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The High School to College Transition: What to Expect

One of the most momentous changes that you’ll experience in your life is going from being a high school student to a college student. Literally overnight, you’ll go from living with your family to being much more autonomous as a student living on or off campus. You’ll need to be prepared to manage your own time and money and take care of situations that you might previously have turned to your parents to help you with. This can be a time that is both stressful and exciting, and the tips below will help you with this transition.

Getting the Funds You Need

Even if your parents have been saving up to pay for your education, there may not be enough to cover all your costs. Federal aid and scholarships can cover some of the gap, but what if you need more? Private student loans are an option, but there’s a big hurdle for many students when it comes to obtaining these. 

Most incoming students don’t have the credit record that they would need to get approval for these loans or to get them at reasonable interest rates. To get that, you’ll need a cosigner, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. The cosigner is responsible if you default on them, so it’s a big ask to have someone become your cosigner. There are a few things you should consider first if you do need a cosigner for your private loans.

Your Parents

How close are you to your family? Maybe you can’t wait to get out on your own, but you may have a relationship with your parents where you’re used to texting them regularly and getting their guidance on various situations. If you do have parents you can go to for advice, this is a great relationship to have, and you should continue to value it. However, it’s also important to start making decisions on your own without consulting them first, even if you make mistakes. It’s okay to get things wrong; that’s how you learn.

Your Friends

It can be tough leaving your friends behind when you head off to college, or maybe it isn’t. Maybe many are headed off to the same place. This can really help ease your transition, but make sure that you don’t use your old friends as a crutch. Whether they’re right there on campus every day or you find yourself going back to your hometown every weekend to visit them, try to expand your friendship circles beyond people you went to high school with. That doesn’t mean you don’t value your old friends or that you won’t stay in touch for decades to come, but you do need to try to get to know other people.

Your Classes

Unlike high school, no one is making you go to class. That said, you need to go. You’re paying for it, after all, and you can learn a lot too. In addition, you should try to get to know your professors. Stop in and see them during those office hours they put on the syllabus. Eventually, they may be writing your recommendations for jobs or graduate school.

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