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Are You College-Ready?

When we talk about college readiness at the California State University, we are generally referring to the concept of showing that you are academically prepared for college-level math and English coursework.  However, experts have found actually four pillars of college readiness (Conley, 2008):

1) Key Cognitive Strategies: The ability to think critically and analytically is something that professors expect from incoming freshmen.  Not only can successful college students follow directions; they can think outside the box and use their cognitive powers to solve complex problems.

2) Key Content Knowledge: This is where the CSU definition comes into play.  Successful college students need the background knowledge and skills necessary to do college-level work, especially in the key areas of English and math.  Learning is a building process, and the importance of a strong foundation cannot be emphasized enough.

3) Key Self-Management Skills:  In college, organization and time management skills are crucial.  The bulk of your work will take place on your own time outside the classroom.  You'll need to be able to work successfully both independently and in a group, and to ask for help when needed.  Your success will be contingent upon you and your ability to prioritize; resources will be available to help you, but it will be your job to seek them out.

4) Key Knowledge about Postsecondary Education: Processes such as applying to and selecting a college, securing financial aid, and choosing a major require more specialized knowledge than many people realize.  From being aware of admissions requirements and registration deadlines to understanding the cultural differences between high school and college, stellar entering students do their research and put a great deal of thought into all that becoming a college student entails.

It's important to note that nearly every incoming college student is stronger in some of these areas than others.  Choose the ones that you think are your weak points and make an effort to improve them.  Are you that person who always leaves her homework sitting on the kitchen table?  Take the next semester to get organized.  Don't know what the A-G requirements are?  Check out these college-going resources for more information.  Is math your least favorite subject?  Challenge yourself and decrease your chance of needing remediation by over 50% by taking a senior year math course.  Taking these steps now will save you time and money at the college level, and make the transition from high school to college much more enjoyable.

Work Cited: Conley, D. T. (2008), Rethinking college readiness. New Directions for Higher Education, 2008: 3–13. doi: 10.1002/he.321