To be frank, I didn’t really need to “try” in high school. My small town, public school of about 600 students total did not boast impressive research opportunities or robotics clubs, advanced STEM courses or top notch professors. So, I was left with no other option than to make my way through what was called the “honors track”, completing the same classes that anyone who had any slight inclination to academics took. In all honesty, my high school education was not nearly as stimulating and gaging as I would have hoped it would be; therefore, the thought of transitioning to the academic rigor of what could be seen as an upper echelon university was very daunting.
In my opinion, the transition from high school to college is difficult not so much in the material itself, but the depth do which one must understand and be able to manipulate. From my experience, I found myself coasting through second semester senior year, not engaging myself too much in my work, and enjoying the summer without too much thought of what I would be studying come the fall. This, of course, is quite normal; however, it is important to slow stimulate yourself academically so that you do not need to jump from having done nothing in months to possibly working harder than you have ever before. One way to achieve this simulation is through content on the internet—I found online courseware to be most helpful. Many top universities post video lectures and reading materials outlining entire courses. This is a good way to get your mind back into shape, and explore subjects you may be interested in studying.
In most cases, registration for your fall semester will occur at some point over the summer. Knowing what courses you will be taking is extremely helpful in that you can begin to brush up on certain material, or start learning ahead. My main advice would be to read through the syllabus of the course, which can almost always be found through your schools website. For high school students, the idea of a syllabus may be foreign—essentially, it is a mapping of the course and its components. From here, you will see any required reading you will need, and which topics will be covered throughout the semester. My approach almost all aspects of life is that there will be many things that are out of my control, but those that are must be taken advantage of. Reading ahead and getting a feel for the material of a particular course is the best way to ease into ease into a semester. You will be making many adjustments, getting used to new people, finding a group of friends, and living away from home, which could all get in the way of your school work. Having a basic foundation for the first few weeks of lectures is definitely reassuring, and I would highly recommend this path.