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Transitioning from High School: Time Management in College

Six-Year Outcomes by Enrollment IntensityA consistent theme in our popular Life in College Series of student profiles is the challenge students face transitioning from the highly structured schedule and format of high school, that most commonly follows a set schedule that is the same every day, to a block schedule in college where the schedule changes daily and can have large blocks of “free time”.

For students who have relied on a schedule or the oversight of teachers and parents to stay on track, the instant freedom inherent in college is one of the major risk factors contributing to low completion rates. A 2014 report from the NSCRC notes: “Overall, 69.7 percent of the cohort completed a degree (55.1 percent) or were still enrolled (14.7) at the end of the study period. Students who enrolled exclusively full time completed at greater rates (77.2 percent) than their exclusively part-time (21 percent) and mixed enrollment (43 percent) counterparts”

Given the positive impact of a college degree both on employment rate in income (read more: California Study Highlights Value of Going to College), increasing the completion rate will have a positive impact on millions of students.

Dublin High School graduates have provided excellent practical advice over the years about how to manage the transition from high school structure to college independence; here is just some of what those students had to say:

“Being so far from home has taught me to be a lot more independent. At home, I didn’t have to do things like schedule doctors appointments or grocery shop but now I have to do a lot of these things on a weekly basis. I really did not understand the extent to what my mom did for me in high school until I was on my own.” – Eric Turner, Dublin High School Class of 2013 attending Auburn University. Read more…

“In college time management is extremely important. It took me my whole first semester to get settled into a routine: figuring out the right food to eat, how much sleep I needed, and achieving a balance between athletics and academics to be successful. Communicating with your professors is extremely important. If you explain what you are going through and ask for an extension for a paper they will likely support you. You need to work with your professors and make sure everything gets done.”  – Megan Zummo, Dublin High School Class of 2013 attending St. Mary’s College of California. Read more…

“In college it is a lot different because rather than going home to your parents you go to a dorm. Dorm life is so social that you don’t want to do anything, you just want to sit in the common area and talk to your friends. I had to force myself to go straight to the library after class, rather than going back to my room, because I knew how hard it would be to work in the dorm.” – Camille Chabot, Dublin High School Class of 2013 attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Read more…

“For me, the biggest adjustments involving the change from high school to a college curriculum was time management. In college independent work time now greatly exceeds class instruction time, so while ‘free time’ during the day is more ample, time management skills are critical to get reading and writing assignments completed.” – Jillian Cowell, Dublin High School Class of 2014 attending Whitman College. Read more…

“Don’t let the amount of free time you get in college destroy your work ethic. The idea of doing nothing all day sounds awesome until it becomes regular and you just become really lazy.” – Ronil Bhatia, Dublin High School Class of 2012 attending UCLA. Read more…

“It’s weird to go from living with your parents, and having all these rules, to becoming completely independent. It’s a lot of responsibility living on your own, but I think the cool thing about college is that you really focus on yourself. You learn a lot about yourself in the first couple of months, and you learn how to be independent.” – Rebecca Bomfim, Dublin High School Class of 2012 attending Cal Lutheran University. Read more…

Additional resources for busy college students who are trying to get organized:



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