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Transition from High School to College: 9 Surprising Tips for Your Road

April 29, 2023

9 min read

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Author : United We Care
Clinically approved by : Dr.Vasudha
Transition from High School to College: 9 Surprising Tips for Your Road


The transition from high school to college may bring unexpected challenges. At the same time, the prospect of newfound freedom and finding new people is exciting. Navigating an unfamiliar campus, the uncertainty of the future, the confusion about career choices, and without family members around to help you with everything can be overwhelming. Therefore, knowing what to expect and how to prepare for a smooth transition is very important.

“The only way to make sense of CHANGE is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts [1]

What Does Transition From High School To College Mean?

I grew up watching many movies – dreaming of a perfect college life. I realized real life was not a movie when I entered the campus as a freshman. There are no grand entrances on BMWs like in the Indian movie “Student of the Year”; there is nothing like ‘finding your tribe’ on Day 1, as shown in the movie ‘Pitch Perfect.’ I quickly realized that college life is like a ‘National Treasure.’ There are rules & regulations; there is severe competition (for grades, for leadership positions, even for buying food from the canteen); there are truckloads of juggling through understanding adulthood, trying to prove your worth, justifying your parents’ hard-earned money that they spent in sending you to a great college, completing assignments, finding your identity, finding your tribe, being a part of extra-curricular activities, finding internships and managing finances. It’s truly like finding a National Treasure!

I was lost when I entered college. However, a few people are excited to start a new life, meet new people, and live independently. Others are nervous about their future uncertainty but soon find their way through. What helps the most is the reason why you enrolled in college. It could be that you are the first one to be doing so, or it might be a continuation of your family legacy. For most of us,  it’s a basic necessity in our career paths [2]. Whatever the reason might be, it would be best to hold onto it as you enter this new life.

Importance Of Transitioning From High School To College

When you transition from high school to college, you are basically starting a new phase of your educational path, moving toward personal growth. Although it might come with a set of challenges, it’s still important to go through this phase [3]:

Importance of transition from High School to College

  1. Academic Rigor: I felt high school was the most difficult part of my life so far. So, if I could handle that, I could handle anything. However, college coursework is much stricter and more advanced than the high school curriculum. So, this transition helped me prepare for further education and life’s challenges and quick thinking. It helped me develop advanced critical thinking and analytical skills.
  2. Independence and Responsibility: Although I lived with my family while I went to college, for most of you, college would be the first time you would be living away from family. Irrespective of whether you are staying alone or with family during your college journey, you will end up learning how to take care of yourself and manage your time effectively. I started learning how to deal with my challenges myself rather than running to my parents for help. It also brought in a sense of responsibility.
  3. Social Skills: Most of my high school friends went to different colleges and universities. So, I had to start right from scratch and make new friends and relationships. During that journey, I learned new skills in building and maintaining friendships. I also realized that every person is different, and I had to navigate through my peers. In fact, I was able to build strong and beautiful relationships with my professors and mentors. That prepared me for life because you wouldn’t find all like-minded people in life.
  4. Career Preparation: College gave me a chance to know what fields and opportunities I can choose from. I did a lot of internships, participated in various extra-curricular activities,  and worked under great mentors and corporate leaders. It was only after a thorough exploration of various fields while I was in college that I was able to decide to continue my career path in the field of psychology.

Must read– How School Guidance Counselors Help Teens and Students Manage Their Mental Health

Steps To Take To Transition From High School To College

When you go through the transition phase between high school and college, there will be certain stages that you all will go through. These stages are [4]:

Steps To Take To Transition From High School To College

Going through these stages is absolutely necessary for you to grow, evolve and blossom into a butterfly that you sort out to be after high school.

