having to cram everything at the end.
In high school, you were expected to stay in the building the whole day. In college or career school, your class times may be scattered throughout the day. There’s no hall monitor watching what you’re doing, and there’s no teacher writing a note to your parents if you skip class. That means the responsibility to attend classes is on you. It may be tempting to skip a class now and then, but this is a slippery slope! You quickly fall behind if you skip just one class, and before you know it, your grades are slipping. If you have to miss a class, be sure to explain to the professor why you missed and get the class notes from a classmate.
In today’s world, there are so many things that can distract you from studying and attending classes. Whether it’s social media, video games, or binge-watching a TV series, there’s always something fun going on! Try to limit your screen time, and only allow yourself your screen time as a reward for completing your school work.
Not asking for help
College professors and career school instructors want to treat you like an adult, but this doesn’t mean they won’t be there to help. They will! They want you to succeed. If you are struggling and falling behind in class, don’t suffer it alone. By all means, ask for help! Here are some tips on what to do if you are falling behind.
Not applying for financial aid
While there is no guarantee that you will receive a financial aid package, it is important to apply each year. It is recommended that every student begin by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. Your school will then let you know if you are eligible to receive any loans or grants that can help support your education.
Going into credit card debt
For the first time in your life, you may be living away from home and needing to make purchasing decisions on your own. This is a great learning experience! But beware…credit card companies want your money! They allow you to open accounts with a credit limit that is well beyond what you can actually pay. While credit cards are okay to have, you have to be extra careful not to spend beyond your means. Make sure you can pay off your full balance every month. Here are some tips on living within your budget as a student.
Not taking care of yourself
Once you are a college or career school student, you may not be living at home anymore, or you may be spending a lot less time there. This kind of freedom is great, and you should enjoy it! But at the same time, don’t forget to take care of the most important thing—yourself! This means getting adequate sleep, eating well, and getting daily exercise. You will feel better if you do!
We know you can do a terrific job in your next chapter of life, and with these tips, we hope you avoid some of the traps of post-high-school life. But we also realize that making mistakes is a part of life. If you do make a mistake, pick yourself up, learn from it, and move forward. We know you can do it!
The Salter School provides career training in the fields of medical assisting, medical billing and coding (health claims specialist), and massage therapy. Find out more about enrolling with us!