When you’re looking to start your college experience, people may ask you if you feel ready. While feeling personally ready to enter this new academic experience is important, there’s a whole notion of college readiness.
We are going to dive deep into what college readiness entails, so that you can understand how to measure yourself before starting school. Being ready for college means more than having all your supplies ready, schedule set, and school chosen.
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What is College Readiness?
College readiness is a set of skills, behaviors, and knowledge a high school student should have to enter college. Having college readiness is a marker for how successful you may be, and how well you will integrate into the experience of college.
College readiness is important for both traditional and online universities. Regardless of where or how you study, college places a lot of the onus on the student.
In primary and secondary school, on the other hand, the teachers often have a tight hold on the pace of education. This changes in college. That’s why it is so important that students are prepared for the change of environment.
Let’s take a look at how we can break down college readiness into the things that matter most:
All colleges and schools are different. But generally, they will all teach common core education, such as: math, English, science, history, and even a foreign language. This education serves as the foundation for continued education in college.
Along with academic skills, you’ll need to have life skills to succeed in college. Academic skills include the ability to write an essay or complete a scientific experiment. College will also demand skills such as: time management, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and more.
College is demanding. As such, you will have to be motivated and aware of your mental health. This means that motivation and self-esteem will play a big role in your ability to face and conquer challenges. Additionally, training a positive mindset can pay off hugely.
Why is College Readiness Important
Like with most things in life, the more prepared you are, the better you will be. The same thing is true for college. Mastering college readiness before starting college will help to set you up for success.
This is why college readiness should matter to you:
- Because it improves your chances of degree completion
- Because it will better inform you about how you will do in college before starting
- Because it can help to reduce income and ethnic gaps in degree completion
How to Measure College Readiness
Some of the aspects that will make you ready for college are difficult to measure, like your motivation level. However, there exist general benchmarks that will provide insight into how well you will perform in college.
1. ACT/SAT Scores
The ACT and SAT are standardized tests that many universities require for admission. How you score on these tests may indicate how prepared you are with regard to academic material.
2. Grades and Difficulty of Coursework
Another marker of your college readiness can be your high school grades, or GPA. Along with the difficulty level of your courses (regular, Honors, Advanced Placement), you may be able to gauge how well you know the material. You may be taking college-level coursework during high school, but the environment of college is different from high school. It will demand more self-paced work and personal motivation.
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Skills for College Readiness
To be better prepared for college, you can always work on honing these skills that will make all the difference.
College provides students with a lot of freedom and flexibility. This is even more true when students attend an online university because they can set their own schedule. For example, the University of the People offers 100% online and tuition-free degree granting programs. They are intended to be flexible. Although flexibility is a good thing, it means that students need to manage themselves. Proper self-management includes eating healthily, managing responsibilities, getting enough sleep, etc.
Communication in college will be both written and verbal. It will happen between peers, professors, mentors, and the like. As such, practicing good communication is a lifelong skill that will reap benefits in professional, academic, and personal relationships.
Like when you enter the workforce, college also requires you to work with others. Some people prefer to work independently. As such, this is often a skill that needs to be practiced. Learning how to collaborate with others will happen in college naturally when provided with group assignments. Also, some people elect to set up study groups to do this, too.
College creates an environment where students have to question their beliefs. Courses often push boundaries and test limits. They are designed this way to support critical thinking and problem-solving. Problem-solving will be a critical skill in any future career as well.
The Importance of Measuring College Readiness
College readiness is important for all students, and even more so for those who seem to struggle in high school. The statistics show that more than half of students who enroll in community colleges are testing below the necessary college level in Math and English.
In order to ensure that students are in fact ready to move onto higher education, measurements of college readiness should be taken seriously.
Parents, teachers, third-party organizations, and schools can all take this role upon themselves to help students succeed in their future. Students themselves can also make a serious effort to prepare for college in advance by practicing and mastering the aforementioned skills.
Does High School Measure College Readiness?
It seems that when you’re in high school, you’d have markers and measures before graduating that support college readiness. However, this is unlikely to be the case. Rather, high school graduation requirements focus on the bare minimum.
Students and parents often have to take it into their own hands to prepare for college. Some ways to do so include:
- Digital Curriculum: Taking classes online is one way to prepare for college. Online courses require time management and self management. This mirrors the college experience.
- Active Learning: Hands-on learning and learning by doing is becoming a more popular approach to education. This is because all students learn differently. Taking on active learning projects will showcase your ability to problem-solve and think critically. It will promote good behavior to take on future college coursework.
The Bottom Line
College readiness can provide you with insight into how you may perform in your college career before you start. From standardized test results to grades, these benchmarks will showcase your academic abilities. In the same vein, honing skills like self-management, time management, communication, and more will help reap benefits in college.
It’s common that students feel anxious before starting college. This is because it’s a totally new experience. However, college readiness exists so that you are prepared. Even throughout college, you will continue to get better at these skills and increase your knowledge. And don’t forget, you’ll have a support system of friends, peers, college advisors, administrators, parents, and mentors to help you along the way!