High School vs. College

High School vs. College


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” - Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of First Year Freshman...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." few people realize Charles Dickens’ masterwork, A Tale Of Two Cities is about transitioning from high school to college. JK, Mr. Dickens never wrote about first semester stress, but Jen Lu from Prep With Jen knows all about it.

For most, starting college will mark the biggest transition of your life. Jen is here to assure you that being nervous and having a million questions is normal. Will I make friends? Do I have everything I need? Will I do well in my classes? We want to set you up for success so we asked Jen to give us the 411 on what you can expect from your first months of college. Check out this video where Jen dishes out everything from social study habits to buying textbooks!

Shocking Facts About College:

“It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,” While your first semester of college may not be volatile as the bastille, there will be plenty of foolishness to go around. Here are some modern-day guillotines you need to know about.

Textbooks Can Be Very Expensive:

Buy used, if possible, but always check with your professor to ensure the edition you secure has all the data relevant to the syllabus. Paying too much for a book is bad, buying a book you don’t need is worse.

Class Size Can Be Enormous:

This can be intimidating as well as isolating, to combat both consider going to office hours. It is a great way get to know your professors, learn about research opportunities, etc.

Maintaining a 4.0 GPA is Difficult:

Unlike high school, homework is not weighted very much, often just 10-20% of your entire grade. This means the majority of your grade comes down to your performance on exams, the dreaded Midterm and its boss, the Final. Don’t fret, good study habits will see you through


“It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of credulity,” Much like the French Revolution, learning how to manage and maintain freedom requires work.

-Independence is great but the truth is, full autonomy can be a double-edged sword.
-Reduce Friction: Stop procrastination before it starts by minimizing the steps it takes to begin studying.
-Take stock of yourself. Are you a morning person or a night person? Few people are encouraged to discern this before college.
-Set your schedule based on when you are the most focused. Make sure to consider extracurricular activities, obligations, etc.
-Establish a dedicated and organized workspace. Get a desk and keep it clean.
-Attend lectures. Typical college classes meet 2-3 times per week.
-Do the reading before lecture. Familiarize yourself with course material before you discuss it in class.
-Get in the right head space. Plan before class and review your notes right afterwards.

Build Good Study Habits:

“It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,” Good habits are your light against the darkness when it comes to studying. Arm yourself with the following practices and you’ll be ready for everything college has waiting.

-Take Notes (and take care of them). This cannot be overstated, good notes from lectures are a most effective study tool.
-High quality notepads are a must, hamelin’s line of double spiral notebooks are superb.
-Flashcards help memorize terms and facts. hamelin’s SCRIBZEE® compatible flashcards are color coded and digitizable.
-Do problem sets! Just because homework is not weighed heavily doesn’t make them unimportant.
-Make learning social. study in a groups and take turns tutoring each other. *Make sure you prep before hand” SCRIBZEE® allows you to share notes with study partners.


“It was the season of hope, it was the winter of despair,” People will tell you the college years fly by; THEY ARE RIGHT. Work hard, prioritize your studies, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself as well. We hope these tips & Jens video help you have the most noteworthy semester ever! If you haven't already started shopping below is a great downloadable checklist for you to double check that you have everything you'll need.

Be Prepared: Surviving College Checklist

Click 'download' once you land on the drop box page to get your own printable survival guide checklist!

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