Build a Support System

Successful students use a variety of available resources to build support systems. Does your school offer tutoring or informal student study groups? Have you met with teachers or professors? Your high school counselor, GEAR UP Coordinator, or college academic advisor? There are many free resources to help students transition to college and get personal, health, financial, and academic support.

Schools have support programs designed just for you. All you have to do is ask. There is no shame, embarrassment, or anger in asking for help. You belong there, and the staff wants you to succeed. They have experience helping students overcome obstacles. Self-advocacy is a major key to success.

  • Get organized. Stay on top of assignments and tests with a planner or calendar and keep loose papers in a folder or binder so nothing gets lost.
  • Get help. Ask your teachers, classmates, parents, and siblings for support if there’s something you don’t understand.
  • Sit front and center. Students who sit in the front and center of the classroom have been shown to achieve higher average test scores.
  • Attendance matters. Be sure to attend classes regularly.
  • Hang out with friends who work hard in school. Research shows that good (and bad) grades are contagious, so choose your friends wisely.
  • Have a growth mindset. Transitions are challenging for everyone. 
  • Read more about it. Working with Your High School Counselor and What's a Mentor and How Can I Get One?
  • Need help connecting to resources? If you are in GEAR UP, you can email Annie, our GEAR UP Program Associate for Student Support Services (and friendly support navigator) to help you understand your options. 

Considering A Gap Year Due To COVID-19? For current high school seniors, here is what you need to know about taking a gap year or deferring enrollment before making a decision.
This "Summer Melt" student guide contains information on critical next steps. It also covers resources and support, registration, tips for commuters, common stages in the first year, strategies for students planning to transfer, and financial aid information.
A Family Guide: Supporting Your Child After High School
The purpose of this document is to provide support to families as their child transitions to college. The content aims to ease the initial transition to college by facilitating an on-going dialogue between a student and their family who may lack knowledge about college. It provides strategies to coach their student. The focus of this resource is to normalize the “first-year experience,” to counteract the “imposter syndrome.”  The strategies help set realistic expectations and problem-solving behaviors that students will need in order to be successful in college. (Available in Arabic, Chuukese, Marshallese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.)
  • Handout: Make Your College Plans a Reality
    There are important steps that need to be completed over the summer for you to be able to enroll in the fall. The tasks listed are common to most colleges. (Available in Arabic, Chuukese, Marshallese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.)
  • Handout: Resources & Support Services to Navigate Your Way
    This list identifies common student support resources found at college. Review your college or university’s website. Identify what supports you may need, and what is available on your campus.
  • Handout: Resource Scenarios
    These are common scenarios that students encounter during their first year in college. Using your college or university’s website and the handout: Resources & Support Services to Navigate Your Way, identify what resource(s) can help in each scenario on your future campus.
  • Handout: Differences Between High School and College
    For use with the Activity Guide-Preparing Students For The Transition To College.
  • Handout: Information for First-Year Students
    The First Year in Five Stages. The transition from high school to college is an important milestone. Many students who live on-campus or commute experience a wide range of emotions during their first year at college. These emotions are normal and often occur in five stages. This timeline includes examples of things students commonly face during their first year of college.
  • Growth Mindset for College Students. A free, evidence-based program designed to increase students' engagement, motivation, and ultimately success by laying the foundation for a growth mindset.