As you have probably noticed, university and college guides are designed for the average or below average student. You, however, are anything but average.
Sadly, being smart does not always equal college success. Every student, no matter their intellectual capabilities, experiences an adjustment period during the first semester.
Some students area little more prepared for this period because of the advice in helpful guides and informative articles. Most of these articles explain simple concepts like basic study skills and general time management. Top-of-the-class students, like you, have already mastered all of that! What you need is a guide specifically for smart kids.
So, maybe you were salutatorian or valedictorian. Maybe you were in the top 10 or 15 percent of your class and an honor graduate. You shined all your years in your studies and you expect to shine in university or college. Remember, though, that depending upon the academic requirements of your new school, most of your fellow classmates will be on par with your scholastic achievements.
In fact, you could easily be the top student in high school, but the bottom of the intellectual food chain in college. It can be jarring to go to a new place and suddenly be considered average, particularly if you are accustomed to being the smartest. Do not let this affect your confidence or self-worth. College is about learning who you are and finding yourself. You need to remember that a college education is so much more than a classroom experience.
Even the smartest students have to take General Education courses, usually truncated to Gen Ed. Even technical schools and Ivy League institutes are incorporating an increasing number of Gen Ed classes into their programs. This forces humanitarian students to add hard sciences to their schedules and technical students to embrace some of the humanities. In theory, this makes for well-rounded individuals. However, most of the Gen Ed requirements are introductory level classes. Intro courses are typically some of the largest offered by the school, and also some of the most boring.
Be prepared to sit through an hour and a half lecture about a simple concept you understood in middle school, only to spend the next 30 minutes exhaustively rehashing it so that everyone understands. Making sure all 150 freshmen are on the same page is tedious. Of course, the number of students in the class will vary from college to college, from 40 to hundreds, but one aspect is constant regardless of class size. These courses are primarily filled with freshmen. Do not mistakenly judge the rigor or quality of a university based on an intro course. Gen Ed classes, as a whole, are typically toned down, menial classes taught by professors who would prefer to be doing anything else. Reserve judgement for upper-level, major-specific classes; in more advanced courses, the professors are more passionate, the students are more engaged, and the material is more interesting.
Typically, earning good grades is easier in high school because there is a plethora of assignments. In college, you may have an entire course that only has one or two assignments, like a final exam or intensive research paper. That does not mean you cannot earn top grades, but you need to be prepared for the pressure that accompanies having 50 to 100 percent of your grade dependent upon a single assignment. Average kids might look at this grading system and feel relieved. After all, there is only one test to study for, right? But you, being the good student that you are, know better. You know that a single exam worth two or three times as much as a normal exam requires two or three times the amount of preparation.
You are perfectly capable of studying and doing well on such an exam, but you will have to manage your level of anxiety. While the more average students will be learning both time management and study skills in addition to dealing with stress, you only need to adjust to the stress.