Transitioning from High School to...

Transitioning from High School to University

by Nipissing University
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What can students expect when they start university? How is university different from high school? The following points, excerpted from Nipissing University’s “The First Year Experience – A Guardian’s Quick Guide”, outline a typical student transition:

1. New Environment
Many first year students feel overwhelmed by the size of the campus and classes. Students have to adjust to lecture style instruction as compared to traditional classroom instruction.

2. Changes in Class Size
Large classes can be intimidating, especially for those who attended small high schools.

3. Time Management
In addition to lecture time, students must keep up with assignments, readings, lab work and tutorials. Along with the academic pressures many students choose to obtain part-time employment. Add in all the exciting extracurricular opportunities and a social life and it is easy to see why it is difficult to balance everything. During first year each student needs to find a balance that works for them in order to be successful throughout their academic years.

4. Increased Freedom/Increased Responsibility
Many students are excited about the increased freedom that comes from attending university but many are unprepared for the personal responsibility that comes with that freedom. Students will now be responsible for all aspects of their personal and academic lives: budgeting, purchasing personal items, making appointments, completing assignments on time, attending class.

5. Change in Social Support Systems
Many university students will know very few people when they arrive. It may be difficult at first to make new friends which may lead to feelings of isolation until they do so. Relationships with friends and family may change after a few months at university. Some people develop a greater relationship with their friends at home and make an effort to stay connected while others feel they no longer have much in common with their high school friends.

6. Struggle with Independence and Identity
Students are dealing with the challenges involved with becoming independent. They are trying to define themselves and are challenging their own beliefs and values. This process can be difficult for both the student and their parents as the student tries to find and express their own identity.

Excerpted from Nipissing University’s “The First Year Experience – A Guardian’s Quick Guide”. Reproduced with the permission of Nipissing University Office of Student Development and Services and Nipissing University Residence and Conference Services.

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