Christopher Zaleski
Education, Higher Education
Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division
  • Effective Learning Strategies
  • Learning Framework
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    Chapter 1: Manage the Transition to College

    Chapter 1: Manage the Transition to College


    Learning Framework: Effective Strategies for College Success
    Chapter 1: Manage the Transition to College


    Learning Objectives

    By the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

    • Identify the risks and rewards of college.
    • Describe the responsibilities of college student life and how they differ from high school or early career life.
    • Identify differences in class delivery and compare strategies for success in each type.
    • Identify different categories of students who might share the same classroom as you.
    • Identify similarities and differences between different types of students compared to yourself.

    Manage the Transition To College

    Manage the Transition To College


    Welcome to the College of Undergraduate Studies at The Chicago School. This Pathways to Success course provides students with an opportunity to learn and adopt the knowledge, skills, motivation, and behaviors that will enhance their success in learning and in life. By the end of the course, students will have identified factors that impact learning, applied successful learning strategies, and developed a success plan based on support services, resources, and interests in their field of study.

    While not all of these elements may be covered in the course, this grid of key topics is intended to reflect an overall framework within which the course is developed.

    In working through these topics, you will have opportunities to take self-assessments and conduct other activities and assignments that help you think about and apply the concepts you are learning. You will also meet other students, peer mentors, advisors, and coaches who will enhance your college experience with connections and support. Many of the topics include videos and other media materials that provide a context for the information.

    The Risks And Rewards Of College

    The cost of a four-year college education has risen roughly 150 percent since 1980. For this and other reasons, more and more students must take out student loans to finance their education. Upon graduation, many find they have accrued a sizable debt. Given the significant expense, some question the value of earning a college degree. However, along with the rising cost, the lifetime earnings difference between college and high school graduates has widened. The increased earnings potential for a bachelor’s degree allows a college graduate to recover the cost of college over time and eventually surpass the earnings of those with only a high school diploma.

    The College Board estimates that for the 2022 school year, the average cost of a four-year college education is $39,400 per year at a private nonprofit university and $28,240 per year at a public university. Over the past decade, the real cost of attending a four-year university increased an average of 6 percent per year. However, in the last decade, average student spending on college textbooks and digital course materials declined by between 44% and 48%, according to the Student Watch and Student Monitor: 2022 Reports. Still, more families turn to student loans for college funding. The College Board estimates that the percentage of students with federal student loans increased from 27 percent in 2004-05 to 35 percent in 2009-10 to 52 percent in 2021-22. While estimates vary, a typical 2020-21 college graduate accumulated between $21,400 to $22,600 in student loan debt.

    For college to be a good investment, the benefits of a degree (e.g., higher pay) must outweigh the opportunity cost of attending. In this case, the opportunity cost is the sum of tuition and housing costs plus the wages that would have been earned from working directly after graduating from high school. Recent data show that while the cost of college increased, the labor-market value of a bachelor’s degree climbed to an all-time high. 

    • Typical earnings for bachelor’s degree holders are $36,000 or 84 percent higher than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma.
    • The percentage of full-time year-round workers age 35 to 44 earning $100,000 or more in 2021 ranged from 4% of those without a high school diploma and 7% of high school graduates to 35% of those whose highest attainment was a bachelor’s degree and 49% of advanced degree holders. Among advanced degree holders, 24% earned $150,000 or more; this share was 14% among bachelor’s degree holders.
    • College graduates on average make $1.2 million more over their lifetime.

    Return on investment of college.

    There are significant benefits of higher education, according to The College Board:

    • Individuals with higher levels of education earn more, pay more taxes, and are more likely than others to be employed.
    • In 2021, median earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients age 25 and older with no advanced degree working full time were $29,000 (65%) higher than those of high school graduates. Bachelor’s degree recipients paid an estimated $7,800 (86%) more in taxes and took home $21,200 (60%) more in after-tax income than high school graduates.
    • The typical four-year college graduate who enrolls at age 18 and graduates in four years can expect to earn enough relative to a high school graduate by age 34 to compensate for being out of the labor force for four years and for borrowing the full tuition and fees and books and supplies without any grant aid.
    • In 2021, among full-time year-round workers between the ages of 25 and 34, median earnings for women with at least a bachelor’s degree were $60,540, compared with $34,590 for those with a high school diploma. Median earnings for men with at least a bachelor’s degree were $75,430, compared with $42,460 for those with a high school diploma.
    • In 2021, among adults between the ages of 25 and 64, 67% of high school graduates, 71% of those with some college but no degree, 76% of those with an associate degree, and 83% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree were employed. 

