Well, we’ve hit the time of year when thousands of New Jersey students will be off to their first semester of college.

Parents, you’re going to have your worries, and that’s entirely understandable. But keep in mind your kids are going through the same thing.

To the new college freshman, this is understandably a nerve-racking time in your life. But it’s also an exciting one!

TSM Illustration
TSM Illustration

Nobody can prepare you for exactly what you’re going to face in college. Everyone’s situation is different. But I’m going to do my best to provide a few tips on how to get acclimated in your new environment.

Below are five tips I wish I knew before I went to college.

🏫 Get involved — Whether it’s in a club, club sport, or joining a fraternity/sorority putting yourself out there in college is huge. You’ll be thrust into meeting new people that share similar interests as you.

🏫 Time management — You're on your own in college. There isn't a set schedule for when you need to get certain things done. It's up to you to decide when it's time to do homework and when it's time to see friends. Make sure you allow for time each day to get work done.

🏫 College professors do care about you — This is a common misconception among high school teachers. You'll frequently hear about how your college professors don't care if you pass or fail. And in some minor cases that might be true, but most professors absolutely want you to pass and see you excel. They aren't robots. Nobody wants to see their student fail.

🏫 Show up to class — An easy one! Showing up to class might seem expected when you're in high school. But in college your schedule won't feel anything like high school. Your classes will be at different times of day, and sometimes hours apart from one another. Make sure you show up to every class. It can be easy to want to skip, but it's only going to hurt you in the long haul.

🏫 Reach out to your professors if you’re struggling — You’re on your own now. Mom and dad can’t keep track of your grades anymore. It’s up to you to be on top of them and admit when you’re struggling. A professor is miles more likely to help you if you come to them and say you’re struggling.

With all this being said, college is what you make of it. Commit to trying to make it a great experience and you'll really enjoy these next four years. I'm rooting for you!

New Jersey high school graduation rates

The lists below show 4-year graduation rates for New Jersey public schools for the 2020-21 school year. The statewide graduation rate fell slightly, from 91% in 2019-20 to 90.6%.

The lists, which are sorted by county and include a separate list for charter schools, also include a second graduation rate, which excludes students whose special education IEPs allow them to qualify for diplomas despite not meeting typical coursework and attendance requirements.

Columns with an asterisk or 'N' indicate there was no data or it was suppressed to protect student privacy.

The 30 worst rated schools in New Jersey

Here are the 30 lowest-rated schools statewide, based on their 2021-2022 New Jersey School Performance Reports — involving scores for language arts, math and attendance. (For an explanation of how the state calculates the "accountability indicator scores" and overall rating for each school, see page 90 of this reference guide.)

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5's Kyle Clark. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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