“Transitioning from High School to a Post-Secondary Institution – What to Expect – Sunny Rakhra”

Every year thousands of students graduate from high school and look to pursue their life goals through post-secondary education. Leading up tstudents-with-laptopso the first day, students are excited about moving out, learning about a specific discipline, and having lots of freedom.  However by the end of the first week, some students are overwhelmed with the new responsibilities and changes.  I have described below four significant things I wish I knew prior to beginning my undergraduate studies.

  1. Professors are great!

Without a doubt, the relationship among students and professors is considerably different than the relationship between students and high school teachers. The class sizes are exponentially larger and some individuals may feel intimidated by professors. Consequently, students may be reluctant to ask professors for help.  Through personal experiences, I have come to a conclusion that professors are among the most helpful individuals on campus, because they hold scheduled office hours for students and are exceptional sources for career guidance.

  1. Independence

Whereas high school teachers might consistently remind students about upcoming assignments and exams, university professors might remind students about an upcoming assignment or exam only once or twice. Clearly, as students enter a post-secondary institution, it is the students’ responsibility to complete the assigned work and readings independently. Essentially, the university experience revolves around the goal of promoting independence.

  1. Sleep-Grades-Socialize

I am sure everyone has heard about how university students are only capable of choosing two-of-three options when it comes to sleeping, socializing, and obtaining good grades. However, such a statement is false, as many students are able to systematically balance all three options.  All it takes is excellent time-management skills, as such a skill will allow you to balance good grades, spending time with your friends, and obtaining the sleep your body requires.

  1. Make a schedule

Studies have indicated that it takes approximately twenty-one days to form a new habit or routine (Clear, n.d.).  With that in mind, establishing a study schedule will not only have a positive impact on an students’ grades and mental stress, but can also improve their time-management skills. Such positive outcomes are evident because once I began to follow a schedule, I saw a noticeable difference in my grades, while having much more leisure time.

In short, being prepared and recognizing the importance of making a schedule, understanding that professors are a vital tool for success, fostering the responsibility of independence, and defying the false ideology around sleep, grades, and friends will provide students a sufficient foundation on what to expect during the adjustment period

Finally, the University of Waterloo has Transition Programs  available for new students to make the adjustment process much smoother (University of Waterloo, n.d.).


Clear, J. (n.d.). How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit? Retrieved 2015, from James Clear: http://jamesclear.com/new-habit

University of Waterloo. (n.d.). Access Ability Services. Retrieved from https://uwaterloo.ca/disability-services/future-students/transition-programs