    Thus, the opportunity cost of attending college is recovered over time.

    A college degree also lowers the probability of unemployment: The 2023 report shows that the unemployment rate for individuals age 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree has consistently been about half of the unemployment rate for high school graduates.

    • In 2021, the unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds with at least a bachelor’s degree was 3.3%, compared with 8.3% for high school graduates in the same age group.

    Overall, a college degree still remains a wise investment.

    earning and unemployment rates by educational attainment
    Last Modified Date: April 21, 2021


    Median weekly earnings by educational attainment and sex (annual)
    Updated: June 2022

    Perhaps most importantly, an overwhelming majority of college graduates—86 percent—say that college has been a good investment for them personally. (PEW)


    Why the Pay Gap?

    As you likely noticed in the above chart, there is a difference in pay by gender, at all levels of education. This is a complicated issue with several contributing factors. You can learn more about the gender pay gap from "The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap" from the AAUW. This 2021 updated version discusses the impact of Covid-19 on women and the work force. 

    The College Environment

    The College Environment

    Student Responsibilities

    Now that you have transitioned into college, you will have new responsibilities. Research has shown that students who get involved in career-planning activities stay in college longer, graduate on time, improve their academic performance, tend to be more goal-focused and motivated, and have a more satisfying and fulfilling college experience. This is why an important first step in college is examining your personal identity and values. By examining your values first, you begin the process of defining your educational goals and ultimately planning your career. You will explore your values in a later unit.

    Secondary to the critical nature of assessing your values is the importance of committing to your responsibilities as a student. What are your new student responsibilities? Are they financial? Course-specific? Social? Health-related? Ethical? What exactly is expected of you?

    Expectations for student behavior vary from campus to campus. A Web search for “college student responsibilities” reveals the breadth of expectations deemed important at any given institution.

    Broadly, though, students are expected to at least act consistently with the values of the institution and to obey local, state, and federal laws. It may also be expected that you actively participate in your career decision-making process, respond to advising, and plan to graduate.

    Institutions invariably provide additional details about student responsibilities. Details may be formal or informal. They may fall under academic expectations or a code of conduct. They may also include resources and recommendations. Check out this "Tips for Undergrad Students" document for The Chicago School, which outlines responsibilities for student success. 

    Consult your college handbook or Web site for details about your rights and responsibilities as a student. You can find within The Chicago School's academic catalog the student rights and responsibilities that will help you demonstrate that you are a responsible student when you do the following:

    • Uphold the values of honesty and academic integrity.
    • Attend and be prepared for all classes, meetings, academic activities, and special events.
    • Give attention to quality and excellence in completing assignments.
    • Allow sufficient time to fulfill responsibilities outside of class.
    • Observe etiquette in all communications, respecting instructors, fellow students, staff, and the larger college community.
    • Take full advantage of college resources available to you.
    • Respect diversity in people, ideas, and opinions.
    • Achieve educational goals in an organized, committed, and proactive manner.
    • Take full responsibility for personal behavior.
    • Comply with all college policies.

    By allowing these overarching principles to guide you, you embrace responsibility and make choices that lead to college success.

    College vs. High School

    If you know others who attend or have attended college, then you have a head start on knowing what to expect during this odyssey. And, if you've transferred into this school from another college or university, you have a good understanding of expectations. Still, the transition from high school to college (and sometimes from one college to the next) is striking. Even for those who have not been in high school for a while, high school is often their last experience in a traditional educational setting. College life differs in many ways from high school. The following supplemental video clip is an overview of the challenges you may face as a student and provides examples of issues students face in transitioning from high school to college. Click on the “cc” box underneath the video to activate the closed captioning. (If you are taking this course after transferring in from another school, the below video may not be relevant to you and you may skip it).

    High School to College Transition

    For more information about high school vs. college, refer to this detailed set of comparisons from Southern Methodist University: “High School vs. College” The site provides an extensive list of contrasts, such as the following:

    • Following the rules in high school vs. choosing responsibly in college
    • Going to high school classes vs. succeeding in college classes
    • Understanding high school teachers vs. college professors
    • Preparing for tests in high school vs. tests in college
    • Interpreting grades in high school vs. grades in college


    Types Of Courses

    Course Delivery Formats

    Choices. And more choices. If college success is about anything, it’s about the choices you need to make in order to succeed. What do you want to learn? How do you want to learn it? Who do you want to learn it with and where? When do you learn best?

