So with the fall semester approaching fast I thought a fun post was in order. Just like there are always two sides to every coin, the college experience also has two sides. The myth and the reality.
The College Student Experience: Expectation vs. Reality
New incoming students come to school with an idea in their heads about what they believe their college experience is going to look like. What they usually get is no where near what they imagined.
Depending on the person the focus of college differs. Some focus on the parties that are taking place, while other on the more studious natures they find.
Each person’s experience in college will be different depending on the school and major or program that they decide to per sue, but there are still some realities and myths that students should know.
Truth or False: Financial Aid is better gained before you become a College Freshman
This is one that is I hear so much. Some people assume that once you start college you will have a harder time getting financial aid. Or that they don’t qualify for aid, so they don’t even apply for it. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
One thing that I tell students that I’m helping is that you qualify for more than you think you do. There are so many grants and scholarships out there, all you need to do is look. Whether you are an incoming freshman or entering into Graduate school, there is something out there for you.
What people need to keep in mind is that financial aid can be gotten at anytime. Don’t let the fact that you’re not right out of high school or a freshman in college stop you.
Take the time. Look around and don’t let setbacks stop you. There are scholarships that are geared towards just about everyone. You would be surprised by all the different scholarships that are out there.
Truth or False: You can always count on Extra Credit!
Well mostly. For the most part college professors don’t really give extra credit. There are of course those who will give opportunities, but these are few and far between. Be on the lookout for them, but don’t count on them.
From the start of my associate’s and bachelor’s degree and through my current master’s program, over 8 or 9 years, I can probably count on one hand… maybe both hands the number of times extra credit has been offered. For the most part it was only ever offered to those who showed that they were willing to do the work.
And usually if you did the work you were not in need of the extra credit.
Depending on the professor the extra credit itself was hardly ever an easy assignment. I ended up having to do an alternative assignment once and it turned into an extensive 12 page research paper.
All I can say is never count on extra credit to save you. It might push you from that B+ to that A, so make sure that you do your best work on every assignment that you turn in. Because chances are that you won’t get a do over.
Truth or False: Good Grades is the important thing
Ok, yes. Good grades are pretty much the point of college. You need the best grades to get what you want, to makes sure that your GPA stayed up. But that does not mean that if you don’t get straight A’s then your academic career is over.
Yes your grades will be looked at, but your experiences matter as well.
Most jobs, whether they are entry level or not, will be looking for individuals who are at the very least familiar with the work they will be doing. Find that internship or part-time job that will get you that familiarity.
Truth or False: Always assume that for every 1 hour of class you will have to study for at least 3 hours.
Yes. Don’t believe me, google it. If you are not doing this, then you should. Most new incoming college students have difficulties with this.
Why you ask? Because not only are you entering a new realm full of new social opportunities but you are also coming in from High School and there is an entirely different group of studying rules at play here. This is probably the first time that you’ll be living on your own and having to figure out how to manage everything on you’re own.
Those first couple of weeks it’s going to be rough, it’s going to be overwhelming with schoolwork, and labs. You’ll have your professor’s seemingly under the impression that their class is the only one you are taking.
One of the biggest reasons that I hear that it takes so much more study time in college than it does in High School is because that the material and work is much more in depth than what you have studied before. So this of course means that it takes more time for you to learn.
Of course, the side benefit of the long and extra hours that you have to study is that it will now accommodate all the chapters and books you will be reading and the papers that you will be writing. I recommend making friends with the library staff for the inside help on research databases.
Just remember, it takes time to learn and read. It takes time to write a paper. Do not assume that you can knock out that 5-10 page paper in a day and have it be an A.
The general rule is that it takes at least 3 hours extra for every 1 hour class. If you are able to finish up early, good for you. If not then at least you have the time already scheduled.
Figure out how you study best. Is it easier to study on the weekends or in the mornings or the evenings. Divide it up to a couple hours in the morning and a couple in the evening.
A really good way to keep you organized is to get a planner or calendar to write it all down.
Truth or False: These should be the Best years of your life
Answer: That’s Up to You!
In college you are the only one who can decide if this is your reality or myth. I myself look back on my years in undergrad and even some in graduate school and loved every minute. I wish I had gone back to school sooner, but other than that I loved it. It wasn’t always great but I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it.
The choice is as always yours. How will your make the most of your years?
Is there any other realities or myths that you can think of? Comment down below.
Until Next Time!