College is a big transition - you're going to be granted a lot of independence, and for most students that's great. But with more independence, of course, comes more responsibility. Once you earn your high school diploma, education gets more serious. Professors won't chase you for homework, exams can often be do-or-die, and there is usually less guidance and support.
There are some things you can do the summer before college, however, to make the transition a bit easier:
After you finish your high school diploma, you need to start developing a college “rhythm”. You'll have a lot of out-of-class work, so get into a rhythm: read for two hours every day and keep your room clean, as a clean room is a better room to study in. You should also try to wake up every day at a certain time.
It's a great idea to read the first few chapters of every textbook you buy. Your reading load will probably be higher than it was while pursuing your high school diploma. By reading ahead, you will give yourself some breathing room for when classes commence.
Want to know how you can show off your intelligence? Connect issues, concepts, and challenges in the classroom to real world, current events. Every day you should spend time reading up on current events, especially in the area you want to study. Being up-to-date is more important in college than it was while earning your high school diploma.
If you are signed up for classes and know who your professor is, you might be able to get the class syllabus. They may not always be able to provide the syllabus, but most professors will appreciate your initiative. Studying the class structure, expectations, and assignments is important because they will be different than the classes you took while pursuing your high school diploma.
In many cases, you'll be able to find biographies and other information on leading minds in the field you want to study. Want to go to medical school? Try “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, which follows Paul Farmer, a leading doctor. These kind of books can help you understand the field and provide inspiration.