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Elementary school teachers often warned, “You’d better do this to prepare yourself for middle school.” Then it’s getting prepared for high school, and now college. But what actually prepares students for the jump to college? According to various East graduates, when arriving at the big university, the study skills used in high school will not cut it anymore.
“Of course I studied here and there for big tests at East but a lot of times I would just wing it and end up doing fine,” East graduate and University of Kansas freshman Emma Pennington said. “In college that doesn’t fly; if I were to wing it on a test here [at KU] it’d be bad news, real bad news.”
Some students, like Pennington, learn the hard way that having good study skills in college is crucial. In her very first test for her Math 105 class, she thought she had studied well but ended up “bombing it.”
East graduate Chandler Pruneau, a freshman at the University of Missouri, agreed that at East students might be able to get away with studying for tests the night before or turning in worksheets late, but once freshman year of college comes around they will realize that they had it easy.
“I would’ve taken my senior year a lot more seriously; even though you think it doesn’t really matter it’s just like practice for college,” Pruneau said. “Just starting to study for tests way before you need to you, if you know you have a test in three weeks take out your notebook and look over stuff every single night because that actually helps.”
Associate Principal John McKinney said that study skills are something that teachers have been trying to teach their students for the past 12 years: don’t procrastinate, turn things in on time, study for tests weeks before they come.
“It’s difficult to convince kids that the next step is coming,” McKinney said. “I think they know it’s coming but it’s hard to convince them. It’s one of those things you just have to be aware of.”
Counselor Laura Carter believes that what teachers really need is not only to try and further teach better study skills, but to also be able to provide students with the motivation to do well.
“If I knew how to teach that I could be a billionaire,” Carter said. “To be able to encourage someone to take good care of themselves and protect their future is what they really need, but how do you do that?”
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For many high school seniors such as Connor McGannon, knowing how to stay organized and make good use of the time that is given isn’t usually the first thing that pops into mind when it comes to his college choice.
“My biggest fear is finding a place that will be a good fit for me socially and academically,” McGannon said.
Trying to choose the place that will suit social and academic needs is one of the top things on the list in the decision-making process, but preparing themselves for harder classes and more responsibility is something that many past East graduates say shouldn’t be forgotten when making this decision.
According to East graduate Conner Schrock, a freshman at Kansas State University, one of the hardest things about college is using time effectively.
“Something I could’ve done better at East would be to get into more of a daily routine and work harder at school,” Schrock said. “School is a big priority in college and it’s been a pretty big change for me from high school.”
McKinney relates the transition to college to the transition from middle school to high school. He says that the transition to college is much larger, when leaving middle school one can be fragile and used to 30 minutes of homework a night then coming to East where you are getting 30 minutes of homework from each teacher.
“The same level of exertion you put towards achieving high grades in your high school class will not be enough when you get to your college classes,” McKinney said.
East is making steps to help students find a routine for when they are going to use their time to study and get organized, just like students will have to do on their own when they go off to college. McKinney and Principal Karl Krawitz teach these time management principles to seniors in their leadership class.
“You need to get your feet under you and get your study routine in place,” McKinney said. “Then you can start getting used to the demands on your time and organization of college.”