Taking the Step from High School to College 
St. Charles Company Helps Students Succeed, and Beat the Odds Stacked Against Them 

June 15, 2005: ST. CHARLES, MO – The months leading up to a young adult’s first semester of college can be a stressful, nerve-wracking time, full of anticipation, excitement, and worry. A recent report in the New York Times states that many colleges lose anywhere from 20% - 30% of their freshman class. In addition, after 6 years, only 54% of freshmen will have earned their degrees. These statistics are of concern to both students and parents who strive to succeed in college. 

Greg Rupp, President of Educational Funding and Financial Aid Services, recommends preparation and several tips to help students overcome freshman-year challenges, and establish a pattern for success: 

1. Choose the school that’s best for you. This isn’t necessarily the school that’s best for your friend or neighbor. You must feel comfortable in your college environment, and feel a sense of belonging there. 
2. Get involved. Becoming a member of an organization or participating in an extra-curricular activity greatly increases your chances of succeeding in college. Find an organization that shares your interests and you will develop a sense of involvement, gain lifelong friendships, and take a step towards building your resume’ for the future. 
3. Find a balance. If you spend every hour of free time studying, you’re likely to rip your hair out. If you spend it all playing Frisbee golf or shopping, you won’t make it to your 2nd year of college. It is important for you to find the right balance of work and play to maximize your potential for success. 
4. Your success is in your hands. Unlike high school, your college instructors will likely not take a strong vested interest in helping you make the grade, because it is not their job. The key to being successful in college is to develop a sense of academic independence. 
5. Keep an eye on your credit spending. College can be expensive enough with just tuition, housing, and food costs. The last thing you need is a mounting credit card bill. The best way to gain discretionary spending money as a college student is through a part-time job- not the hundreds of credit card offers in your mailbox. 
6. Take advantage of University resources. Most universities offer resources to help students make a smooth transition to college life, as well as academic and personal advisors to assist with issues throughout your college career. 

According to Rupp, these six steps, among others, will help students avoid becoming statistics. He adds that this issue must be taken seriously, as lawmakers in at least 27 states are considering tying future financial aid to an institution’s ability to graduate its’ freshmen – something that will greatly impact many if enacted. 

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