You might think that you know all there is to know about college, and you just might. Or you might not. Here’s a quick look at some things you might not know or realize about college.
You’re In ChargeFrom the decision about where to go to college to deciding whether you want a bachelor’s degree in construction management or if you want to become a doctor, you’re the one behind the wheel. It goes beyond that, though. Like most students, one of the biggest changes you will face in going to college is that there isn’t anyone there to hold your hand.
Yes, there are professors and TAs who can give instructions and suggestions, but you’re the one who’ll need to get yourself out of bed, regardless of the weather or how you’re feeling, and get to class.
Your Parents Might Not Be Much HelpJust as they weren’t in the room when you were taking your college entrance exams, your parents might not be too much help. That being said, some students still hit up their parents multiple times each day in search of advice.
However, even parents with the best of intentions can lead students astray. Tune the parents out until you’ve gotten a firm grip on what’s expected of you from your professors.
AttendanceOnce you’ve gotten past the college admissions process and classes have started, you’ll find that, while attendance isn’t always a requirement, it’s still expected. One of the very first things that many students find out is that the class sizes in college can be massive.
In an environment like that, it's easy to be anonymous and to think that there really isn’t a reason for you to be there. However, you need to keep in mind that professors will make the assumption that you’ve been to all of their classes and won’t hesitate to ask test questions that focus on a single lecture.
Large Units of ContentAdults returning to college will know this, but first-time students might be surprised at how content is presented. While you might be used to having content doled out in entertaining short blasts, such as a 3-minute video on YouTube, an IM filled with abbreviations, or a tweet, your professors will have lectures lasting as long as an hour.
The good thing about this is that you’ll be able to adjust your focus from those short pops of content to sustained arguments. This will require you to retrain your existing attention span until you’re able to process large units of content.
Understanding Beats MemorizationSome courses might require a bit of memorization, but most courses will have exams that include essays. In nearly every single upper-division or advanced course, you’ll need to do more than simply regurgitate factoids you’ve memorized from textbooks and lectures. You’ll need to do a bit of analysis, apply various concepts to situations, or be able to organize data or material in an interesting new way.
Finally, remember that your professors are on your side and are there to help you. Some students view their professors as enemies who require defeat. The fact is that most professors are truly eager to teach their students and want to see you do quite well.
When your professor invites you into their office, communicates by Facebook, Skype, or email, or invites you to a review session, take it seriously. More than likely, it's meant to help you on your way to graduation. Professors aren’t there to hold you back, but to make sure that you’re able to move forward beyond the lecture halls.
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