    As part of the many choices you will make in college, you may be able to select the format or modality in which your college classes are offered. Many schools offer campus-based, in-person courses or online courses or a combination of both. 


    Campus-Based Courses

    Students have traditionally taken in-person campus-based courses for undergraduate and graduate degrees. These courses require students to attend class on campus in a designated classroom at least once per week. These courses often include lectures and in-class activities, and many times assignments or research are required outside of the classroom. While there may be requirements that some activities or assignments be completed online, you'll be able to meet with your instructor and access resources within the classroom and on campus. These courses often occur over a 15 or 16-week semester where students who are full-time usually take 4 or 5 classes at one time, equalling around 15 credits. Many campus-based courses occur in either the Fall or Spring semesters. Some students take additional courses during the optional Summer semester.   


    Online Courses

    Online classes offer traditional college coursework through an online learning platform, such as a learning management system. Rather than attending class and listening to lectures in-person, students watch video lectures, participate in online discussions, and submit projects online. They still require interaction with the instructor and other students through group projects, video posts, and other activities, but they are done virtually. Online courses differ from correspondence courses, which are usually completed at the student's own pace without weekly deadlines or much interaction or engagement with others. 

    Many schools, including The Chicago School, offer online courses over a shorter time period, such as over 8 weeks. Full-time students usually take only two courses at a time over a term, as opposed to 5 courses over a semester at a ground campus. This allows students to progress through their degree program more quickly by taking 12 courses over a calendar year rather than 10 over two semesters. 


    Technology Enhances Learning

    Most, if not all, college course formats can be delivered with technology enhancements. For example, lecture-style courses are often delivered fully online, and lab courses often have Web enhancements. Online teaching and learning are commonplace at most colleges and universities. In fact, the most recent data (2021) about the number of students taking online courses shows that roughly one out of every three U.S. college students take at least one online course, that's around 9.4 million undergraduate students. Some 4.4 million students, or 28 percent of all undergraduate students, took online courses exclusively.

    Technology-enhanced delivery methods may be synchronous (meaning in real-time, through some kind of live interaction tool) as well as asynchronous (meaning in delayed time; they may include online discussion boards that students visit at different times within a certain time frame).

    The following table describes the attributes of four main “modes” of delivery relative to the technology enhancements involved.

    0%Face-to-Face / TraditionalA face-to-face course is delivered fully on-site with real-time, face-to-face interaction between the instructor and student. A face-to-face course may make use of computers, the Internet, or other electronic media in the classroom, but it does not use the institution’s learning management system for instruction. A learning management system, like Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, or others, is an online teaching and learning environment that allows students and teachers to engage with one another and with course content.
    1% to 29%Web-EnhancedA Web-enhanced course takes place primarily in a traditional, face-to-face classroom, with some course materials being accessible online (generally in the learning management system), like digital readings to support learning objectives. All Web-enhanced classes regularly meet face-to-face.
    30% to 79%Hybrid/ BlendedHybrid courses (also called blended courses) strategically blend online and face-to-face delivery. “Flipped classrooms” are an example of hybrid delivery. In a flipped classroom, your instructor reverses the traditional order of in-class and out-of-class activity, such that you may be asked to view lectures at home before coming to class. You may then be asked to use class time for activities that enable you to engage dynamically with your instructor and fellow students. Blended courses have fewer in-person sessions than face-to-face or Web-enhanced courses.
    99+%OnlineAn online course is delivered almost entirely through the institution’s learning management system or other online means, such as synchronous conferencing (Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc.). Generally, very few or no on-site face-to-face class meetings are required.

    Being Successful in Online Courses

    Taking an online course doesn't mean the class will be easier. Often, online courses require students to be more adept at time management and prioritizing their education. It can be challenging to balance work, family, relationships, pets, friends, and fun while going to school. In a campus-based course, you know when you are expected to show up for class, and you'll know when you missed the in-class exam. In an online course, it can be easy to forget about class since you set the time aside to access the course in the learning management system (LMS). At The Chicago School, the LMS is Canvas. You're expected to engage in the course material at the beginning of each week and then participate in discussions and other online activities. The benefit of taking online courses is that you can access your classes around your schedule. If taking an exam or engaging in a discussion fits your schedule better at midnight or anytime, this would be a better option than taking a class that always meets at 7:30 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays where you have to drive in traffic, find parking, and get to your class on time before doing the same route back home or to work. 

