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Are Teens Ready for Postsecondary School?

Math and reading decline

Your teen got accepted to postsecondary school! Congratulations! But are they ready for the reality of the demands of college or university?

Having great grades alone does not mean that teens also have the skills necessary to succeed in college and university. Various studies show that many students find postsecondary more challenging than they realized.

The 2011 Youth in Transition Survey (YITS) from Statistics Canada revealed that 14 per cent of first-year students drop out of their university program. source.

77 percent of university dropouts occur at the end of the second year. Source

Other data show around 40% of undergraduate students leave universities and colleges every year. Source

College Not-So-Prepped

Heading to college or university is a major transition phase in every student’s life. And much like back-to-school during elementary and high school, after the excitement of the back-to-school season has worn off, reality sets in.

The added freedom and personal responsibility teens face can be both good and bad.

Common Challenges in University & College

There are a variety of reasons that teens might not be as ready as they thought they were. Some of the most common reasons students cite for leaving postsecondary school include:

  • Financial Pressure. Based on research from ThinkImpact (2021), 38% of students admit to dropping out because of financial pressure. Provided the increasing expenses of higher education as well as the difficulty of finding scholarships, grants, and financial aid, low-income students often cannot keep up with university demands. source. 20 percent of Canadian graduates with a bachelor degree finish their postsecondary career CAD $25,000 or more in debt
  • Poor Academic Performance. Academic demands intensify in college and university. High-performing high school students may find themselves suddenly in the lower tier of academic performance, which can be disheartening for them.
  • Poor Work-Life Balance. Between school work and jobs, many students have little time for socialization. The added demands on time can stress even the most organized student with strong social connections. First-year students who do not have someone on campus to talk about personal issues with were 1.54 times more likely to drop out.

Four Skills To Strengthen Postsecondary Success:

  1. Non-Cognitive Skills are becoming increasingly important to colleges and universities, especially gritacademic determination and dedication. Students who possess these non-cognitive skills tend to earn higher GPAs overall. Students with these qualities are more likely to attend classes regularly, remain focused and maintain steady academic performance.
  2. Learn about the Learning Process. Most students focus on learning to remember material for a test, rather than focusing on the learning process itself. Paying attention to the learning process and focusing on achieving mastery in a subject can is a key skill all students can develop and use in any learning situation. The ability to learn about a topic or subject independent of the teacher’s process is an invaluable skill.
  3. Accept failure as part of the learning process. Failure is a part of learning. While the idea of failing can seem scary, it helps students develop learning skills, boost their sense of determination, and build self-esteem. Failure is an opportunity to grow. While no student wants to get a bad mark, the skills students use to study for a test are, in the long run, more important than the result of a single test. Consistency and effort are habits that help students learn from setbacks and keep going forward.
  4. Develop Solid Study Skills. If there is one skill that American teens have as a result of preparing for the SAT and the ACT, it’s strong study skills. There are a lot of demands on students’ time in university. That’s why study skills, time management, and organization are key skills for success in college and university.

College Prep & Postsecondary Success

Getting accepted into college or university is only the first step to postsecondary success. Students need to ensure that, along with good grades, they have the skills necessary to continue to adapt to the changing demands of university. A good college prep and study skills course can help teens hone the skills that they will need in college. 

Oxford Learning’s Study Skills Tutoring ensures teens have the skills for success in college and university.

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