Essential Study Habits for College
We don't expect high school to look like college but taking a closer look at some of the core differences can be extremely valuable. Simply put, students' high school study habits may not always be applicable to college. But if you start early, you'll be able to make small adjustments to make a big difference. Some of the main differences between high school and college are the amount and type of coursework and frequency and length of classes. So, it's important to refine habits to apply to this new context.
First of all, generally in high school, courses are everyday, which makes for a more consistent rhythm of studying. However, college courses can just be once or twice a week, so that means homework and readings will not be due immediately and there will likely be less "regular" work. This can be a trap to students who think that less work means less effort needed. However, the work given in college often requires more research, reading and preparation and cannot just be done last minute. So, procrastinators will have to set a schedule for themselves to complete work thoroughly and on time.
Next, the type of work is different. Worksheets and quizzes can be replaced by essays, which requires students to integrate multiple skills and not just memorize facts. Readings are much longer, and students are expected to complete them quickly, without chapter-by-chapter guidelines. The difference between reading a chapter at a time for a discussion and a whole book is that there is a lot more of a chance to get off course. So, it's helpful to make outlines of the main points of each chapter to simplify the process.
A lot of students blindly re-read texts and highlight or underline here and there and consider that "studying." However, this way of revising is passive and doesn't test students' comprehension, but merely their recognition of things they've seen before. Instead of being able to explain what a character's role is in a text, rereading just allows students to recall surface-level details.
What would be more practical is to explain to someone else, a peer or parent, for example, what happened in the reading to make sure the information is grasped. Pulling out main points of each section or creating a "headline" to summarize each section is a popular technique for reading sections on standardized tests that can be applied to any text.
Learning happens through being active, not passive. Instead of sitting in your room rereading a text, write a summary of it or tell someone out loud. If you stumble or are fuzzy on details, then it's the time to refer to the text again. Think about how you would reword or simplify confusing language and summarize your text into easy-to-follow bullet points. It is easier to refer to this kind of study guide rather than flip through a 200-page book for an answer.
With these small adjustments, students will be better prepared for college coursework and beyond.
Start changing study habits now to ensure a smooth college transition. If your student feels stuck, give us a call to schedule a free college counseling consultation today!
Neal Schwartz, Owner
College Planning of Westchester
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