    If you're taking online classes, you'll need to be prepared to have, use, and interact with technology:

    • You're expected to own or have frequent access to a recent model of a computer, laptop, or tablet with a high-speed, reliable Internet connection.
    • For an asynchronous course, without set class meeting times, you need to be self-motivated to schedule your time to participate regularly.
    • Without an instructor or other students in the room, you're expected to pay attention effectively to the computer screen. Learning on a computer is not as simple as passively watching television! Take notes.
    • Without reminders in class and peer pressure from other students, you’ll be expected to take responsibility for completing all assignments and papers on time.
    • Since your instructor will evaluate you primarily through your writing, you're expected to have and build good writing skills for an online course. If you believe you need to improve your writing skills, use the resources at the school to help you be more prepared and successful.
    • You're expected to take the initiative to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Your instructor can be reached within Canvas and through Email. Don't be shy, they're getting paid to be a resource for you.
    • You may need to be creative to find other ways to interact with other students in the course. You could form a study group and get together regularly with other students in the same course.

    Watch this supplemental video, Online Classes Tips and Tricks, by Sarah Jane Lamberth, for some strategies to help you succeed in online classes. 

    Online Classes Tips and Tricks!



    Types of Classes in Your Degree Plan

    Just as you have choices about the delivery format of your courses, you also have choices about where specific courses fit academically into your chosen degree program. For example, you can choose to take various combinations of required courses and elective courses in a given term. Typical college degree programs include both required and elective courses.

    • core course is a course required by your institution, and every student must take it in order to obtain a degree. It’s sometimes also called a general education course. Collectively, core courses are part of a core curriculum. Core courses are always essential to an academic degree, but they are not necessarily foundational to your major. They are foundational to developing the skills you'll need in your major courses and to being successful in your career. They help you develop the skills you need to communicate in writing or orally through one-on-one or group settings or in giving presentations. 
    • course required in your major, on the other hand, is essential to your specific field of study. For example, as a criminology student, you will have to take a course on crime and victims. You may have a choice of pathways within your major, which may include choosing a specialization or a minor. Your academic adviser can help you learn which courses within your major are required and which will lead to a specialization or minor.
    • An elective course, in contrast to both core courses and required courses in your major, is a variable component of your curriculum. You choose your electives from a number of optional subjects. Elective courses tend to be more specialized than required courses. They may also have fewer students than required courses.

    Most educational programs prefer that students take a combination of elective and required courses during the same term. This is a good way to meet the demands of your program and take interesting courses outside your focus area at the same time.

    Since your required courses will be clearly specified, you may not have any questions about which ones to take or when to take them. But since you get to choose which elective courses you take, some interesting questions may arise.

    It’s important to track and plan your required and elective courses from the outset. Take advantage of course maps or advisors to help you make sure you are on the best trajectory to graduation. Reassess your plan as needed.

    Types of College Students

    Types Of College Students

    Who Are You As a Student?

    Imagine for a moment that you live in the ancient city of Athens, Greece. You are a student at Plato’s University of Athens, considered in modern times to be the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. The campus sits just outside Athens’s city walls, a mile from your home. You walk to class and take your seat in the gymnasium, where all classes are held. Gatherings are small, just a handful of fellow students, most of whom are males born and raised in Athens. When your class is finished, you walk back to the city. Your daily work awaits you—hurry.

    Now return to the present time. How does your college environment compare to the university in ancient Athens? Where do you live now, relative to campus? Are you on a ground campus or a virtual/online campus? Do you report to a job site before or after class? Who are your fellow students, and where do they live in relationship to you and campus? What city or country are they from?

    If you indulge these imaginative comparisons, you may find many similarities in the past and the present. You may find many differences, too. Perhaps the most striking difference will be the makeup of each student body. Consider the following facts:


    In fall 2021, total undergraduate enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States was 15.4 million students, 3 percent lower than in fall 2020 (15.9 million students). This continued the downward trend in undergraduate enrollment observed before the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, undergraduate enrollment was 15 percent lower in fall 2021 than in fall 2010, with 42 percent of this decline occurring during the pandemic. In contrast, total undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase by 9 percent (from 15.4 million to 16.8 million students) between 2021 and 2031.4

    • In fall 2021, 18.6 million students attended American colleges and universities.
    • Of the 18.6 million U.S. college students, about 15.4 million are undergraduates; about 3.2 million are in graduate programs.
    • Total undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase by 9 percent (from 15.4 million to 16.8 million students) between 2021 and 2031.
    • During the 2020–21 school year, colleges and universities awarded 1.0 million associate’s degrees, 2.1 million bachelor’s degrees, and 1.1 million graduate degrees.
    • In fall 2021, female students comprised 58 percent of total undergraduate enrollment (8.9 million students), and male students comprised 42 percent (6.5 million students).
    • According to 2020 data, among first-time, first-year college students, 83.0% are full-time students. As many as 6.6% of American adults are currently enrolled in college as part-time or full-time students.
    • Many undergraduate students ages 16 to 64 are employed at the same time they are enrolled in school. In 2020, the percentage of undergraduate students who were employed was higher among part-time students (74 percent) than among full-time students (40 percent).

