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Things I Wish I Knew before College

High school transition is a stressful time, especially for students with learning disabilities, neurodiversity or mental health conditions. Some of our Different Choices students shared advice and lessons learned in their transition from high school to college. Here are four practical tips to keep in mind when you start college:

  • Don’t pay for textbooks. Use sites such as Library Genesis or Bookboon. Talk to the financial aid office about available grants and whether your aid covers books. Ask your professor about ways to get them for free.

    In addition, most communities have a place where students can buy used print textbooks for less money than new ones (and trade in their old textbooks).

  • You will need to select all of your courses from now on. It can be exciting—and sometimes overwhelming!—to go through the course catalog and narrow down your options. Many courses require you to have taken other courses already, and not all courses are offered each semester. There may be courses required for your major that are only available to juniors and seniors.

    Work with your academic advisor to carefully develop a plan that makes sure you fit in your requisite courses and graduate on time.

  • Making friends with your professors will lead to valuable connections and good recommendation letters. Be sure to show up to office hours!

  • Take any required classes that you can at a less expensive university and then transfer in the credits. However, be sure to check how many credits you are allowed to transfer; you can check the transfer policy on a college’s website.

Looking for more tips like these? Have questions? Sign up for the Daring to Succeed Anyway: Students Share Their Stories panel discussion from 1 to 2 p.m. ET at this year’s Different Choices on Sept. 24. The Different Choices 2022 Virtual College & Career Fair offers students, families, caregivers and educators a wealth of resources for students making a successful transition from high school to young adulthood. Learn how to make a successful transition from high school!

Graphic image sharing that the event is on September 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 pm. Eastern time
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Schools for Children is a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Gifts and donations to support programs like Different Choices may be tax-deductible.

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