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Many high school students share the same basic goal: graduate and begin a preferred post-secondary program. Most college and university students aim to graduate and enter into a preferred career. It seems like this should be a natural progression, but the transition from high school to college or university can be challenging. Students sometimes struggle with new teaching styles and new academic responsibilities. Online learning in high school can ease this transition by helping students to develop important skills such as personal responsibility, effective study habits, and the ability to overcome academic challenges.

Personal Responsibilitystudy

The difference in student support from high school to university will be apparent right away. Teachers in bricks-and-mortar high schools tend to inform and remind students about required readings, assessment expectations, and deadlines. Students may even have opportunities to submit work after a deadline has passed or to redo work to improve a grade. Teaching styles are often stricter at college or university. For example, once a professor has distributed any documents outlining course expectations, students are normally expected to observe those expectations without reminder.

Online learning typically requires students to work independently without direct, immediate aid. This approach to learning fosters personal responsibility when it comes to course expectations—a highly valuable skill in college and university.

studying - laptopEffective Study Habits

Course content and expectations are more advanced at college and university. As a result, students who apply high school study habits may run into difficulties. Though it may have been effective in high school, simply reading and creating study notes is sometimes not enough to fully grasp post-secondary course material.  Students who develop more thorough study habits—including any combination of reading, notes, practice exercises, memory queues, lecture reviews, online or in-person study groups, and so on—are often better prepared to master complex course content.

Overcoming Academic Challenges

Optimism typically runs high among new college and university students—as it should! For first-year students, however, academic challenges are common. As students adapt to more complex and independent work, some students fail a course, earn a low GPA, or switch majors altogether. It’s natural to feel discouraged when these things happen, but they are also opportunities to overcome challenges and discover new skills and interests.  One of our staff members here at VHS switched majors part way through her university degree. She had been conflicted about her initial program choice and even after transferring wondered whether she had chosen the right path. She quickly developed a strong interest in her new program and graduated at the top of her class. In the end, her success led her to her present career at VHS! Her story exemplifies the value of pushing onward in the face of challenges. 

The academic challenges many students encounter during the transition to college or university may also exist in the transition to online learning. Try not to let discouragement defeat you! If you buckle down and work hard, you can adapt to an online learning environment. You just might become a stronger, more independent student, which can help you in the classroom now and in the future.

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