High School to College

What are the differences between high school and college?

  • Students who come from the top of their high school class may be shocked to realize that their college classmates have the same academic ability. Good grades in high school could often be obtained with minimal effort. This will not be true in college.
  • Faculty expect students to be self-disciplined and committed to participate in learning. A lot of learning will happen in studying for class, not just listening in class.
  • Faculty highly value students' eagerness to meet during office hours or set up appointments, but contact will not be as frequent as with high school teachers.
  • College students use more independence to seek assistance. College students use academic support services, tutors, and career advisers.
  • High school students are often motivated by parents and teachers and have limited freedom. College students must accept responsibility for their actions and apply self-motivation.
  • College offers more distractions, and time management will become very important.

Making the transition

  • Encourage calls home as needed. Will you have a regular time to call or e-mail? Remember, a student's schedule is irregular.
  • Ask if your child would like a subscription to your hometown paper or copies of the church bulletin, or just send them clippings. All students LOVE mail in their campus post office box.
  • Let your student decide the frequency of visits home—they can feel guilty about not going home enough and also wanting to stay on campus to work on academics and be with friends.
  • Students will be tired at breaks. Let them sleep. Expect that they will want to spend time with friends from home.
  • Listen to your student, but help him or her take responsibility for their decisions.
  • Agree on their responsibility for finances. Academics will be a full-time job. Students should not be expected to work more than 15 hours per week.
  • Agree on their academics. Parents are encouraged to ask their students for their grades.
  • Don't worry about their second thoughts about their college choice. The transition is difficult for most students. Listen.
  • If your child's birthday occurs while he/she is at Gustavus, you may order a cake through the Gustavus Dining Service.
  • Gustavus also has authorized care packages through the Epsilon Pi Alpha fraternity and the track team at the beginning of the year and during finals week.
  • Some parents may hear often about the struggles while others may hear most about the positives, but each student goes through highs and lows.

How can parents understand the three-way relationship between parents, their child, and Gustavus?

  • Students should be kept in the middle of their college business. Include your student in conversations about academic and personal behavior.
  • Gustavus gives much responsibility to students about choices and tries to assist them in understanding positive and negative results.
  • Gustavus employees will assume your child is telling us the truth about class attendance, grades, behavior, and that they are communicating with their parents.
  • Gustavus assumes parents have taught their children about how to manage their finances and have agreed on the use of their campus employment checks and the use of credit cards.
  • Gustavus will provide opportunities for students to learn about living in a community.
  • Parents should help their child become responsible by encouraging them to:
    • Take responsibility for decisions
    • Get up on time to go to class
    • Negotiate disputes with roommates
    • Meet academic deadlines and seek out professors when problems exist
    • Manage money by not accruing fines or spending on credit cards