Methods to Ease Students Into the Rigors of College

Image by Jirka Matousek, Flickr

Image by Jirka Matousek, Flickr

College opens doors. For some it grants the credentials to achieve highly technical professional career, and for others it equips them with the skills and knowledge they can use to eliminate what could have been years trudging their way up the corporate ladder.

Entering, remaining in, and succeeding at college can be extremely difficult. Nightmares about student loan debt, an inability to balance life, work and school, as well as the very real reality that you might not be in the right mindset to succeed, has convinced many students to put off college just one more semester. If you fall into one of these categories, don’t give up yet – here are a few methods to ease yourself into college.

Take College Classes in High School
Some high schools do not prepare students for the rigors of college. Many high school curriculums are so easy that students can sleep through them. Get a taste of college and a jump start on your college degree with dual (also known as concurrent or advanced placement) college classes. Students in dual enrollment classes earn high school and college credit for courses at the same time.

Depending on the school district, these courses either take place online, in class, or at a college campus. They are usually significantly cheaper than the traditional college course, and some states and school districts will cover the cost of students enrolling in dual enrollment programs.

Community College
Community college is a solid way to ease yourself into college. The low cost of tuition for community college (students can expect to pay around $3,400 a year in some states) makes pursuing higher education a more viable option. If you’re curious how much in-state or private colleges will cost you this year, check out this article. Due to the steep price of college, many students knock out many of their generic courses through a local community college and then transfer to an in-state school for their junior and senior years.

Community college can also offer a low stress, minimal commitment education. Individuals who aren’t sure if they have the time or mental capacity to pursue a college degree can sign up for a course and just see how it goes. Dropping the course mid-semester if life takes a sudden twist won’t be such a punch to the gut due to the lower tuition fees.

Audit Classes
Some potential students are more concerned with their ability (either mentally or temporally) to handle their classes. The thought of dishing out tuition when the course might be beyond your ability to complete successfully can be daunting. Auditing might be the answer to circumvent that issue.

Auditing occurs when the school and the professor grant a student permission to sit in on a class. Often students don’t pay and they’re not required by the professor to take the tests. Many colleges offer the ability to audit classes to students who aren’t enrolled (but these may come with a cost). Other colleges don’t require students to pay. And others just require auditors to pay the attached class fees.

Arizona State University recently created a program that could change the face of education called the Global Freshman Academy. The academy offers the ability to audit while still giving students the ability to earn credits at the end of the course. The only up-front fee is $45 dollars for each course students enroll in to verify the student’s identity.

At the end of the course, if the student passes and wishes to earn credit for the course, then they can pay for the credits. It’s a fairly innovative process that offers all of the rigors and time commitment without any of the academic or financial stress. Failing or dropping the course won’t leave a messy trail on your college transcript.

Perusing Videos or Podcasts
If all of the above options are too much of a time, money, and brain suck, individuals can dip their toes into higher education by listening or watching professor or guest speaker lectures. For those who don’t live near a college campus, many colleges, departments, and professors upload their lectures online on a variety of platforms. When you have some free time, check out iTunes, school websites, or YouTube for free educational lectures.

College courses can grant the skills, knowledge, and credentials to succeed professionally. Not all students can afford to dive into college, due to personal, professional or monetary constraints. Starting college while in secondary school, enrolling in community college, auditing classes, and listening to educational lectures online is a solid way for individuals to ease their way into college.

This article was contributed by guest author Samantha Stauf.

, ,