Improving College Readiness and Results

In keeping with Eduflack’s ongoing discussions of college readiness, following is a guest post from Holly McCarthy.

Over the years, the importance of a college education has
become more and more recognized by young people of a wide variety of
socioeconomic backgrounds.  With
the current economic situation, the importance of having lasting and pertinent
skills is something that is on the minds of many as they begin to map out their
futures.  Knowing the importance of
a college education is the first step; these young people must be prepared for
college, however, before they go off to school. 

Many entering freshmen are completely unprepared for the
rigors of academic life beyond public schooling.  While the reasons for this can be quite complicated, the
fact of the matter is that college preparation needs to be taught in schools, especially
when students are encouraged to go to college to earn a degree.  Something is being lost along the
way—kids are being told to go, but they are not taught what to do once they

Study Skills

One of the biggest problems many students face once they set
foot on campus is a lack of good study skills.  This problem adversely affects many aspects of the college
experience and puts these students at a disadvantage.  In high school, teachers often spend a great deal of time
explaining what will be on tests, handing out review sheets, etc., but spend
little time explaining that this kind of thing won’t be given out by most
college professors.

A good idea for rectifying this situation would be for
students to be gradually weaned off of these study guides and unambiguous study
sessions.  Learning how to figure
out what is going to be important and how to take notes and personally develop
study skills is something that shouldn’t have to be learned by being thrown to
the wolves in college.  Rather, students
should be given opportunities to learn and develop these skills over time in an
environment with fewer consequences and more chances for remediation.

Time Management

Another area where public schools fall far behind is teaching
students how to manage their time wisely. 
We live in a world that values results and productivity very
highly.  Advances in technology
have made many jobs obsolete and the expectations for employees continue to
increase as a result.  Time
management in college is something that can make or break a student’s career if
they are not careful.

Teaching students to take responsibility for projects and
reinforcing the importance of timelines and setting up achievable goals would
truly help students to learn how to effectively manage their time.  In most cases, high school students are
actually taking more courses per semester than they ultimately will in
college.  Showing them how to
effectively manage tasks such as reading large amounts of material, studying on
a schedule, and preparing papers and projects so that they don’t end up being
done at the last minute could mean the difference between success and failure. 

(This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of online schools. It represents Holly’s opinions only, and she invites your feedback at   

450 thoughts on “Improving College Readiness and Results

  1. This is a good piece on how to prepare for college education. I especially like the point about effective time management. I have observed that students who pursue their college education online are better time managers. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that more often than not these students have either full time jobs or responsibilities at home that they need to juggle along with their education. I am a huge proponent of online and distance degree programs. Many top rated universities like Independence University offer online and distance education in high demand fields.

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