Students in the grades 9-12 are under a lot of stress. These are the ages that require students to make major decisions about who and what they want to be. What major should they pursue? In a changing and dynamic world how can they be sure they are making the right choices? Who are the trusted and influential people that can help them make the right decisions? As such, the right kind of college prep and education can help students prepare for five key challenges they will face in their very near future.
Students all share the stress of believing their future depends on their doing well in the present. They also stress from knowing their familiar routines and relationships will change. Each student is unique and will respond differently to the thought of being dependent or independent away from home. Some students are not shy in asking for and accepting parental support. Other students are not forthcoming about sharing important details with their parent.
There is a balance that comes with transition. Parents want to remain in the loop, and many students do not want to feel like parents are prying into their life. Some students also come face-to-face with the reality that their college of choice may have fallen short of expectations. Rarely can an admissions pamphlet convey a complete story of what life will be like on its college campus.
College academics is a step or two up from what some students may experience in grades 9-12. While a student can perform well in school, college prep courses are on a different level. Some students may have to adjust to a more rigorous style of grading.
Students should already have strong study habits to take on the rigors of college classes. At the college level, no one will force students to study or attend class. No one will lecture students on the merits of getting enough sleep. Each student will have to develop a schedule that works for them.
College prep proposes to give students the tools and support needed to figure out how to navigate college. Students will expend a lot of personal energy and time at first trying to bond with their new college environment. There are a host of new rituals that may seem strange and foreign. College food may even seem strange and completely different from the student’s home cooking.
Of course, the college dress code will also likely be different. Students transitioning into college may also find themselves exposed to less mature students and certain promiscuous behaviors. Students that arrive to college with a strong set of ethics are better able to handle temptations.
New Relationship Challenges
College life is all about building new relationship and leaving a significant number behind. While many students keep up with old friends, a significant number of others eventually go their own ways. This can be a new experience for many students who have had the same friends since grade school or middle school.
There is also the reality that students will find themselves in an environment of a diverse set of cultures. Students may also find themselves exposed to others with different sexual orientations. Then of course students may discover a whole new set of racial differences. Students will meet others who exude confidence along with others who appear to be quite needy.
The Challenge of the Loss of Family Structure
With family relationships come sets of different values and different ways of doing things. Many students are use to a neat, structured life with plenty of quiet and solitude. Some students are at ease and relaxed around other people. Others will find it challenging to share a room with another student.
Then there will be those times that one student may ask to switch roommates. The family dynamic is one that can provide support in every area. When students enter college away from home, this support structure is no longer available in exactly the same way.
The Monterey Bay Academy is a coeducational Christian boarding high school. Students benefit because the school’s curriculum and body of ethics all focus on preparing students for college and ultimately life. The academy’s commitment to excellence, college prep, and Christian values can take students a long way in life.