    These brief statistics point to the scope of university life in America and the diversity of the student body. Clearly, there is no “one size fits all” description of a college student. However, each student bears a responsibility to understand the diverse terrain of his or her peers. Who are the students you may share class with? How have they come to share the college experience with you?

    In this section, we look at several main categories of students and at some of the needs of students in those categories. We also take a brief look at how all students, regardless of background, can make a plan to be successful in college.

    Categories of Students

    You may take classes with students from many walks of life. Which of these categories best describes you?

    Traditional Students

    Traditional undergraduate students typically enroll in college immediately after graduating from high school, and they attend classes on a continuous full-time basis at least during the fall and spring semesters (or fall, winter, and spring quarters). They complete a bachelor’s degree program in four or five years by the age of twenty-two or twenty-three. Traditional students are also typically financially dependent on others (such as their parents), do not have children, and consider their college career to be their primary responsibility. They may be employed only on a part-time basis, if at all, during the academic year.

    Nontraditional Students

    Nontraditional students do not enter college in the same calendar year that they finish high school. They typically attend classes part-time due to full-time work obligations. They are more likely to be financially independent, to have children, and/or to be caregivers of sick or elderly family members. Some nontraditional students may not have a high school diploma, or they may have received a general educational development degree (GED).

    The following video features several nontraditional students from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Students discuss their status as nontraditional students and how they feel about it. Note that the differences are not just with age but also experience. Click on the “cc” box underneath the video to activate the closed captioning.

    Non-Traditional Students at W&M

    International Students and/or Non-native Speakers of English

    International students are those who travel to a country different from their own for the purpose of studying in college. English is likely their second language. Non-native speakers of English, like international students, come from a different culture, too. For both of these groups, college may pose special challenges. For example, classes may at first, or for a time, pose hardships due to cultural and language barriers.

    First-Generation College Students

    First-generation (First Gen) students do not have a parent who graduated from college with a bachelor's degree. College life may be less familiar to them, and the preparation for entering college may not have been stressed as a priority at home. Some time and support may be needed to adapt to the college environment. These students may experience a culture shift between school life and home life.

    The Chicago School is honored to celebrate First Generation students through the First Gen Student Success program! In Spring 2023, nearly 55% of all Chicago School students self-identified as First Gen!

    The Chicago School has many resources for First Gen students, including a club, a blog, and webinars to help them connect and succeed as a student. Check out the resources on the community site for more information. 

    For an in-depth look at the experiences of four first-generation college students, you can watch this supplemental documentary called First Generation. This is a long documentary, over an hour, but is an engaging and relevant look at the experience of being a First Generation College Student. 

    First Generation


    For a shorter video, watch this supplemental video from PBS News Hour called Why First-Generation College Students Need Mentors Who Get Them. 

    Why First-Generation College Students Needs Mentors Who Get Them

    Students with Disabilities

    Students with disabilities include those who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders, blindness or low vision, brain injuries, deafness/hard-of-hearing, learning disabilities, medical disabilities, physical disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and speech and language disabilities. Students with disabilities are legally accorded reasonable accommodations that give them an equal opportunity to attain the same level of performance as students without a disability. Even with these accommodations, however, physical and electronic campus facilities and practices can pose special challenges. Time, energy, and added resources may be needed.

    At The Chicago School, students with disabilities can get assistance with Disability Services and Accommodations

    Veterans and Military-Affiliated Students

    The Chicago School is proud to provide support for active duty and veteran members at all locations, as well as thoughtful programming to address issues pertinent in the veteran community.  Our unwavering support for active duty and veteran members has been recognized by​, who recognized us with a Gold Rank as a Military Friendly School.

    While all students experience challenges when transitioning to college, veterans have unique challenges. As students, they have to interact with a civilian population and be responsible for their daily activities without having a direct chain of command to follow. Being a veteran also has its advantages. The skills and abilities that veterans bring to college can be an asset in many ways. Their service experience may make them more self-sufficient than other students, and their leadership skills are invaluable inside and outside the classroom (both on-campus and online). Veterans shared experiences lend a unique perspective that can enhance the learning experience for all students. The following is a list of characteristics that may apply to veteran students. 

