Unfortunately, high school does not fully prepare you for the college experience you signed up for.
When your around 17-19 years old, the push to further your education is often brought up on more than one occasion. In some cases, your told that college is more challenging then the many years of schooling you’ve grown accustomed too, in others it’s more fun and liberating as your finally given the chance to experience and explore new opportunities, but in the end it’s never exactly mentioned just how drastically different the approach to learning is for a college student compared to a regular high schooler.
Well, here’s a chance for you to get ahead of the game and understand a bit more about what your getting yourself into! Here are 11 secrets you should know about before going to college.
1. Transportation Will No Longer Be Free
If you normally took the regular yellow school bus too school back in your high school days, you can, unfortunately, kiss that opportunity goodbye. Depending on the college you attend, you might not even be able to take your own vehicle on school grounds, however, with this rule in place you will more then likely be given a discount on public transportation, such as taxi’s, shuttles, and bike rentals. If the school does not propose such an offer, they will still provide the transportation needed for their students to make it to class on time, but usually only within walking distance from campus.
On the chances that they allow you to bring your own vehicle, it would still cost you money for gas and any repairs that might need to be made in the future. Not to mention if you decide to carpool with friend’s they will also pester you into driving them all over town for various reasons.
2. Anything Below a “C” is Considered a Bad Gade
While grades don’t quite matter when applying for a job, they will if you ever decide to apply for other colleges or Universities to earn a higher degree. When filling out your college admissions form, the school will ask for your GPA score not for the sake of knowing how smart you are, but because they want to know how well you would be able to perform academically. The higher the grade, the more points you will receive for your GPA. However, if your grade is anything lower than a B-, you will ultimately lose points, and for a grade as neutral as a C, in College it can deliver a potential fatal blow to your current score.
3. Professors Don’t Always Know What Their Doing
While professors can take on a more prominent role in your classes compared to the teachers you knew in high school, they might not be able to provide you the quality work your paying for. This is by all means not a slight at all professors, but just like you and me they are also prone to making mistakes of their own, and sometimes those mistakes can mess up your grade if your not careful.
From personal experience, I have had professors who are wonderful people to work with, but there were many times they have let me down for reasons I still don’t quite understand. You may have professors who will cancel their class without any notice (some simply just don’t show up and leave it for you to figure out), some might even miss grade you for your work simply because they themselves lost it and don’t want to admit it. There are rather more unfortunate circumstances that might cause them to leave the classroom early, but that should never give them the excuse to put your own life on hold.
4. Attendance is not mandatory (but It is Recommended)
No need to hide out in the bathrooms to skip class anymore!
Now that your paying for your own education, you will be the decision maker when it comes down to whether or not you make the attendance sheet. However, as thrilling as it can be to make these choices without any consequences, you should also remember that you are, well, willingly paying for your classes, and skipping class would be equivalent to wasting good money, hundreds of dollars so to speak; but between you and me, as long as your able to keep your grades up at a steady pace, it wouldn’t hurt to take a break from a class or two every once in a while, just be careful not to make it a nasty habit!
5. Changing Your Career Path is Completely Normal
It’s ok if you find yourself no longer interested in the degree you’re going for. This might surprise you, but there are a lot of graduates who, even after finishing one degree, go after another one simply because they don’t like the field they chose.
Your career is your future, and because college is such a key feature to your success, obtaining a degree your happy with will be worth every penny.
6. You Don’t Have to Raise Your Hand
You no longer have to raise your hand to ask a question in class, not to mention go to the bathroom or even visit the nurses office. As a college student you are allowed to come and go from the classroom as you please! Another neat little perk to being a paying student!
When you’re a freshman, it might be a little awkward standing up to leave will the professor is in the middle of a lecture at first, but I promise you that you have every right to do so, even if they tell you to sit down again (something a professor is legally NOT allowed to do by the way). Over time you will grow more and more accustomed to it, just be careful not to do it too often as it can be a disruption to your peers if done enough.
7. No More Friendly Reminders
Professors will not be in charge of reminding you what’s due and when. You are in charge of you, and if you ever need to seek guidance or ask certain questions regarding your class work, you have to be the one who reaches out for support.
No one will be there to remind you about that upcoming test or the group project due in a week. When your in college you have to be more diligent and organized to keep track of everything. This can especially matter depending on how many classes your taking on, but if things do start to get too stressful, or your not use to keeping an organized schedule, it’s alright to seek out help. Looking for help from anyone does not make you a bad student, but failing to complete or turn in your assignments on time because “no one reminded you” can no longer be used as an excuse, and it will affect your overall grade if not taken care of right away.
8. There is a Difference Between Being “Broke” and Being a “Broke College Student”
Just because your able to hold your own as a student mentally and physically, doesn’t necessarily mean your very stable financially. Everyone is familiar with the classic trope of college students emptying everything in their pockets for that oh-so sweet degree – and their right for the most part.
Rarely are students able to pay off all their loans in full without going broke, but the difference between being “broke” and being a “broke college student” is that they not only have a hard earned degree under their belt, but they also have a greater chance of landing a well paying job that will with time once again steady them financially. It might not be an easy rode, and it also might take some time to get there, but as long as you have something or someone to lean on for support, you will eventually find your way.
9. You Get to Create Your Own Class Schedules
As a college student, you will be given a series of classes to choose from before starting the semester. Each class is scheduled for a different time on a different date. You can choose to take classes in the morning, in the evening, and even at night. This will make things much easier for those who are looking to go to school, work part time, and have a decent sleep schedule! This also works for people who already have a set agenda that can’t be flexible, and they need a way to work their classes around that.
10. Financial Aid is Only a Temporary Lifeline
Free money is good money, but loaned money can be quite troublesome for both parties. Financial Aid is a US government funding agency that lends upcoming college students funds for every semester they attend. They allow their customers to borrow thousands of dollars at a time, but the moment you graduate they will immediately come looking for compensation, consistently reminding you through various emails about their payments. HOWEVER, if you do decide to apply for another college to continue your degree, they will once again offer you the loan necessary until you graduate once again.
Thankfully, there is some good news to this! You are not obligated to take their offers every semester, in fact you can instead take small portions of what they want to give you instead of the entire offer, which can certainly save you from unnecessary, crippling debt.
11. Not Everyone Uses Their Diploma
Despite all the hard work and dedication many have put into their degree’s, not everyone finds use for them in the end. It can be a sad story to tell, but it doesn’t always have to be!
Yes, obtaining a degree can lead you down the right path to success, but there are successful people who don’t have a degree themselves and still managed to find a career that suits them perfectly. Some people are also able to find work that has nothing to do with the degree they worked for, their application alone showing potential employers that they have already proven themselves capable for such a job due to their history of pursuing their education.