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Old 04-11-2010, 05:19 PM
 
181 posts, read 363,142 times
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Default is college THAT much harder than high school?

I am going to be attending a pretty well respected liberal arts college next year, and yesterday was the accepted students day. Even though there is no doubt in my mind this college fits me in every aspect, being there yesterday made me realize how rigorous the workload is going to be. I am capable and up for the challenge, but I am just curious what some people here have to say about the transition from high school to college. Is it really that much harder?

Any input is much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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In every aspect a good college is more intense. more material requiring more in depth understanding. The material pushes you constantly so the key is to stay ahead of the workload. My daughter attended UC and her freshman year was really difficult and she was the valedictorian from her high school and dedicated.

She ended up getting her MPH in England and by that time she had it down. Like anything else it requires discipline. You get out of it what you put in.
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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The hard part is being mature enough to manage your own workload. You will have oodles of free time (you only have to be in class a few hours a day), and it's hard to make yourself read the textbook when your friends are watching movies or the sun is shining. Also, in larger classes there is little accountability. The teachers don't know (or care) if you've done the homework, so it's very easy to procrastinate and end up cramming for tests.

As far as the actual difficulty of the material? That's going to depend largely on the quality of your high school, and your chosen major. I found a huge gap between the difficulty of my high school physics to college physics, but other courses weren't much harder.
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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It depends on what kind of high school you went to, if you went to a school that is known for being very low-quality then college may be completely overwhelming for you. Some high schools are so bad that the students don't learn anything, it's terrible. But if you went to a good high school (which I'm assuming you did because you got into a respected liberal arts college) then it shouldn't be anything you can't handle. This is another reason why they tend to accept more students from private high schools than public. Public is always a mixed bag, some students come out and don't know how to write their own names, but private is usually always high quality education. You'll be fine.
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Earth
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It depends on where you went to high school and where you are going to college. Sometimes, it is advantageous not to take a full course load the first semester (or even the first year) until you get your bearings. It also will behoove you to balance your course load (i.e. a couple of difficult classes with a couple of easier classes, if possible).

It also depends on your work ethic and conscientiousness. Obviously, it is going to be harder to get straight A's, especially if taking 4-5 classes, and especially your first semesters. Once you establish positive routines, everything becomes much easier; by your senior year, four to five classes will be a breeze, even at the upper-level. Moreover, there is a difference between getting grades and actually learning. In fact, I would say that it is much more difficult to actually absorb all of the material and really learn it than it is to get straight A's, which is also difficult (but as far as I'm concerned, that's what separates the men from the boys; or, in this case, the students who will finish with a B.A. and those that will go on to grad school).

That said, yes, it is going to be more difficult, as least in terms of the material. However, you also will have more time to study, the opportunity to see your profs at office hours in case you are having trouble (which I highly recommend) and you will be able to manage your own schedule, which makes things much easier: when you're hungry, you can eat; when you're tired, you can sleep; if you can't make it to class, then you don't go without it being a big deal. When I was in college, the fact that I had control over my schedule/life made things much easier and more manageable. For other people, however, the lack of structure makes things more difficult; it all depends on your personality and what you're coming from.
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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Thanks everyone. The gist of what I am getting is that it's what you make it. I was able to get by pretty easily in high school without putting in much effort, so having good work ethic is definitely something i am going to need to address from the start.

Also, does anyone know what grad schools primarily look at when looking at applicants? I don't want to sound arrogant, but the school I am going to has a particularly high acceptance rate among grad schools and I just want to know what i should focus on in addition to my school work to help land me in a top grad school (i am studying psychology). Is it the same as applying to colleges where they look at ECs, SATs (not grad school though, but the same concept applies), recommendations, etc.. Do they take a more holistic view of the applicant or do they mainly look at who has better grades?


Thanks again and i really do appreciate everyone's responses!
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:38 PM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
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College is like heaven compared to high school, since you are not micro-managed at every turn. The folks at most colleges will not care if you show up and will not care if you flunk out..they will not care when they boot your ass to the curb.
Because of this, you must be resonsible for getting your work done, but it's great to be able to manage your time in your own way.
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRider23 View Post
Thanks everyone. The gist of what I am getting is that it's what you make it. I was able to get by pretty easily in high school without putting in much effort, so having good work ethic is definitely something i am going to need to address from the start.

Also, does anyone know what grad schools primarily look at when looking at applicants? I don't want to sound arrogant, but the school I am going to has a particularly high acceptance rate among grad schools and I just want to know what i should focus on in addition to my school work to help land me in a top grad school (i am studying psychology). Is it the same as applying to colleges where they look at ECs, SATs (not grad school though, but the same concept applies), recommendations, etc.. Do they take a more holistic view of the applicant or do they mainly look at who has better grades?


Thanks again and i really do appreciate everyone's responses!
As an undergrad with an eye for grad school, I would focus on:

--keeping your GPA up. At least above 3.0. 3.5 preferred.
--being a well-rounded individual: most schools require you submit a resume. What are you going to fill that page up with?
--establishing references with professors or other sources. Don't stalk your professors, just nurture relationships if you can.

Note that all of these things will be useful in getting a good job too, in the event that you don't get accepted to the school of your choice or change your mind about graduate school.

Ultimately, though, I think most schools would rather see an applicant who has lived a diverse and full life, than someone who has spent four years checking off items on their application checklist. Jump right in to college with both feet. Try new things and then find your niche. Don't merely get good grades, take provocative and challenging courses. Join a group or an activity outside of your comfort zone. Et cetera.
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:09 PM
 
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If it is a good college they will ease you into the school work. If you automatically fit in with the culture and you are similar to everyone there. Then you will have no problems. If you have family and friends nearby you then it should be even better.

In college. It is best to be similar to everyone else. That way you instantly form friendships and bonds with people.

I had to leave one college because I didn't fit in. I hated the campus culture. I didn't understand the whole "group-think" and "herd-learning" system. So I left. And I was far happier at a college that nurtured my individualism. I had more flexibility to do what I wanted to do. And I wasn't forced into doing what everyone else was doing.

And each college class varies. The majority of the classes are no different than your senior level classes in high school. Other classes will have mean, catty, absent minded, emotionally retarded, and inept professors. Sometimes you will be handed busy work and busy readings that add zero value to your professional life and your learning. If you find that the majority of your classes add zero value to your personal learning or professional life, then I suggest you move on to another program or another university.

I found that rankings really has nothing to do with how great a university truly is. Rankings aren't always accurate.

I personally loved my online courses. I learned so much and suggest a mix of online and on-campus courses.
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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I also suggest that you read this book and the reviews on amazon.com: Amazon.com: Profscam (9780312039165): Charles J. Sykes: Books
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