As you prepare to start your freshman year of college, you’ve probably begun thinking about how different life will be as an undergrad. Beyond adjusting to dorm life and making new friends, you’ll be faced with an entirely new perspective on academics. Here are a few ways in which your college courses will be far different than high school’s.
One of the most surprising things about college classes is the attendance policy. In high school, walking into class late could result in a stern lecture about punctuality, detention or even suspension. While some professors are sticklers for steady attendance, others couldn’t care less if students decide to take an impromptu sick day. This might seem like a good thing, but you’ll be solely responsible for catching up on any work you miss (and there will probably be a lot).
In high school, you can generally get away with listening in class and reading from the textbook to prepare for an exam. However, note-taking is far more important during college seminars and lectures. Don’t be surprised if your professors make a habit of including information on the test that you can’t find in your assigned readings or homework – they may want to see if you’re actually listening.
Going to class is essentially a full-time job in high school – you’re in the building around 7 am and you stay there until at least 2 pm. College classroom time is totally different. You may have some days where you’re in class for several hours, while the next day you don’t have any at all. The trick is managing this free time well so you don’t let studying and homework assignments pile up in favor of your personal life.