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Fact Sheet

What are some myths about college?


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College can be a huge change from high school. It can be fun, but it might also be stressful adjusting to new surroundings and people. Here are some common myths about college, and what you can actually expect when you get there.

Myth: College is one big party.

Fact: Sure, parties are part of college, but remember that the main reason you’re there is to study and earn a degree. Putting parties before academics is a mistake some students don’t realize until after they see their grades at the end of the semester.

Myth: Professors are unapproachable.

Fact: Professors are there for more lectures. Part of their job is to work through course content or exams and offer advice to students in need. Most professors are required to hold office hours. Just remember if you are having trouble in a course, talk to your professor. Your professor can help you understand the content and offer additional studying tools to help you boost your grade. If you find that your professor isn’t quite as helpful as you thought, you may consider seeking out your advisor or seeing a tutor.

Myth: College students are lazy and sleep all day.

Fact: Generalizing that all college students are lazy is definitely inaccurate. Most college students balance academics along with: extracurricular activities. work. and/or internships. To put it more accurately, college student’s don’t get enough sleep.

Myth: Other people in your classes know more than you.

Fact: Some people are more outspoken than others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re smarter or doing better in class than you. Try not to feel intimidated about stating your opinion or asking a question-Someone else is probably wondering the same thing.

Myth: You are going to be best friends with your roommate(s).

Fact: It’s great to enter college with a friendly mindset. It might turn out that you actually do become good friends with your roommates. But you might not. Whether or not you and your roommate end up being friends, it’s good to maintain a friendly atmosphere in your room, so that you can get along as much as possible. For tips and more information check out our blog on coexisting peacefully with a roommate.

Myth: You got into a really tough school! Now that you’re in, college is going to be a breeze.

Fact: Some colleges have the reputation of being very hard to get into, but easy once you’re actually there. Though prestigious colleges want their students to do well, they won’t just hand you straight A’s. Most likely, if you want to keep up the grades you are used to, you’ll have to work extra hard. Creating study groups or seeking support can help. Remember, you have the ability to do well.

Myth: You’ll have to buy all new books each semester.

Fact: Buying textbooks for your classes can really throw you off budget. Though you should buy your required books, there are ways that might help you avoid spending hundreds of dollars. Consider:

  • Buying used books from your college bookstore
  • Asking a friend who’s taken the class before if they still have their book
  • Renting or buying books from an online site, such as amazon.com, for a cheaper price than your college bookstore

Myth: You don’t have to go to class.

Fact: Though some professors may not take attendance, it’s up to you to stay on top of your schedule in college. If you miss a lecture, you might think it’s no big deal at the time, but when you don’t recognize a question on your next exam; chances are your professor covered it during a class you missed. If you do have to miss a class, it’s a good idea to make up the work you missed, either by talking to your professor, getting the notes from a classmate, or reading your textbook, so that you don’t fall behind.

Myth: You didn’t finish an assignment? You can just give your professor an excuse-no biggie.

Fact: If you do have a legitimate reason for needing an extension (such as a note from your campus health services), talk to your professors as soon as timing appears to be an issue. They will likely be willing to help you out in certain situations. In cases other than extenuating circumstances, they’ll most likely want to remain fair to the rest of the class and there may be negative consequences on your grade.

Myth: College is only for four years.

Fact: While many colleges are still four year programs, it’s good to keep an open mind about how long college is “supposed” to be. Some programs are five-year co-op programs, some are five or six-year BA/MA combined programs, and some programs are less than four years (such as an associate degree). It is also common for students to take a semester or even a year off from college to intern, work, travel, or pursue other goals. As long as you’ve worked out what’s best for you (and still affordable), college may not be exactly four years long.

Myth: You will graduate from college and know exactly what you want to do with your life.

Fact: Throughout college, you’ll be able to explore new fields, take a variety of classes, and start thinking about your future career. But that doesn’t mean your search will be over the minute you graduate. Many people graduate and have no idea what career path they’d like to head down. Others have one plan but end up completely changing it somewhere along the road. It’s great to start thinking about your career while you’re in college, but if you set your expectations too high, you might realize that your whole life is not laid out for you, even after you’ve graduated.

Myth: Large universities have greater diversity than small ones.

Fact: Most college books or pamphlets should give you some statistics about the diversity at the schools you’re looking into. To get a better sense of the diversity, you can also visit a school to get a feel for the student-body. and for how diverse it is. Large universities may boast that with such a high number of students, they have a mixed crowd, but this isn’t always true. Also keep in mind that diversity can mean any number of things-ethnicity, religion, nationality, academic field, extracurricular interests, and many other factors. Talk to current students and alumni, especially those within the minority, my help to give you a better sense of diversity.

Myth: You’ll be able to spend all the money you want on your campus card.

Fact: Many colleges give you an ID that also doubles as a form of payment for on-campus eateries and stores. It’s surprisingly easy to end up using the card all the time instead of cash. But remember-it’s still real money in the end, and either you or your parents are likely to get an unexpectedly high bill to pay off. It’s okay to use your card to buy things-just make sure you keep track of your budget.

Myth: Once you step foot on campus, you are safe from the outside world.

Fact: Most schools take campus safety very seriously and there will likely be various forms of security at your school-campus police, emergency phone boxes, late-night safety escorts-but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be smart about staying safe. Just because you may be within college gates does not mean you are removed from the dangers of living anywhere. Whether you are living on a campus or in a city, make sure you stay safe and aware of your surroundings. Keep in mind that those campus security measures are for your safety, and use them to stay out of danger.

Acknowledgments

  • Kids Health
  • “Your freshman year” on Ecampustours.com

Last edited on March 2014
Edited by Becca

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