    • Many veterans are older and may be more mature than traditional college-age students.

    • Some veterans have more responsibilities, such as married life, children, and continuing military duties compared to traditional college-age students.

    • Some veterans have seen overseas combat, but not all veteran students have been in combat situations or have been overseas.

    • Some veterans have experienced war, death, horror, shock, fear, etc., and some may still be experiencing the physical and/or mental after-effects of deployment.

    • Veterans are, in general, very motivated and self-disciplined students, and can contribute to the classroom and campus life.

    Many veterans and military-affiliated students attend college using one of the GI Bills. GI Bill benefits help veterans and their families pay for college, graduate school, and training programs, but also come with specific stipulations and rules. ACC's Veterans Services helps veterans manage their benefits and get connected to a network of support and service.  ACC’s Veterans Resource Center, located at the ACC Highland Campus, offers the college's military and veteran students a central, one-stop location for obtaining essential support services such as VA certification and advising for VA benefits. The 4,000-square-foot center also features a lounge area where students can connect with peers and participate in veteran-specific activities.  ACC also offers VetSuccess on Campus, which provides a counselor to help veterans, active-duty military, and eligible family members obtain college and community services through hands-on assistance and referrals.

    Early College High School and Dual Credit Students

    Austin Community College offers programs for high school students that allow them to earn college credit while still enrolled in high school. The Early College High School Program offers qualified, motivated high school students to earn an associate degree (or up to 60 college credits) while earning their high school diplomas. Austin Community College and the partnering School District cover the cost of tuition, textbooks, transportation, and other fees. ECHS students save an average of $12,000 on tuition and fees.  All ECHS classes are taught by ACC faculty and are offered at ACC campuses, online, and in partnering high schools.

    ACC’s Dual Credit Program offers college classes to qualified high school students in the ACC service area.  Classes are taught by college faculty at an ACC campus, online, or at a high school campus. Tuition and fees are waived for in tax district students for up to 12 eligible classes.  Out of tax district students are assessed a $150 per course fee for up to 12 eligible classes. Types of eligible courses include core curriculum, workforce, and foreign language. ECHS and Dual Credit students are often in classes with traditional ACC students.

    The Office of High School and College Relations at ACC provides a variety of support services to assist students in their transition of beginning college while in high school. More than 8,300 high school students are enrolled at Austin Community College, earning college credits while completing high school. 

    Working Students

    Many students are employed in either a part-time or full-time capacity. Balancing college life with work-life may be a challenge. Time management skills and good organization can help. These students typically have two jobs—being a student and an employee. It can be a lot to balance.


    • College can bring great benefits such as increased income and lower unemployment but comes with the risk of time and money.
    • College brings new responsibilities and the expectations of college are very different from high school.
    • There are several different types of course delivery formats in college including lectures, labs, seminars, and independent study.
    • Many classes use technology to enhance the classroom experience, are taught solely online, or are a hybrid of classroom and online instruction.
    • There are different types of classes, including those required for your degree plan such as core courses and major required courses as well as electives.
    • There are many different kinds of college students and you will experience a diverse environment at a community college.

    Study Abroad

     Study Abroad

    Study-abroad courses and programs give students opportunities to learn certain subjects in a country other than their own. For many U.S. students, a typical time frame for studying abroad is one or two academic terms. Some schools, such as The Chicago School, offer shorter timeframes of 5-10 days to allow students with less flexibility or less funding to still participate. For many students, study-abroad experiences are life-changing.

    Tip: To succeed in studying abroad, it may be most important to communicate openly before, during, and after your experience. Learn as much about the culture in advance as possible. Keep up with studies, but take advantage of opportunities to socialize. Use social networking to connect with others who have traveled where you plan to go.

    The following video is one student’s account of why and how traveling abroad changed his life. You can download a transcript of the video here.

    Why YOU Should Study Abroad




    • Identify similarities and differences among different types of students compared to yourself


    • Think about your favorite class this term and about your fellow students in that class. Make a list of all the similarities with them that you sense, feel, or notice.
    • Then make a list of all the differences between you that you sense, feel, or notice.
    • What do these similarities and differences mean to you?





      • Manage the Transition to College. Authored by: Heather Syrett. Provided by: Austin Community College. License:  CC BY-NC-SA-4.0




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