Read more about- Returning to school

Advice For An Effective Transition From High School To College

“Go forth and set the world on fire.” – St. Ignatius of Loyola [5]

I’m sure you are scared and worried about moving from high school to college, but there are certain tips you can use to strategize and have a great journey [6] [7]:

Effective advice for transition from High School to College

  1. Plan Ahead: You can start by making a list of colleges you would want to look into and think about the courses and the options you would want to study. You can even check what all documents are needed for admission purposes and check if you have them or not.
  2. Get Organized: Once you have started college, make sure you make a list of the assignments you need to submit or the reading you need to do. Keep track of all the deadlines. Trust me, if you plan well and get organized, you will be on time, if not ahead of time. Make use of technology wherever you can.
  3. Develop Good Study Habits: In college, you don’t get one assignment at a time like we did in school. So try developing some good study habits where you study, make notes, and revise the notes every day. So, obviously, you’ll have to be organized and set aside the time to do all this.
  4. Get Involved: Be a part of a club or organization that helps you fulfill your passions. You can even participate in events and competitions. That way, you will be able to learn some new things, create a new support system, and find friends. You know, just like in ‘Pitch Perfect.’
  5. Build New Skills: Every day, you will be learning something new. You just have to be open to this learning. From communication to research to analytical skills, you can learn it all in your time at the college. Trust me, I didn’t know I could handle so much so wonderfully. I learned to multi-task in college itself.
  6. Manage Your Finances: Most of us get funding from the bank or our parents to go to college. To be able to repay as early as possible should be motivation enough for you to be careful about where and how much you’re spending. College itself is expensive, so work on a budget. You can even pick a job that suits your schedule.
  7. Take Care of Yourself: One mistake I made in college was not taking enough care of myself. I ended up experiencing burnout quickly. So, you don’t have to do that. Fix your schedule and get enough sleep, eat healthy good, and exercise regularly. If you need any help, you can always find it.
  8. Stay Motivated: It’s very easy to start something, and it’s even easier to quit. So, once you start college, remember your reasons for entering college. Your reasons and goals can keep you motivated and keep you going. That is how you will succeed as well.
  9. Ask for Help: While you’re in college, your parents might not always be around, but you can find mentors, advisors, and seniors who can help you out. I was blessed to have had amazing professors and peers in college who helped me every time I felt that I wasn’t doing good enough. If not, then you can get help from a psychologist, also.

Learn more about– 7 parenting tips for kids with learning difficulties


While some people might just get into working post-high school, most would have to go to college. As difficult as this transition might sound, it’s not very difficult. When you start your journey with a focus on your goals and reasons, you will mostly stay motivated. For everything else, you can find new friends, peers, and mentors. Just organize yourself and be open to enjoying the new experiences you will be going through every day at college. Plus, you can take time to figure out what you’re passionate about and what you would want to do for the rest of your life. Some people may not have that luxury. So, don’t waste the time you’re getting to figure life out. Take it and bloom in it!

If you are a high school or college student finding it difficult to transition from high school to college, you can reach out to our expert counselors or explore more content at United We Care! At United We Care, a team of wellness and mental health experts will guide you with the best methods for well-being.


[1] “A quote by Alan W. Watts.” https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1214204-the-only-way-to-make-sense-of-change-is-to

[2] “SCHOOL TO COLLEGE TRANSITION | Sushant University blog,” SCHOOL TO COLLEGE TRANSITION | Sushant University blog, Apr. 13, 2022. https://sushantuniversity.edu.in/blog/school-to-college-transition/

[3] “How to Handle the Transition from High School to College,” How to Handle the Transition from High School to College. https://www.educationcorner.com/transition-high-school-college.html

[4] “Five Tips on How to Transition from High School to College,” Five Tips on How to Transition from High School to College | Harvard. https://college.harvard.edu/student-life/student-stories/five-tips-how-transition-high-school-ccollege

[5] N. Vemireddy, “‘Go Forth, and Set the World on Fire’ – AIF,” AIF, Aug. 26, 2019. https://aif.org/go-forth-and-set-the-world-on-fire/

[6] “A Smoother Transition from High School to College,” College Raptor Blog, Dec. 22, 2022. https://www.collegeraptor.com/find-colleges/articles/student-life/top-10-list-smoother-transition-high-school-college/

[7]S. Chada, “How to Navigate the High School to College Transition – Ivy Scholars,” Ivy Scholars, Mar. 11, 2022. https://www.ivyscholars.com/2022/03/11/how-to-navigate-the-high-school-to-college-transition/

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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