Help Your New Students Bridge the Gap From High School to College

A Good Start: Helping First-Year Students Acclimate to College

We’ve all seen the shocked look on first-year students when they see their midterm grades. Too often, that is the first time they realize that college academics are very different from high school academics.

Many first-year students arrive at college unprepared. It’s not that they aren’t smart or motivated. Instead, what they’re experiencing is a gap between the academic culture in high school and the culture of the university. These students arrive on campus thinking they are ready when no one has told them the rules have changed.

To make things worse, many college instructors are unaware of the experiences that shape these students’ expectations in three key areas:

  1. Testing – In some high schools, students may redo failed tests, quizzes, and projects until they achieve the desired grade.
  2. Attendance – Some schools make excused absences easy to obtain, and expectations for makeup work may be just as loose.
  3. Grading – Grading on a relative scale sometimes means that a grade of 25% can be a passing grade.

It’s no wonder so many students stumble. The expectations, policies, and procedures in college are completely different. That’s why someone has to teach them how to be a college student.

Watch a brief clip from the seminar:

A Good Start: Helping First-year Students Acclimate to College will teach you the practical skills and strategies needed to help incoming students learn the expectations, policies, and practices of their new educational environment.

Led by Dr. Mary C. Clement, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Berry College, this seminar first maps the changes in high school academic practices in the last 10–20 years. Then it outlines and explains some of the key things you can do to give your students a greater chance to succeed.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Discover your students’ academic background and use that information to target your teaching
  • Communicate your expectations in the manner most likely to encourage positive changes in your students
  • Draft effective grading policies that eliminate confusion and promote clarity
  • Build policy reminders and explanations into the curriculum to maintain standards throughout the semester
  • Develop tools to help your students succeed in your class and beyond

When you can help more of your students begin their college careers on a better footing, everyone benefits. This online seminar delivers both useful information and practical training to help you put your new skills into practice. Order a copy today to help your students make the most of their college experience — this year and every year after.

When you order the recording of this seminar on CD, you’ll also receive the complete transcript.

An optional Campus Access License is available for an additional $200. It allows the purchasing institution to upload the CD of the seminar onto the institution’s password-protected internal website for unlimited access by the entire campus community.

Who will benefit?
This seminar is intended for:

  • Full- and part-time faculty (especially those who teach underclassmen)
  • Teaching assistants
  • Department Chairs
  • Deans

If you have any questions contact Customer Service at 800-433-0499 or (608) 246-3590 or email us at

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