Getting to your high school graduation is no small accomplishment. You’ve worked hard, had some great times and some not so great times, and here you are ready to move on to college. Many who are moving on to college don’t really know what to expect. For some of you, you know you’ll be moving away and living in a dorm, but that’s really the most of your knowledge. Most likely you’ve talked to your parents and to college admissions people who have told you that college will be different. Maybe harder than you expect. So, what will be different? Here are some things to consider:
1. Larger classes
If you are going to a university, then prepare for your classes to be much larger than you experienced in high school. In most high schools, a crowded class means an excess of 30 people in the class. In college, some of your classes are going to be in may be in a lecture hall that has a hundred or more in a class. This situation changes the manner in which subject matter is taught to the class and definitely changes how much one-on-one time you might be able to get with your instructor.
2. More homework and faster pace
While often there will be less actual homework to be turned in, there will be a lot of study time. Treat your study time like homework that you have to do each night. You’ll want to stay on top of your studies. Tests often weigh more on your grade in college than they did in high school. You’ll also typically take a class once or twice per week. Since you aren’t there every day, there is less time to present all of the subject matter that needs to be presented for the class. This means that the teacher will move more quickly, and require more individual reading and study. Keeping caught up on reading and study is essential. Students who get behind really struggle to catch up.
3. Less supervision/structure
Your family isn’t around to remind you to study, or to let you know not to forget about the test on Tuesday. Your professor has many more students in each class then your high school teacher did, and will likely not check in with you if you are doing badly in the class. It’s up to you to keep yourself in line. There really isn’t anyone to help keep you on track.
4. Temptation to Distraction
There are lots of great things about college. There are clubs, and fraternities to join. There are social things to do. There are parties and sports events. If you are living on campus in a new place, there could be an entire new city to explore. Do these things! Part of college is the experience, so go out and have some fun. Just remember that moderation in all things is the key to happiness. Don’t let your new freedom, friends, and hobbies distract you from your studies. Schedule your study time and stick to your schedule.
5. You are paying for it!
Unless you are one of the lucky few who have parents who are able to pay your entire way through college, or have gotten some amazing set of scholarships that pays for everything, you’ll have loans to pay off at the end of your college career. It’s something to keep in mind. In high school, if you did badly in a class, you might have to re-take it. The same goes for college – except that in college you’ll also pay for the class again.
This education has value and it comes with a price tag. For some reason, when you remember that, you tend to work harder. College is expensive, so you might as well get your money’s worth out of each class you take.